Before we dive directly into the crazy action that went down this Saturday in Long Beach, I’d like to first thanks John P and everyone over at Formula D for accomodating us with press passes for the event. We had a wonderful time and we are already stoked for the next one. Secondly, I’d like to say it’s amazing to see how much the sport has grown over the past six years. Cars are getting faster and faster (even with the new tire size rules) and drivers keep pushing the limits of their vehicles I can’t wait to see how much farther Formula Drift will go before the end of this season.
Our day at the Streets of Long Beach started rather early which gave us a good amount of time to get some test shots in and walk around the event before the mayhem ensued.
Our first destination was the car show area presented by FATLACE / SLAMMED SOCIETY because we wanted to check out as many cars as we could before too many people got in the way.
As soon as we crossed the bridge to the car show area, we noticed a beautiful widebody s2000 that happened to be running some serious AP RACING brakes.
It’s very hard to beat that set up in terms of looks and performance. I especially love the road debris still stuck on the sideskirts from the drive in.
After we were done drooling over the widebody glory we noticed a very clean 350z
The “It’sJDMYO 350z was running an equally as clean Supercharger set up that was tucked in the engine bay very well.
Right in front of the Supercharged Z was a fine example of what happens when you combine the best of two world’s when it comes to car design.
American muscle plus Japanese flavor make for a very clean and mean set up courtesy of JonSibal and Dodge.
A sectioned off skate area that had everything from mini ramps to ledges to fun boxes made for some unexpected action. I almost ran to the car to grab my Psycho Stick and join in on the action until I saw this guy bust a Tail Blunt to varial and kill all my confidence.
There were some AMAZING cars on display that day and there were some cars that made us wonder if the owner just entered the car show for a good parking spot. After we were done geeking out over show cars we directed our attention and lenses to some practice sessions.
As you could see the guys were wasting no time getting used to the track before qualifying sessions started and the crowds showed up. Darren Macnamara and Frederick Asbo were going hard all day long.
Everyone’s favorite new kid on the Block Daigo Saito was getting used to the car, the track, and judging his gaps all at the same time in a few of his first outings in his new car.
Saito wasn’t the only Japanese Driver laying down some heat early in the day. Daijiro Yoshihara was getting himself warmed up for qualifications as well.
After we were done watching the crazy practice sessions, we took it as a good opportunity to walk the rest of the midway and grab some lunch.
Ever get sick of driving in traffic on your way to work? Why not just drive OVER it?
After we were done stuffing our faces and getting some refuge from the sun, it was time to announce the top 16 drivers.
Everyone’s favorite new kid in town Daigo Saito was getting a lot of attention before it was time for him to strut his stuff.
Chris Forsberg was quite literally taking his driving to a whole new level for the top 16 round.
SPOILER ALERT!!: Justin Pawlak was looking to repeat his success in 2011….. He ended up achieving that goal and taking home the W.
Matt Powers was also looking to repeat last year’s results. He gave it his all against number one qualifier Ryan Tuerck and he ended up securing himself 4th place for the weekend.
Tyler McQuarrie can just about drive the pants off anything and judging by the insanely small gap between him and Ryan Kado I’d say he was wearing his not afraid pants that day.
Ken Gushi was showing off what the new GREDDY built FT86 could do, and it was looking great all weekend.
After all that was said and done with, the 2012 Long Beach Formula Drift podium ended up shaping up like this.
1ST JUSTIN PAWLAK
2ND DAIJIRO YOSHIHARA
3RD DAIGO SAITO
We are extremely excited to see how the rest of the season shapes up and we can’t wait to see our products in action for the rest of the year.