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10 Things I Learned From Formula Drift Long Beach

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10. Have We Watched Matt Coffman Grow Up Before Our Eyes?
One of the most impressive improvements I saw at Long Beach was Matt Coffman. I’ve always found he had talent but really lacked on the mental side of the game. He would be amazing in practice and then fall apart in Top 32 or over commit and put himself in a bad spot. He was a smooth operator this weekend, finishing in sixth place overall, between Fredric Aasbo and Chris Forsberg. That is some good company. If he can keep that up I would watch out for this dark horse.

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9. Matt Field – My Biggest Disappointment of the Weekend
His car probably deserves the middle finger…. or whatever mess of a disaster happened this weekend for him hopefully can be forgotten real quick. He is sitting in 12th place right now but I had expectations he could really be a front runner in 2017. I hope he didn’t leave his good driving behind in with that customary yellow livery. He needs to turn things around quick if he wants to be relevant in 2017.

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8. Alex Heilbrunn is Where the Hype Should Be
When Alex Heilbrunn got done dominating Pro 2 everyone thought he would arrive in Formula Drift and win all seven rounds at the time. Reality proved to be way more difficult, but Alex has been fighting and fighting his way through the field. My guess is now he is ready to make a big swing for the fences and keep it together for seven more rounds. He landed on the podium last year in New Jersey and looked great in Orlando so another repeat of that performance and he can have a good jump in the standings early.

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2017 Formula Drift Round 1 at Long Beach [RESULTS]

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James Deane drove his way to a first place finish after qualifying second on the weekend in Long Beach. This track setup does favor a RHD setup but Deane just seemed to crush the competition hands down regardless of the advantage. Alex Heilbrunn was the most impressive driver on the weekend for me knocking out Odi Bakchis and Fredric Aasbo in two amazing battles. The 2017 season is off to a wild start with big name veterans very high up the championship standings. I am working on my 10 Things post already so stay tuned. Here is how they finished:

1st- James Deane
2nd- Alex Heilbrunn
3rd- Ryan Tuerck
4th- Odi Bakchis

 

2017 Formula Drift Round 1 Long Beach Qualifying [RESULTS]

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Vaughn Gittin Jr. makes an insane 97 point qualifying run to steal the show on the Streets of Long Beach kicking off the 2017 season. This amazing qualifying run earns him a bye into the Top 16. The Irish wonder James Deane was just a point behind putting down a 96 in his Silvia on this streets course as well. New cars, new problems, and some crashes wrapped up the Friday of Long Beach. Three drivers were unable to get a qualifying point including Kyle Mohan, Charles Ng, and Faruk Kugay.

1. Vaughn Gittin Jr. (97)
2. James Deane (96/91)
3. Ryan Tuerck (96/90)
4. Fredric Aasbo (91/82)
5. Alex Heilbrunn (91/68)
6. Matt Coffman (90)
7. Chris Forsberg (89/87)
8. Odi Bakchis (89/86)
9. Piotr Wiecek (87)
10. Ken Gushi (86)
11. Matt Field (85)
12. Juha Rintanen (83)
13. Kristaps Bluss (81/0)
14. Justin Pawlak (81/0)
15. Michael Essa (81/0)
16. Dean Kearney (80/71)
17. Jhonnathan Castro (78/77)
18. Dai Yoshihara (78/0)
19. Pat Goodin (78/0)
20. Robbie Nishida (77/72)
21. Jeff Jones (77/71)
22. Nate Hamilton (75)
23. Gocha Chivchyan (73)
24. Chelsea DeNofa (72)
25. Cameron Moore (68)
26. Alec Hohnadell (67)
27. Dan Burkett (60)
28. Kyle Mohan (0)
29. Charles Ng (0)
30. Faruk Kugay (0)

Top 32 Bracket
(LEFT)
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs BYE
Dean Kearney vs. J Castro
Odi Bakchis vs. Cameron Moore
Piotr Wiekcek vs. Chelsea DeNofa
Fredric Aasbo vs. BYE
Kristaps Bluss vs. Robbie Nishida
Alex Heilbrunn vs. BYE
Juha Rintanen vs. Jeff Jones

(RIGHT)
James Deane vs. BYE
Michael Essa vs. Dai Yoshihara
Chris Forsberg vs. Alec Hohnadell
Ken Gushi vs. G Chivchyan
Ryan Tuerck vs. BYE
Justin Pawlak vs. Pat Goodin
Matt Coffman vs. Dan Burkett
Matt Field vs. Nate Hamilton

Russian driver Gocha “George” Chivchyan to debut at Formula D Long Beach

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Russian driver Gocha “George” Chivchyan has been testing his Nissan S15 this week up at Willow Springs in prep for his Formula Drift debut this weekend. He will be joining fellow Europeans Piotr Wiecek and James Deane in the competition for the ‘rookie of the year’ title. Here below is a highlight reel of him running in the D1 Grand Prix series. He seems like a solid addition to the growing European roster within Formula Drift.

2017 British Drifting Championship – Round 1 – Rockingham Motor Speedway [RESULTS]

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The British Drifting Championship kicked off the international schedule with their first round over the weekend at Rockingham Motor Speedway. Team Japspeed driver Matt Carter took out all competitors to claim the top step of the podium, while Oliver Evans won the ProAm competition on Saturday before beating most of the “Pro” competition on Sunday! Overall, it was a very competitive round, and the full competition was stream via Facebook and is currently still available on the BDC Facebook Page.

Here’s a look at the final results from Round 1:

1st – Matt Carter
2nd – Oliver Evans
3rd – Marc Huxley
4th – Simon Perry

2017 Just Drift Pro-Am Top Drift – Round 1 [RESULTS]

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Photo Credit: AmDrift

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:

1st – Sean Adriano
2nd – Dominic Martinez
3rd – Kyle Cameron

Bridges Racing to support James Deane, Piotr Wiecek in addition to Dean Kearney for 2017

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Bridges Racing will be supporting both James Deane and Piotr Więcek for their 2017 Formula Drift campaign in addition to Dean Kearney. Bridges Racing has supported Kearney for the past five seasons, but has supported multiple drivers in past seasons including the championship season of Daigo Saito in 2012. Deane and Więcek’s entry into Formula Drift has been some of the biggest news in the off-season, and seeing them team up with a team that has operated logistics for multiple cars in Formula Drift can only be seen as an advantage that will let them focus on learning the new courses and judging criteria.

The Worthouse Nissan S15’s are already being prepped at Bridges Racing HQ in Huntington Beach since they landed last week, and will make their competitive debut this weekend at Long Beach.

Fredric Aasbo to drive Toyota Corolla iM in Formula Drift for 2017

Fredric Aasbo debuted his Toyota Corolla iM today on the internet by recreating the opening scene of the famed Initial D series from Japan in his new car. Aasbo’s new car, built by Stephan Papadakis, maintains the same 2.7L 2AR-FE powerplant as his Scion tC, which should ease the transition between the two cars. While the Corolla iM seems like a short car due to the hatchback nature and lack of a rear bumper, the wheelbase is actually 1″ longer than the Toyota GT86 at 102.4″, so it shouldn’t face any of the twitchiness that shorter wheelbase cars sometimes face.

Here’s a great behind-the-scenes video of the car build by our friends over at Speed Academy. This video was shot back in January, when the car was still very naked, but there’s a lot of technical description of the build from Stephan Papadakis. Sounds like the suspension geometry is very similar to the tC, which will also aid in the car being competitive quickly.
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Falken Tire Returns to Formula DRIFT with Six Drivers in 2017

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Falken Tire, winner of the 2016 Tire Manufacturers Cup has returned to Formula DRIFT as the Official Tire Sponsor of Formula DRIFT.

In addition, they have announced six drivers competing on Falken Tires in the series this year; veterans Daijiro ‘Dai’ Yoshihara and Justin ‘JTP’ Pawlak, the return of the famous Falken Tire teal and blue liveries for Matt Field and Aurimas ‘Odi’ Bakchis, and Europeans James Deane and Piotr Wieck.

Falken Tire will also be offering additional activation at events in the form of dealer hospitality, spokesmodel meet & greets, drier autograph signings, and a learning center display through its Falken rig at most of the 8 rounds.

For more information, click here.

 

Vaughn Gittin JR and Chelsea DeNofa Team Up for the 2017 Formula DRIFT Season


As we approach Round 1 of the 2017 Formula DRIFT season in just a couple weeks, it looks like this relatively slow off season may finally start getting a lot more announcements between now and then. Kicking this Monday off is 2010 Formula DRIFT Champion Vaughn Gittin JR and his RTR Motorsports team officially announcing the addition of Chelsea DeNofa as a teammate. DeNofa will be in a brand new 2017 Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D while Gittin will return in his Mustang RTR with an updated look.

Both the Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D driven by Vaughn and BC Racing Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D driven by Chelsea are powered by brand new Ford Performance/Roush Yates Engines RY45 motors, producing 2,000 combined horsepower with a 9,000-rpm redline. The RY45 builds on the continued relationship with Ford Performance and Roush Yates in developing competition based motors specifically for the RTR Motorsports Formula Drift program. A proprietary BC Racing coilover suspension system allows both Vaughn and Chelsea to perfectly tune the dynamics of their RTRs, with sticky Nitto NT05s putting all that power to the ground.

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