Michael Essa

What it takes to win in 2013: Mike Essa

Our final post in our series will cover the current leader in the championship chase, Mike Essa. Coming into 2013, Essa had a lot of unknowns in his toolbox. Sitting on Yokohama tires for the first time, his E46 chassis was freshly-built, and no BMW had ever taken a podium. For Essa, his first Podium would have been considered a success, and an event win would have been even better. But now that he’s the leader in the clubhouse for the championship with two event wins and a third podium finish, Essa is simply ecstatic. 

Current standings:

1. Mike Essa 489.5 Points
2. Chris Forsberg 474 Points
3. Fredric Aasbo 425.5 Points
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr 410 Points
5. Daigo Saito 409.5 Points
6. Justin Pawlak 400.5 Points

Essa’s plan is simple: don’t screw up. While this may sound simple, in 2012, the leader going into the final event did NOT win the championship due to an early elimination, and in 2011, the leader entering Irwindale was knocked out early in top 16 and had to cheer for another drivers to screw up in top 8 before securing the championship. With a 15 point lead, finishing in the same around as Chris Forsberg or finishing just 1 step below Forsberg will earn the championship from Essa. As we outlined yesterday, qualifying will be very important, and both drivers have out-qualified each other an equal number of times, which will make the first two runs of Friday’s qualifying session two of the most important qualifying runs of the entire season.

Essa’s Irwindale results haven’t been the greatest historically, missing the top 32 cut in 2010, hitting only top 32 last year, and only top 16 in 2009 and 2011. However, Essa has proven that this year and his current E46 BMW chassis is far superior than the previous E92 or Z4 chassis, and previous results should be expected to be exceeded. Should Essa confirm the championship this season, he would become the first driver to earn the championship after earning his license in the Formula D ProAm system as all previous Formula D drivers have earned their license either by competing in Formula D since the beginning (Millen, Hubinette, Forsberg, Yoshihara, Gittin Jr) when licensing wasn’t an option or via their previous driving (Foust) or International (Saito) resume. This would be a huge accomplishment that would give up-and-coming drivers a sense of achievability towards the FD championship that may not be there today.

2013 Formula Drift Irwindale Speedway – Tentative Drivers List

Here are the people who have paid and registered to drift next weekend at the House of Drift. The real strong title contenders are Mike Essa and Chris Forsberg and unless they drop the ball big time one of them is taking home a championship. If they both fail to advance a win could be taken by another driver to advance and win a championship as well. All eyes on Irwindale next weekend! Here is who is driving:
1 Essa, Mike 101
2 Forsberg, Chris 64
3 Aasbo, Fredric 151
4 Gittin, Vaughn Jr. 25
5 Saito, Daigo 1
6 Pawlak, Justin 13
7 Field, Matt 777
8 McNamara, Darren 8
9 Bakchis, Odi 723
10 Nishida, Robbie 31
11 Yoshihara, Daijiro 9
12 Grunewald, Conrad 79
13 Denofa, Chelsea 88
14 Moen, Kenneth 22
15 Powers, Matt 665
16 Tuerck, Ryan 62
17 George, Danny 7
18 McQuarrie, Tyler 17
19 Wang, Forrest 808
20 Kado, Ryan 614
21 Mordaunt, Patrick 90
22 Gushi, Ken 21
23 Yoshioka, Toshiki 104
24 Maeng, Joon 51
25 Aono, Taka 86
26 Ovcharik, Miroslav 235
27 Goodin, Patrick 46
28 Mohan, Kyle 99
29 Jones, Jeff 29
30 Angelo, Tony 96
31 Briggs, Dave 24
32 Baribeau, Mats* 30
33 Mertzanis, Dennis 323
34 Castro, Jhonnattan 717
35 Ward, Chris 23
36 Kearney, Dean 43
38 Wicknick, Brandon* 801
39 Parsons, Will* 48
40 Hamilton, Nate* 144
41 Hosford, Corey 232
42 Rydquist, Carl 300
44 Jeanneret, Chris* 111
45 Primozich, Rob* 3
46 Stone, Gabe 15
47 Mendoza Jr., Enrique 16
48 Wilkerson, Walker 95
49 Steele, Josh* 72
50 Moore, Victor 360
52 Hildebrand, J.R. 6
53 Pakula, Luke* 714
55 Lee, Alex 81
57 Osaki, Karl* 14
61 Cano Estrella, Carlos 10

Odi Bakchis Testing his New Formula Drift Legal WiseFab Kit [VIDEO]

Odi Bakchis went out to test his WiseFab Formula Drift legal kit on his S14 this weekend at Willow Springs. The old kit moved mounting points making the kit illegal. They did build a kit that Michael Essa has run this season which relocates the shock but maintains the factory mounting points. You can see that kit in the image below:

The kit has to draw some attention since Michael Essa has drifted this E46 to a championship position with just one round to go in the 2013 Formula Drift championship. Here are some other looks/angeles of Michael Essa’s E46 suspension just before its debut at Streets of Long Beach.

Wrecked Magazine Commenters the New Stars of NetworkA’s Off-Track [VIDEO]

The world famous Wrecked Magazine trouble makers/anonymous commenters  get some limelight over on NetworkA’s Off-Track. Danger Andy took his favorite and most controversial comments and made the Formula Drift drivers read the comments about themselves. They got quite the hilarious looks and responses from some of the drivers. You can jump to our section with this link “Network A Off-Track – Texas Motor Speedway” in case you don’t want to watch the first four and a half minutes. Here are some screen grabs we loved from the video:

2013 Formula Drift Round 6 at Texas Motor Speedway Full Press Conference [VIDEO]

Check out the full 15 minute post race press conference featuring Justin Pawlak, Daigo Saito, Matt Field, Michael Essa, Chris Forsberg, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. The video shows questions asked by the press and answered by the various drivers. Matt Field talked about his end of the big protest overturn as he sat on the line waiting to run his battle, Chris Forsberg tells us he wants Jameson as his podium beverage, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. talks openly about being on the receiving end of an overturned judge decision that basically ruined his championship hopes in 2013.

2013 Formula D Championship Standings after Texas [STANDINGS]

After taking his second career win by eliminating fellow championship contender Chris Forsberg in the Final 4, Mike Essa slides into first place in the Formula D championship standings. With a maximum of 112 points up for grabs in Irwindale, 6 drivers still have a statistical shot at winning the championship. Here’s a look at how the points stack up after six of seven rounds of competition.

1. Michael Essa                   489.5 points
2. Chris Forsberg                 474 points
3. Fredric Aasbo                  425.5 points
4. Vaughn Gittin Jr          410 points
5. Daigo Saito                      409.5 points
6. Justin Pawlak                400.5 points
7. Matt Field                       350 points
8. Darren McNamara       332.5 points
9. Odi Bakchis                    322 points
10. Robbie Nishida             314.25 points
11. Dai Yoshihara              309.25 points
12. Conrad Grunewald     285 points
13.Chelsea Denofa              266.5 points
14. Kenny Moen                  258.75 points
15. Matt Powers                  257.5 points
16. Ryan Tuerck               229 points

2013 Formula Drift Round 6 Texas Motor Speedway [RESULTS]

After an event that had more protests than any other Formula Drift event, Michael Essa takes home 1st place.

1. Michael Essa
2. Matt Field
3. Chris Forsberg

2013 Formula Drift Round 6 at Texas Motor Speedway Qualifying [RESULTS]

In the 1st Formula Drift event at Texas Motor Speedway Vaughn Gittin Jr takes home the top qualifying spot. The rest of the qualifying results and Top 32 match ups are below.

1. V. Gittin
2. F. Aasbo
3. C. Forsberg
4. F. Wang
5. O. Bakchis
6. D. Yoshihara
7. M. Essa
8. P. Mordaunt
9. C. Denofa
10. T. Yoshioka
11. M. Powers
12. K. Gushi
13. M. Field
14. J. Pawlak
15. M. Baribeau
16. T. Aono
17. C. Grunewald
18. M. Ovcharik
19. P. Goodin
20. W. Parsons
21. D. George
22. D. Saito
23. R. Primozich
24. R. Kado
25. D. Kearney
26. J. Maeng
27. K. Moen
28. R. Nishida
29. T. Angelo
30. J. Lowe
31. C. Jeaneret
32. G. Stone


Top 32 Match Battles

V. Gittin vs G. Stone
T. Aono vs C. Grunewald
P. Mordaunt vs D. Kearney
C. Denofa vs R. Kado
F. Wang vs T. Angelo
M. Field vs W. Parsons
O. Bakchis vs R. Nishida
K. Gushi vs D. George
F. Aasbo vs C. Jeaneret
M. Baribeau vs M. Ovcharik
M. Essa vs J. Maeng
T. Yoshioka vs R. Promozich
C. Forsberg vs J. Lowe
J. Paklak vs P. Goodin
D. Yoshihara vs K. Moen
M. Powers vs D. Saito

Formula Drift Invades Circuit of The Americas for Demo During ALMS

Next weekend in Austin, Texas during the ALMS race some Formula Drift drivers will be doing a demo around the Observation Tower of turns 12-15. This is a first for Formula Drift at this gorgeous race track tucked just outside Austin, Texas. Here is what the PR mentions with drivers and events happening over the WES/ALMS weekend:

Tyler McQuarrie, Conrad Grunewald and Michael Essa are all crossover drivers with road racing background, while Justin Pawlak is part of Team Falken Tire that will also be fielding a team in ALMS’s GT Class over the weekend. The drift demonstration will take place during the race weekend for the ALMS and WEC Series.

“We are proud to showcase drifting to the ALMS and WEC fans at Circuit of The Americas and be part of a motorsport filled weekend,” stated Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “It is going to be a fantastic sight seeing the guys drift through turns 12-15 and around the iconic observation tower.”

Michael Essa Shows Off Nitrous Kit Before Round 6 at Texas Motor Speedway

Michael Essa showed off his new addition to the GSR Autosport BMW for the weekend. The new addition to his car for the championship run is a nitrous kit giving him some more horsepower on this championship run. After winning Palm Beach Michael Essa has held serious championship contention, however most people haven’t been talking about him like the other championship front runners. Could nitrous give him the extra edge on this high speed entry to pass Chris Forsberg and take the lead in the championship before Irwindale Speedway in October? Do you like the idea of them adding nitrous this late into the season?