Posts Tagged ‘Horacio Flores’

GALLERY> Gripwerks & S2Ki Forums BBQ Meet

There are times in life when one should expand one's horizons, embrace diversity and appreciate things that are personally "outside the norm." These Zen-like thoughts came to me while driving home from work one afternoon and I eventually came to the temporary conclusion that I COULD enjoy other vehicle makes and models and let my devoted passion for RX7s rest a little. I did stress that this was a temporary conclusion, didn't I?

The result of my moment of enlightenment? A new appreciation for Honda's road grappler - the Honda S2000. Which came just in time since a good buddy of mine, Scott Soonthonum, informed me that he was the proud owner of the CR edition S2K during my birthday celebration shortly thereafter. Funny how these things work out. We exchanged info with the intention of keeping in touch so that we could connect sometime in the near future.

In just a matter of days, I received a text from Scott inviting the MotorMavens crew to attend the Gripwerks & S2kI Forums' 1st Annual BBQ Meet. Let's take a look at what photographer Horacio Flores captured as I delve into the welcoming unknown.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Nisei Showoff Returns To Little Tokyo

I'm sure many will agree with me when I say that I'm glad that the City of Los Angeles didn't complete its bulldozing and reconstruction project surrounding Downtown LA's newly built Alameda Street train station... this allowed Ken Miyoshi and his Import Showoff crew to continue their tradition of throwing the Nisei Showoff in the heart of Little Tokyo. According to Ken, this year marked the 10 Year Anniversary of the Nisei Showoff, which always took place in conjunction with the historic Nisei Week Festival in Little Tokyo, celebrating the culture of second generation Japanese living in the United States.

This year, there were a ton of new cars that made their debut at the show, and several regulars that received makeovers. According to Ken Miyoshi, one of the things that has always separated Nisei Showoff from the other carshows is the face that Showoff has a really qualified panel of carshow judges who really have expertise in the automotive aftermarket. Nisei Showoff's judges include people who have a background of working with companies like HKS, Blitz, Toyota, and places like that. This may be a major differentiation factor to some people, but to me, it's completely different.

Nisei Showoff just has a particular vibe to it. It starts early in the morning, in the exciting hustle and bustle of the competitor load-in, as the cars form ridiculously long lines, jamming up the streets of Little Tokyo as they wait for the show staff to let them in the gate and park at their assigned spaces. It continues throughout the day, as the noontime sun heats up the entire place, and you get to bump into old friends and catch up on the things that are going on in everyone's busy lives. For me, the excitement continues on to the late afternoon too, as I complete my rounds through the show and stop by the cars that catch my eye, making new friends and checking out all the subtle things that everyone has done to their cars. Probably the most fun thing about Nisei Showoff (for me at least) is the fact that Ken Miyoshi has asked me to be the official emcee for the awards ceremony. I've been doing this for the past three (or four?) years now... and that part is really fun, because you get to see what the owners of the cars look like, as they come up and receive their trophy at the stage.   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> Formula Drifting on Hollywood Blvd

With Round 1 of the Formula Drift Championship finished this past weekend, and the Formula D Team Drift competition at Long Beach this upcoming weekend, some of the Formula D stars put on a very special show earlier today (Thursday night) in Hollywood. Apparently, this was part of a promotion for the IZOD Indycar Series and the Long Beach Grand Prix coming up this weekend, but whatever... we don't give a two sh!ts about Indycars - bring on more drifting!

There were actually several rotary powered vehicles in attendance for the drift demo, but by far, the best looking car (in our opinion) was certainly Justin Pawlak's mean green FC3S RX7.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula D Tech Day at UTI

There sure were a lot of car events to hit up this weekend in Southern California, and the Formula D season hasn't even started yet. Man, it's going to be a super hectic year for sure. On Saturday morning, Formula Drift held their annual pre-season tech inspection at Universal Technical Institute in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. This tech inspection is open to the public, and it gives drifting fans an up close and personal glimpse at the cars that will be running in the series before the season starts.

For those who don't know, Universal Technical Institute is a mechanic's training school, located out in the IE (Inland Empire), right across the street from the old Falken Tire headquarters, and right next to Kumho on Sixth Street and Haven. I've had an increasingly extremely full personal calendar, filled with things I need to do and places I need to be... and this weekend was no different. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't even make it out to the tech day myself, so I am super appreciative that new MotorMavens contributors Horacio Flores and Mike Kim (no, not the Mike Kim from UrbanRacer) offered to go to UTI and see what was going on. Thanks a lot guys! Enough about these details though - let's have a look at the cars!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Xtreme Drift Circuit at Irwindale

Most people that are familiar with drifting in the United States have heard of Irwindale, California. After all, Irwindale's most famous attraction, Irwindale Speedway has been home to many major "firsts" in the drifting community. Irwindale Speedway was the venue for numerous early Drift Day events; the Video Option Ikaten on January 17th, 2003; the first Drift Showoff on March 3rd 2003; the RS-R Drift Festival on April 6, 2003; the first D1 Grand Prix event in the USA on August 31, 2003; and the first Formula D homecoming at Irwindale on August 29, 2004.

I mention these particular events because they were all milestone events for the grassroots drifting community. Since then, Irwindale has become a recognized name and a home for grassroots drifting in the West Coast. This past weekend marked the first ever XDC (Xtreme Drift Circuit) event at Irwindale. Whether or not this XDC event (or the series in general) will turn out to be a major milestone in the minds of drifters in the United States remains to be seen. However, I can tell you that I observed some re-invigoration and renewed interest in high level grassroots drifting competition from some of the drivers. Hell, if having high-skill-level grassroots drivers spend the time and effort in making the journey from most major regions of the United States (and Canada too) just to compete in this event doesn't indicate what kind of hype this new series is generating, then I don't know what will. It looks as if XDC is heading towards becoming a major force in the grassroots drifting arena.

I'll be honest - when I first heard about yet another drifting series launching this year, I kind of rolled my eyes, just like everyone else did. "Oh jeez," I thought. "Another drifting series is trying to come up and compete with Formula D again?" Well, if you observed how the whole "Nopi Drift Series" turned out, you might understand where some of the drifting community's skepticism comes from. However, when I found out that this new XDC Series was actually slated as a "feeder series" which would sharpen up the skill levels of grassroots drifters across the country and allow them to graduate into Formula D competition, I thought, "hmmm... I think this might actually work out."

The Motor Mavens Movement is all about supporting grassroots drivers and local street teams and crews from all over the world. Formula D did a good thing by empowering the local drifting organizers in different regions to hold Pro Am "driver search" events (like Vegas Pro Am and Evergreen Pro Am, etc), but what I think really boosts the level of drivers that want to graduate into the Formula D series is having the ability to compete regularly on different tracks, against different drivers from different geographical regions.

This "nationalization" and/or "globalization" of competition between the drifting community's hometown heroes is the only way grassroots drivers can really prove how good they are. However, with the level of drift car builds and big money that's required to actually run an entire Formula D season nowadays, it's nearly impossible for REAL grassroots drivers with REAL grassroots style drift cars to actually compete against the Formula D series' hundred-thousand-dollar engine builds, Nascar V8s and full race cars with silhouettes of their OEM bodies dzus-fastened onto tube frames. It saddens some people to see drifting turning into a major pro motorsport like Nascar, but it's all a natural progression, I suppose.   Read more...