The new pavement was laid down for the Streets of Long Beach this year and a few select drivers got a chance early this morning to test it out! Here is Ross Petty in his Rasta S15, Odi Bakchis in his S13.4 (LS powered), Dennis Mertzanis in his 14.5 (VQ35), Joon Maeng S13.5 (SR20 power I think) and we guess Dai Yoshihara Falken S15 (now V8 powered). We will work on getting some feedback from these guys and how they feel about the new pavement on the track and if it will change the dynamics of competition coming up for Streets of Long Beach!
Finally some of these 2012 cars are coming together just in time for tech day this weekend. Kyle Mohan walked me through the refresh back a month or two ago when he was still hammering away on the car. It has added more horsepower, widened the body of the Rx-8 and given it a fresh coat of purple. The Nexen Tire program will be looking for its best finish yet, maybe a top 5? Kyle Mohan finished a personal best 10th place last season and will be looking for more in one of the only non V8′s to grace the top 10 last season.
The Achilles Radial Tire team for 2012 is featuring two huge heavy hitters in drifting. One is former D1 Grand Prix champion Daigo Saito and the other is long time Formula D star Robbie Nishida. Daigo talks about not being able to run a full D1GP season in 2012. This marks another blow to the struggling series over in Japan. Robbie Nishida is gearing up for another season with Bridges Racing but this time running the Achilles Tire banner. They seem to be excited about the new Achilles ATR Sport 2 but only time will tell if it can be competitive against the big name tires in our sport.
Rhys Millen just posted this photograph of the engine dropped into his new Hyundai Genesis. He mentioned that he will be testing next week. Sadly he won’t be fielding a second car with Ryan Tuerck like we heard was in the works last fall. Rhys Millen is now really the only old champion left competing in the series after Sam Hubinette and Tanner Foust have stepped into other racing series. How do you think Rhys Millen will do in this Hyundai Genesis? He has seemingly improved year to year with his Hyundai program.
This might be one of the funniest videos I have seen in 2012. I present to you Vaughn Gittin Jr. in Autotune as a review of the 2011 season which saw him finish in 9th place after a horrible start in Long Beach. Something tells me the Monster Energy Drink athlete is going to be a little more on his game this season.
Another 2012 rookie in Formula Drift is Nick D’Alessio coming all the way from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to represent in Formula Drift. Nick has been a staple in north eastern drifting for some time with Clubloose. If you want to go back and check out his ride he is always running Elite JDM on his doors which happens to be the business he runs locally in PA. Nick will be running on the 615k giving him a pretty good advantage since that has proven to be the tire of choice for championships lately.
Chelsea DeNofa has brought BMW two XDC championships but before coming to compete in Formula Drift he has taken on the challenge of a new build. The new build should help him to be competitive if everything has come together with in before Long Beach. Judging by this engine/cooling photo this seems to be covered. How do you think rookie Chelsea DeNofa will do this season?
Formula Drift driver Kyle Pollard does a pre Long Beach promo which is cut short by problems with his SR20 engine at testing. Here is a preview of what he has coming in for the 2012 drifting season with his PSI 240sx. Follow the link below to watch the three minute video of Kyle gearing up for Streets of Long Beach.
The Dominican Republic champion Jnonnattan Castro is coming to Formula Drift in 2012 to compete. Rumor has it he will be driving the City Tire 350z that was driven by Carl Rydquist in 2009. While it doesn’t sound like Castro will be running the full season he will be around for some events (we guess the West Coast) running this 350z as a Dominican Republic champion. Another international star is heading to America to compete in Formula Drift.
If your heading south into downtown on the 710 Highway you can see this billboard marking the reality that Streets of Long Beach is around the corner! This photo came from the Instagram of 2011 champion Dai Yoshihara who has to be bummed he didn’t make it on the billboard. We are sure he is much more focused on doing the repeat with the championship in his Discount Tire S13. The 710 Highway is promoting the Streets of Long Beach, are you ready for Round 1!?