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COVERAGE> Underdogs of FD New Jersey V.1

In the last installment of photos from Formula D New Jersey, I took a brief moment to look at some of the big dogs of the sport… I didn’t get a chance to touch on all the teams, so maybe we’ll revisit that some time in the future. However, right now, I think we should shine our spotlight on some of the drivers that don’t get as much attention as they should… this goes out to the heart of the scene… the grassroots!

The first car in this story is Ross Petty‘s Garage Boso S15 Silvia. Some people might not consider Ross as a “grassroots” driver any longer, because he is now sponsored by Falken, but I still think of him as a being grassroots and hardcore. Together with his business partner Frank Siharath, Ross hustles hard every day at the shop; whether they’re selling some used wheels and engines from Japan, or dyno tuning a car with an elaborate engine swap. Ross has been driving as a privateer for a long time; starting in Okinawa, and then moving to Hawaii (you can see clips of Ross driving at early Drift Sessions events on Oahu, if you dig up some old video clips from Grip Video or Green Bottle Video from Hawaii), and finally to the mainland (California). He’s gone through several years of paying dues to get where he’s at… and that’s a concept that so many of the younger generation of drifters don’t seem to understand.

So many of the younger drifters (including upstart drift videographers, photographers and bloggers) don’t seem to grasp the concept of PAYING DUES. Everyone seems to want something handed to them for free, almost like they EXPECT IT or feel like something is owed to them. That’s just not the case, so listen up.

>>> If you want to get big, you need to put yourself out there. If you want to get major sponsor support, then you need to REPRESENT HARD and show people what you’re made of, and what you can do. Better yet, you need to do it for the love of it, even without sponsor support… because when companies see that you’re going to be doing it anyway, and when they see that you and the people you run with are of quality and have a good reputation, they will want to align themselves with you, and eventually, they will throw dollars your way. (Even though sometimes the relationship might starts with a few cents, not dollars.) However, you have to do it because you love it; not because you’re trying to get rich or famous from it. THIS right here, is the true recipe for success in any field. It’s great to see that Ross has been pretty successful in following that formula.

Oh, what the hell. Before I get all Anthony Robbins on you, let me break up the motivational speech and give you a little bit of what you want to see anyway – the eye candy! Her name is Megan, and I think she has a gorgeous smile. Agree?

Here’s another grassroots drifting success story – Mike Essa from GSR Motorsports is probably best known in drifting circules for the GM LS powered FC3S RX7 he drove last year, but he’s certainly charging hard and making some big noise in the Formula Drift series! In case you were wondering, that noise comes from the E60 BMW M5 V10 engine that’s sitting underneath the hood of his new black 3 series.

Mike seemingly came out of nowhere and made a big name for himself, and you wanna know something crazy??? Last time I spoke to him, Mike confessed that he couldn’t even connect turns in January of 2008; he said he was still practicing doing donuts in a circle in January of 2008!!! And then he earned his Formula D license, began doing well in the series, and then got sponsored for a full new race car build. Can you believe that?! He says it’s true!!!

Here’s a drifter that I admittedly don’t know too much about. This is Matt Waldin, and I first noticed his car in Formula D at Long Beach last year. Ever since then, I’ve been seeing his name pop up on the internet more and more, as he’s been pretty aggressive in getting as much seat time as possible! His Facebook page says he’s based in West Chester PA, but I heard he’s been traveling all the way as California and Toronto ON (Canada, in case you haven’t heard) just for drifting! Awesome.

Raising his hands to the heavens here at the driver’s meeting is ACP – Andrew Comrie Picard. In case you didn’t know, he has a lot of experience as a rally driver and is sponsored by Dodge as a member of Samuel Hubinette’s SHR team. I don’t think I’d really call him a grassroots driver, but SHR is now a team of privateers without the big money funding from Mopar. They’re still sponsored by a big OEM like Dodge, but from what they tell me, it’s still a struggle because they aren’t getting nearly as much support as they used to with Mopar and Nuformz in their corner.

Here’s the car that ACP is driving in the series – the Dodge Viper that was formerly driven by Samuel Hubinette. ACP was having some issues with the car at previous rounds, but it looks like he is improving now – that’s great to see!

This is Jeff Jones from the San Fernando Valley; the Southern Cali 818 area. I’m not quite sure what he’s doing in the pic –  he could be either checking his tire pressure, tying his shoelaces, or banging his head against the rear fender of his car! Hehe… When you look up “grassroots privateer” in the dictionary, you see Jeff Jones’ face. This guy competed last year in a Nissan RPS13 with a turbocharged Supra engine in it (take THAT to all the people that put SR20DETs in Toyotas!), but this year, he has upped his game with the debut of his newly built FD3S RX7.

Here’s Jeff’s FD at Wall. I’m not quite sure, but from the looks of the spinning rear wheels, it appears like he’s running Enkei RPF01 wheels wrapped in Cooper Tires. FD owners help me out here… not sure what kind of aero he’s using. Is that a DRFT style front bumper?

I heard that Jeff’s car is getting a graphic refresh pretty soon, which is pretty exciting to me! Anyone who reads this blog will tell you that I’m not only a fan of great looking cars with high levels of performance, but I’m also a fan of cars that have cool liveries and graphics. I’m not quite sure about the other details of the car (like what kind of mirrors those? I think I used to know a guy with mirrors like that on his 1980 Corolla… I didn’t know they made them for FDs too?), but either way, Jeff and his boys are always out there pushing hard, and you gotta respect that… I’d love to see this guy succeed and start killing it at Formula D! Maybe we’ll take a closer look at his FD in the future.

I think the last vehicle we’ll feature on this particular update is this Ford Mustang, driven by Doug Van Den Brink. I’ve seen Doug’s Mustang out at Formula D events in previous years, but man… that thing is really starting to develop! It’s probably one of the craziest evolutions of that body of Mustang I’ve seen. (Sorry, I don’t know chassis codes or anything for Mustangs.) I think we should probably take a closer look at this car too. From what I remember, I think it has rear mounted turbos or something near the exhaust, but I don’t know all the details. It’s certainly worth a look! I know I’ve never seen that type of widebody overfender kit on a Mustang of that type before. Car details aside, it looks like Doug had no problem riding high on the banking at wall – that takes skills!

Okay, that’s it for now… I need to get to the office and FTP photos to some clients! Keep MotorMavens in your Favorites, because we have a lot more grassroots driver stories coming soon!

:: Antonio Alvendia

Photos by Larry Chen
(Privateer Drivers: You should buy copies of your photos from Larry at DriftFotos.com and show support to the people who support you!)

18 Responses

  1. The 1994-2004 Mustang was the SN95 chassis. The 2005-11 is called the S197. Not totally sure of 1993 and earlier Fox body stangs.

    I would certainly like to see more stanced/fitted Mustangs. I think they are a perfect candidate with a good bolt pattern (5×114.3) and pretty good sized fenders and the aftermarket is HUGE! and chassis’ aplenty for cheap!

  2. @Cyrus: haha your story is coming NEXT! It was just too funny, so I had to save it for another post LOL

    @hechtspeed: Damn man, you took us to school on the mustang chassis numbers! haha… I know that Mustangs have TONS of aftermarket. I wasn’t quite sure about the handling on them though, compared to some of the other, newer cars. I’ve been told by people that drifted Mustangs in the past that they aren’t as precise as some of the Japanese or European cars. Although, I suppose any car can be made competitive with the right mods and engineering, right? If they’re making RWD Scions that can win Formula D and RWD Imprezas that can win D1GP, I suppose anything is possible.

    @kyushakai: YEAH! You’re right. I meant C-West. I’ve seen their Time Attack style aero kit on Calvin Wan’s FD in the past, so I recognized the bumper… my bad for getting the name wrong!

  3. James Evins

    The rear mounted turbocharger setup you mentioned on Doug Van Den Brink’s car is an STS remote mount system, pretty popular on domestics. :)

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  5. Absolution

    It’s actually pretty easy to mix them up. The C-West bumpers for the FD kinda run up on each other. With the trademark C-West square vents, it can either be the N1 or the N1 type II. (Weird.) If it looks like the N1 but missing the C-West squares, it’s the DRFT bumper.

    As for the rest of the kit, idk. The skirts look like Mazdaspeed or KS-Auto. I can’t see the rear, but probs C-West.


  6. cororra

    nice write up!! iv herd of crazy stories of jeff jones driving like a mad man in some mountains in socal…i have mad props for some one that has street credit or started out with super gehtto cars

  7. Nice coverage of some lesser known drivers. There is one fellow in particular that you said you do not know much about. I can fill you in a little bit about the guy you referenced, Matt Waldin.

    I first crossed paths with Matt through his shop, Import Intelligence, about three years ago in the quest for powering up my beloved 1991 240SX, that I purchased slightly used in 1993. After unsuccessfully trying to build a fast NA KA that another shop, royally screwed up. I contacted Heavy Throttle???from New York. I believe that is where I learned about Import Intelligence and a little while later called Matt.

    The NA KA was not working for me opwer wise and I was going through a quart of oil every 40 miles. Like I said, the other shop royally screwed it up. So, I call Import and ask a bunch of questions and get a quote for an SR20 swap. Because that’s just what you do with 240s according to the internet. One thing you need to know is I know next to nothing about cars and I am clearly not a mechanic as Matt can tell you. But, at this point it’s like a video game shopping for parts. Front Mount Intercooler, battery in trunk, boost controller, Walbro fuel pump, blow off valve etc. Game on!

    I remember taking my car to the shop, about a 90 minute drive on the PA turnpike for me and having to dump a quart of oil in the KA halfway there. We get to the shop and look around a bit and I am pointed towards to my new (used) motor. My SR20 is setting right there in front of me. Not knowing poo about cars, I ask Matt where’s the turbo? As I did not know the difference between a top mount and bottom mount turbo. I mistakenly thought everything was top mount. He pointed towards what would be low, rear, United States driver side of motor and said the turbo is there. I’m like okay a bit mystified at his explanation. I only wish I knew what he was thinking at that point.

    I get the car back 2 weeks later and it’s fast. And it makes turbo and blow off valve sounds which you are familiar with I’m sure. Heaven on earth, complete nirvana. Since then, the car has gone back for a GT2871R .86 turbo, coilovers, a Tomei exhaust manifold, and bigger injectors. Even more fun!

    A few things about me. I am an extreme sports junkie (skiing, skateboarding, and of couse drifting), own a camcorder to film with, and a beer keg for patience and inspiration while editing videos.

    Sorry to ramble. Words are cheap. If you want to learn a little more about Matt, it is imperative that you watch these videos…

    Formula D Wall 2010

    Matt Compilation Video

    Drift Brigade at Street Life Tour

    Import Intelligence Drift Camp 2010

  8. The mirrors on the Jeff Jones FD are some old school Vildini’s I pulled off my 81 280zx turbo. We opted for these over the Shrek looking stocks, Just a little something to feel more like Im a part of the car LOL! Also the Hood pins that he was rockin in Long beach and Atlanta where my own Hand made Creation.

    And Cororra, there is actually this Old Vid from back in the days on youtube where jeff’s getting down In the local areas. This is pretty much like the beginings of it all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eufDWTb-1Zc&feature=related

  9. *Antonio, that is so True!!! We still do what we can because we love it!!! And still working everyday to keep the car competitive with all those high powered V8s..

    *This time I am bringing an extra front bumper.. I had to stitch up the old one, because on that transition on the track ripped it off and Ross ran over it into a million pieces, it took me almost 4 hours to do. I truly have much respect for anyone that fixes them!

    Thanks for the Great pics and a little thing about BOSO. I need to get back to work!!!

    -Frank Siharath

  10. John

    That mustang is an sn95 chassis but is usually referred to as a “new edge” (if it was japanese it would be kouki). they are great cars and available cheap I got my 2000 GT for $6000 w/ 30k on it. However they do take a little suspension work to get them to handle consitantly. Stock they have a ot of snap oversteer and the front actuallt has an inverted ackerman angle. It will toe in on turns. But parts are cheap and the motors make good power with simple bolts ons.

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