COVERAGE> Formula Drift Long Beach Qualifying

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

It’s such a beautiful day here in Long Beach at the first round of the 2012 Formula Drift Championship season! The sun is shining, with a cool ocean breeze blowing the clouds of tire smoke. The loud roar of race engines at full throttle somehow mixes harmoniously with the squealing sounds of tires being decimated on the pavement. Not a bad way to spend a Good Friday.

Probably the most anticipated car debut of the 2012 Formula D season, Kenshiro Gushi‘s GReddy Scion FR-S was definitely turning heads. This is the very first Scion FR-S built for drifting in North America, so a LOT of eyes will be on this car over the course of the Formula D event. I can’t wait to see all the FR-S photos that people post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Ken did pretty well on his first outing with his new FR-S, qualifying 14th with a speed of 54.4 mph through the concrete lined course here in Long Beach.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

The starting grid looks crazy, with all the cars lined up, doing donuts and burning out to warm up their tires. Even the casual spectator with ZERO track access or media credentials can take cool photos of the starting grid if they simply walk across the bridge that connects the parking structure to the Long Beach Convention Center. I saw quite a few people shooting photos and videos with their mobile phones from the bridge today!

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

I was glad to see Robbie Nishida from Japanese drift team Hey Man back in the United States driving the HPS RPS13 Sileighty. Robbie is a good friend and a talented driver. Robbie qualified 25th today, with a speed of 54.5mph.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Nitto Tire sponsored Mike Essa was back in action, in his Garrett turbocharged BMW Z4. This is one of the classiest cars in the Formula Drift series – I wish all the Formula D cars looked this good. Mr Classy qualified 20th.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Conrad Grunewald‘s Camaro always has a professional appearance at Formula D events, qualifying in 8th place. This year, it has a lot more black paint covering the car, although it still carries the Hankook theme. I just noticed that there’s an OS Giken sticker on the car – I had no idea that OS even made parts for Camaros!

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Pat Mordaunt is now driving the Apex’i Lexus SC430. Apparently, he got Ryuji Miki’s seat this year. It’s nice to see Apex’i back in Formula D after a year-long hiatus, and back in the big show – Pat qualified 23rd today.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Crowd favorite Ross Petty is still smoking it up in his… I mean, with his Garage Boso Nissan S15 Silvia. For the 2012 season, Ross debuted the S15 with a crazy new rasta-camouflage paint scheme, and… no visible tire sponsor?! Tire companies, if you want your brand to become COOL within the drifting crowd, sponsor this guy! Privateer Ross qualified 29th today.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Newly married Vaughn Gittin Jr debuted the new livery on his Monster Mustang on Wednesday night, with a Free-Beer-and-Monster-Energy-Drink party in Downtown Long Beach. JR texted me about coming to the party, but sadly, I couldn’t make it because I had to pick up Seattle-based MotorMavens shooter Yoshi Shindo at the airport. Oh well, I don’t drink beer anyway… if they had a Free Whiskey party, I probably would’ve made Yoshi take the bus. Maybe next time…

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Everyone is excited about having D1 Grand Prix Series Champion Daigo Saito finally here in the USA, driving in the Formula Drift series. However, instead of the FNATZ JZX100 Toyota Chaser we’re normally used to seeing him drive, Daigo is driving a Lexus SC430 sponsored by Achilles Tire. I wonder what their tires are like – I only recently heard of this brand, and I’ve never even driven on an Achilles tire in my life… but apparently they’re good enough to get Daigo into and 18th place qualifying position!

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Florida-based FC3S RX7 driver Jeremy Lowe made the trip to Long Beach, and we’re glad he did! I’ve never met the guy and have no idea what he looks like, but I love the way his RX7 looks, so that makes him cool in my book. It’s one of the rare good looking “street” based cars in the Formula D series! He qualified 19th.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Atlanta driver Dennis Mertzanis has a new paint scheme on his S14-faced RPS13. Dennis luckily squeaked by and qualified in 32nd place! Whew! Congrats Dennis… but it’s going to be a tough battle against First Place qualifier Ryan Tuerck in the graphically challenged Retaks S13.

Formula Drift Long Beach 2012

Rhys Millen is still killin… today at the driver’s meeting, they made fun of Millen’s age, calling him an old man… but he still drives hard, qualifying in 2nd Place! The judges jokingly said it was because he was getting sponsored by Viagra. Haha!

We’ll have A LOT more photos that we’ll be posting throughout the event weekend… stay tuned to @MOTORMAVENS on Instagram and Twitter, and of course, Facebook!

:: Antonio Alvendia

MotorMavens Readers' Blog

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11 Responses to “COVERAGE> Formula Drift Long Beach Qualifying”

  1. Rago says:

    Kudos. But why same photos n angles? I see 6 shots in a row look same. Why guys cropso much.! Close to car!

  2. CASTRO says:

    ^ Long lenses, not crops.
    And its because we all know what grey pavement looks like, we wanna see cars.
    Cant wait for full coverage !!

  3. Exactly, thanks for writing what I was gonna say anyway Castro! Anyway, Rago I hope you like the new story that we just posted!

  4. Sushi Boy says:

    Ragu is right. Hella cropped photos. Long lenses shouldn’t be an excuse to frame a photo so close. Look at the guys that shoot F1 or any professional motorsport with 600mm lenses and their shots are not all cropped. It’s about composition. Having all photos that close is not composition. I’ve been following Motormavens since 2009. It’s not like you guys. Good article but please guys, don’t keep it the same like this. Tell me a story through your photos! Please don’t be predictable…..

  5. Sushi Boy says:

    @Antonio: checked out the 2nd article & every photo was different. That’s the Motormavens I know. Interesting read & a variety of photos. ThUmbs Up

  6. LMAO hey guys, we just had someone talk to us about photo composition! hahahahaha

  7. cali shakes says:

    glad the season arrived! pretty cool stuff. not diggin the same shots tho

  8. richard says:

    good read! but stop showing the same type of shots. pah-leese!

  9. Modena360 says:

    i’d have to agree (partially) with sushi boy. Essa, Grunewald, Petty, Mordaunt n Gittin shots look the same. you guys are balancing it with other types of shots. Keep up the good coverage

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