Formula Drift 2013 Round 1: Long Beach
By Justin Banner
The hit pictured above that Matt Field took wasn't in competition. It was during qualifying and really shows just how hard these guys were coming out of the box. Justin Pawlak was really pushing it during Formula Drift's Media Day and I'm sure by now you've seen his video where he scrapes the wall transition between turns 9 and 10. The same wall where famous Bil Baldwin stands guard to make sure the event runs smooth and drivers are safe. Well, safe despite the obvious dangers of sliding your car near a concrete wall that is.
I really don't know what it was that was making all of these guys get up and go like as if it were the end of the season. They all still had 6 more rounds to go before the end. Could it have been because of a quiet off season? Last minute builds that gave them a “screw it, let's go for broke” attitude for Round 1? I Wish I knew. Regardless, it made for a very interesting start to 2013 and really showed how exciting this season will be.
The new qualifying system for this year forced the drivers to put up or shut up, as the Top 16 qualifiers would be locked into their positions and not have to go out again until Top 32 Friday Practice. Qualifiers 17 to 32 would have to try again to settle their final position. There were some surprises who ended up making Top 16 and who didn't and that is where we will start.
|After a rather disappointing end to his 2012 Season and not repeating his championship, Daijiro Yoshihara came out in force. Our own Mike Kojima credits their hard work and intense testing before the start of the 2013 season. It really showed as Dai qualified P1 in Top 16, which meant that he and the rest of the crew would be able to rest up and have more time to wrench on the car.
|Another one to have a rather bad 2012 Season was Darren McNamara. Last year, Darren crashed the Falken Sky here in Long Beach and it would never be seen again. He also went from ASD to SPD Metal Works team at Round 4. Now, Darren is paired with Dai at SPD for 2013 and has Mike Kojima helping him with setup. It worked as D-Mac was able to earn P2 on the grid! Despite the fact that both cars are V8 S-Chassis', there is a fairly large difference between the two cars when it comes to induction.
Dai is using an air gap style Edelbrock manifold with a large throttle body, much like Joon Maeng was using in his S13 last year. Darren is using individual throttle bodies. Dai doesn't like the throttle response of the ITBs, their response is actually too fast for his liking.
|Mike Essa in the GSR BMW E46 3-series coupe showed how much steering angle the Wisefab kit can give you. Essa had tons of angle and it earned him P3. If you haven't seen it, check out the article we've done on his new Bimmer drift car and see how that Wisefab kit works!
|The E46 Sedan of Chelsea Denofa brought out more Bimmer Power and gave BMW two of the top 5 qualifying spots for Long Beach. If you are following the Manufacturer's Championship for 2013, these will be crucial points towards BMW's run for the title.
|Kenny Moen looked great last year, besides some car hiccups, but came out strong once again at Round 1. His 5th place qualifying position shows that this Norwegian shouldn't be counted out against the other Nordic Hammer, Fredric Aasbo!