Just Drift kicked off their 2017 Top Drift Pro Am series with more than 40 drivers attempting to qualify for the top 16 tandem eliminations. In the end, some familiar faces found their way to the top of the podium. Sean Adriano, who already has his 2017 Formula D Pro 2 license, took the win over Dominic Martinez in the final battle. Kyle Cameron found the final spot on the podium, surviving the tough tandem ladder to earn his first podium of the season. Just Drift consistently has contributed some of the best drivers to both the Formula D and Formula D Pro 2 grid, so it will b interesting to see who emerges as the top drivers from the season this year.
Here’s a look at the final results of Round 1 of the Top Drift ProAm series:
The fourth and final round of the Just Drift’s Top Drift ProAm series took place at the Willow Speedway at night. Several current Formula Drift pros have come from the Top Drift ProAm circuit, and for this round, the competitors were judged by Taka Aono, Hiro Sumida, and Ryan Litteral. In the end, Kevin Knapik defeated all other drivers to stand atop the podium, defeating Sean Adriano in the final round. Kelvin Arreola snuck into the final podium position in his underpowered Corolla, although having two famed Corolla judges as drivers may have swayed part of the vote.
Here’s the final results from Top Drift Round 4:
1st – Adam Knapik – LS2-powered Nissan S14
2nd – Sean Adriano – Nissan S13
3rd – Kelvin Arreola – Toyota Corolla
Southern California Pro Am organizer Just Drift held the second round of their “Top Drift” series over the weekend at the famed Horsethief Mile. The Horsethief Mile layout is one of the more desirable layouts at Willow Springs, and also one of the most technical. In the final, Sean Ariano took out seasoned vet Jason Kim in the final to take the event win. Jason Kim won the first round of Top Drift, and is currently leading the points standings in the series as the only driver to earn two podiums in the first two events.
Here’s a look at how the final results shook out at Round 2:
1st – Sean Adriano
2nd – Jason Kim
3rd – Domenic Rotondo
4th – Adam Knapik
Wrecked Magazine: Who are you and how did you get your Pro 2 license (please mention Pro Am and/or former drift experience)?
Ryan Litteral: I’m from Southern California. I have been drifting since 2006 and have done numerous pro-am and professional events internationally in that time frame. I acquired my pro 2 license in 2013 while competing at Just Drift Official’s Top Drift Series.
WM:Can you give us a break down of your car and what sponsors you have on board? Ryan Litteral: My car is a 98 kouki s14. It has an extensively built RB25 that I’ve been running going on 3 years now. I am sponsored by GT Radial, Megan Racing, NRG innovations, Borg Warner, Clutchmasters, Wisefab, Full- Race Motorsports, Animal Auto, US Versus THEM, HPS, driftmotion, seven apple, Gonzales Garage, G&J aircraft, and Andy’s Tire
WM: What track are you most excited about and most nervous to tackle this season? Ryan Litteral:Road Atlanta FOR SURE
WM: Can you name one drifter you really want to see in a battle in Pro 2 this year? Ryan Litteral:Whoever’s door is in front of me. With a few guys stepping down from pro1 and some up and comers coming out its definitely hard to pin point one exact driver. I’m just excited to put on a good show for everyone this year and to even be fortunate enough to be able to compete.
WM: Who is your favorite drifter in the world and who to you derive driving inspiration from? Of all time? Ryan Litteral: I’d say Kazama and Naoki Nakamura as far as pure driver inspiration. Smooth and precise but VERY aggressive. Stateside and personally goes? I’d say Forrest and Justin. Both of those guys have helped me a bunch in my career with advice that not only pertains to on the track but off of it as well. Those are two hammer down drivers that definitely have their head and their hearts in their right place and it absolutely shines through.
WM: Who do you think will win the Formula Drift Pro Championship this season? Ryan Litteral:I gotta root for my GT Teammate Chelsea. If he can keep that car together and keep the throttle down (he doesn’t have a problem with that whatsoever. I think he may install lead into his driving shoes) he will do just fine.
WM: What is one hurdle or headache you ran into during the off-season gearing up for Pro 2? Ryan Litteral:One of my major crew members was involved in a serious motorcycle accident and has been bed ridden during most of the off season which was definitely a speed bump for me and this program. Danny Anguiano has been a huge part of my growth over the past couple years and he’s always helped me tremendously with getting the car ready with stuff that is out of my expertise. So I’ve had to man up a lot and with the help of my close friends at and outside of Megan Racing we have been able to make it happen. We will miss you out there Danny!
WM: What advise can you give to the upcoming Pro 2 drivers who are currently in Pro Am? Ryan Litteral:It’s hard to show a good ROI for companies to drivers just strictly running pro 2 or pro am and that’s understandable. It’s not that we aren’t marketable or talented enough it’s just that we aren’t in the major spotlight to make the justified expense. Which is why you have to take matters into your own hands and get yourself known. Prove that you are a valuable asset and not just a mooch looking for free shit. Build solid foundations and take care of those that take care of you. Ensure that you take the proper time to build a good team of guys and make sure you have realistic goals and expectations going into something like this. It is a huge emotional, physical and financial commitment that is not for the faint of heart.
JustDrift kicked off their 2016 Pro-Am series, dubbed “Top Drift”, with the first round of competition taking place on the Balcony course at Willow Springs. Formula Drift veterans Taka Aono, Hiro Sumida, and Justin Pawlak judged the competition, and nearly 60 drivers registered to attempt to make the top 16 tandem bracket. Jason Kim and Adam Knapik had a fierce battle of V8-swapped S14’s in the final, but many people (including Justin Pawlak) were hyped on Kelvin Arreola’s podium finish in his sub-200hp Corolla.
In case you have never checked it out, our link bar on the website has “Find An Event” where we compile a serious list of drifting events around the world. We are underway building up the 2016 schedule. Shoot us a comment here or an email if you know of 2016 drift events that are not displayed. No event is too small! We already have Just Drift, Midwest Drift Union, Street Driven Tour, and Formula Drift put together for the new year.
The Top Drift Limited season came to a wrap over this weekend with a solid Round 3 at Willow Springs. This also brought the season to an end to complete the first season of Just Drift’s Top Drift Limited-
1st. Tyler Page-Howell
2nd. Brandon Shannon
3rd. Inku Nam
Here is the podium from the season finale which looked quite similar to Round 3. Tyler Page-Howell took home first place at both Round 3 and the season while Inku Nam finished up in third place.
1st. Tyler Page-Howell
2nd. Tommy Brownell
3rd. Inku Nam
Just Drift Round 3 wrapped up at the Walt James Oval over the weekend with a solid podium and a best tandem award from Koyorad. The event saw many drivers losing due to two tires off on the tricky course which shook up how things finished. Thanks for the snap AMdrift. Here are the results on the podium with Adam Knapik winning Best Tandem and in front:
1st. Trent Beehum
2nd. Matt Madrigali
3rd. George Kilada
Master of the Mullett, “Rad” Dan Burkett earned his license in the Just Drift Top Drift Pro Am in 2014 as an alternate to Spike Chen, who had earned his license in 2013 and Dan finished in fourth overall. While Rad Dan drove in a V8 powered FC37 RX7 in Top Drift, he’s bringing along a 2JZ powered Toyota Supra MKIV for the 2015 Formula Drift Pro2 season. So, not only is Dan Burkett going to have to get used to a new, larger car but a Turbo By Garrett powered Toyota I6. He’s not going to short on power, but he won’t be able to use the broad torque-band of the LS-power plant he had in ProAm. His suspension duties will be handled by FEAL coilovers and a Wisefab Supra Angle kit.
-by Justin Banner
Check out below for videos of Faruk Kugay’s driving: Read More…
So it looks like Andy Hately won’t be the only E30 in Formula Drift in 2015 as Donovan Brockway coming out of NorCal is bringing the classic styled coupe to Pro2. Donovan nearly earned his license twice. He came in third in the 2014 season Just Drift’s Top Drift Pro Am and missed a third place in the 2014 Golden Gate Drift Pro Am season by just 22 points. His E30 is a top notch chassis and powered by a supercharged BMW S54 engine built by VAC Motorsports and a Samsonas Sequential transmission. He’ll also use a Wisefab/Ground Control combo for suspension duties of his 26-yearold chassis. Despite its age, Donovan’s Red Baron Racing and North Bay Bavarian build looks solid in pre-season testing and could be a threat for the 2015 Pro2 season.