It feels like it was just yesterday that we had been kicking off the 2018 Formula Drift season, but right here we are in Extended Beach, California once again, prepared to get an additional championship underway.
In the lead up to 2019’s opening round, I stopped by FD’s Media Day to catch some of the action ahead of the madness of the weekend begins.
The off season is a time for teams to modify, entirely overhaul, and in some cases replace vehicles and strategies altogether.
Whilst six months of downtime might sound like much more than adequate for a team to prepare for the season start off, most end up testing only days ahead of the 1st round.
These that are truly cutting it fine finish up testing at the Media Day, 3 days ahead of the actual occasion begins, or miss it entirely in order to finish their vehicles.
Formula Drift’s Media Day offers each traditional and season media the chance to get up close and individual with FD Pro series drivers and vehicles on the distinctive street course in the heart of Extended Beach.
Familiar faces filled the paddock as drivers and teams put the final touches to their vehicles.
A lot of of the new Pro drivers had however to show up at the track, and unless they had run the course before at an occasion like Motegi Super Drift, they weren’t allowed to run on Media Day.
Some of the new faces this year involve Washington-born and all round very good guy Dylan Hughes, Brazilian driver João Barion, Australian driver Mitch Larner, FD Pro2 champion Travis Reeder, Italian drift champion Manuel Vacca, and Pat Goodin creating a comeback.
The smell of fuel and burning tires, the sound of a wastegates dumping and motors bouncing off their rev limiters – these are just some of the points that will overwhelm your senses at a drift occasion. Nevertheless, the occasions are altering: Meet the 1st ever, all-electric FD drift automobile.
Run by Napoleon Motorsports and piloted by Pro rookie Travis Reeder, this Camaro is totally distinctive from something else in the FD paddock.
Whilst it wasn’t permitted to run on Media Day due to a couple of complications that I’ll get to in another story from this occasion, I can not wait to see how an electric drift automobile alterations the status quo of pro-level drifting.
A single of the massive alterations for a lot of drivers this year is the addition of NtwoO. Whilst nitrous oxide is not new to the sport by any suggests, there are more cars applying it now, such as the RTR Mustangs and Federico’s Ferrari to name a couple of.
On the hunt for his third Formula Drift championship title, Chris Forsberg returns this year with an R35 GT-R’s VR38DETT engine in his 370Z.
We’re however to see any new A90 Toyota Supras in Formula Drift, but I’m sure it will occur quickly.
A single of my favourite components of Media Day is the uncommon chance to go for a ride-along on a experienced circuit.
Who can say no to 80mph sideways?
One thing else new for this season is a specially produced tire for Nitto Tire’s Formula Drift drivers, which was made about the Mustang RTRs. This is a very good factor for the Mustang drivers, but everyone else on the Nitto group is operating the similar rubber and has been forced to add ballast and make adjustments to run the a lot wider tire.
The scene has been set in Extended Beach, and we can not wait for the occasion to start off adequately right now with qualifying. Remain tuned for occasion coverage from Trevor and I more than the coming days.