Long Beach, Ca – Sunny LA was the location for Formula Drift Round 1. Coming out with new livery, the car also came out in a totally different color. Shaking off the yellow from last year, the red was an abrupt change and welcomed by many people as a good move. As far as the car goes, there were many changes from last year. One of the largest was the move from the supercharger to a single turbo setup. To be honest, its been so long since I have drifted the car (pretty much Irwindale last year) I didn’t noticed a huge difference. I think this is a good thing because the supercharger was instant power on throttle and I didn’t notice a change with the turbo. I did however notice I had a bit more power down low. See the supercharger boost was linear, meaning the boost increases with increasing RPM, so at redline, I was at 14psi and 6psi at 3000 or 4000rpm. Now it is at 12 psi at 3000 or 4000 rpm and it’s a constant boost level all the way to redline. Big thanks to Brad at Groundwerks Garage for making the turbo setup possible.
Suspension, suspension, suspension. WOW!!!!! What a change. All I can say here is that last year I got a lot smarter about setup. I still have a ton of work to do and more to learn, but I really enjoy learning about suspension stuff. It intrigues me to the point where it’s a borderline obsession. What did I change?
Well, for starters I am running the Driftworks Geomaster knuckles front and rear. These things are nice. They keep the stock geometry all while lowering the car 2 inches. What this means is all the suspension arms are in their stock-ride-height locations, not pitched up or down. This allows the suspension work more freely and not all bound up with aggressively pitched geometry. Also, you can run your car hella low and it’ll still work….except for your tires hitting stuff inside your wheel wells. The next things changed were the anti-sway bars. With the VQ setup, I wasn’t able to run a front bar without it hitting the TC rod and binding the suspension. I also got a rear bar that wasn’t too stiff as well. I set the alignment to the same specs as last year and BOOM, the car was amazing. Like I said, I haven’t drifted since Irwindale and now Im hitting all the marks like a pro. I was happy.
The final change was going to a lighter wheel from the Konig Wheel line. I got a set of the Konig Milligrams in gold and they are really nice. You can feel a difference while drifting, the wheels spin up faster when you romp on it.
Practice was pretty good. I got familiar with the course and just started working on my line. The funny thing here is that I lost a ton a weight and now my seat seemed too far back now as compared to last year. I adjusted the seat and everything really started working even better. Crazy I know. Where you sit in the car is important.
Qualifying was intense as always. Seems as though we don’t get too much time to think about it, we just line up and go. I did my runs, they felt good and I qualified 19th, yeah, my best in my FD career so far.
I was paired up against Jeff Abbot for the top 32 competition. I was very happy. He out qualified me, but I knew I had a chance. Not like last year, were I qualified low and got paired up against a top guy. I was getting excited for the top 32 battle. We start the tandem and I have some pretty decent runs. At the finish line, they hold you until the official word from the judges come down. I am watching the official in anticipation for the win. He gives me the thumbs up and I starting yelling in excitement. Just for the record, its not smart to yell while you are wearing a helmet, its pretty loud. I am so happy for my first top 16 battle. I can line up in front of the crowd now for opening ceremonies.
My crew member Sean and I had a bet, if I got to top 16, he was going to wear a tight shirt and be my umbrella girl. Yeah, he did it and it was funny.
Top 16 was with Kyle Mohan. I knew I had a chance but blew it during the tandem battle. Oh well, better luck next time. See you in Atlanta, my hometown and my favorite track. I’m gunning for a top 8 finish at this event.
A big shout out to my sponsors:
Import Image Racing
Brad @ groundwerks Garage
Sams Auto Land
Byron Hill for the graphic design help, BIG THANKS
Michelle Forsberg for the information on getting things done in a pinch
Eugene Chou, HE’S MY BEST FRIEND
and my girlfriend Susan