Posts Tagged ‘Mike Essa’

COVERAGE> Formula Drift After Dark: Las Vegas!

The MotorMavens Crew is once again back at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Formula Drift After Dark. For those of you that couldn't make it, consider yourself lucky that you don't have to deal with the searing desert heat. Luckily it's not as hot as it was last year, but we're still baking in the sun so we can bring you imagery of whats current in Formula Drift.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula Drift Long Beach Qualifying

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.   Read more...

VIDEO> Cyrious Look at 2011 Slowed Down

2011 was a pretty spectacular year of drifting for me. Being a Canadian, I got to see a whole heck of a lot of America this year – not only from all the different rounds of Formula Drift that I and the rest of the Drift Posse participated in, but also as a result of a tour that saw me flying around the country for three months. (more…)


VIDEO> Formula D Irwindale 2011 = Best Thing Ever

Seriously though, this year’s Formula Drift Finale was one of the greatest weekends of my life. All the media, drivers, and industry people I’ve met over the last few years all in one place to be a part of arguably the greatest drifting spectacle in US history. I say “arguably,” but I will fight you. FD Irwindale 2011 was the best thing ever. Period. (more…)


VIDEO> Formula Drift Hits the Las Vegas Strip!

Now that you’ve heard the story behind and seen all the amazing photos from Formula Drift Las Vegas, courtesy of Oliver Petalver and Mike Kim, take a quick moment to wipe the drool from your keyboards and prepare yourselves for a short video from myself and Joe Ayala. (more…)


COVERAGE> Formula Drift: Vegas After Dark!

Round 6 of the Formula DRIFT series was held in the scorching heat of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where locals went to witness Rhys Millen, in the Red Bull/Hankook Tire Hyundai Genesis, take first place in an already competitive season. Prior to Round 6, Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire/Falken Tire Nissan S13 was the leader in the Championship Point Standings with Justin "JTP" Pawlak (in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang) in second. Both failed to make it to the to the Final Four in Vegas, making the points spread even more slim.

In addition, this past event made people do a double take as FD Asia drivers Adwitya "Dio" Amandio & Saranon "Non" Pornpatanarak each made their U.S. debut. There was also a bit of controversy as Justin Pawlak switched seats with Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z while McQuarrie piloted JTP's Falken Tire Nissan S15 instead.

All in all, with a nail biting points race, Rhys Millen back on the podium, new faces, and driver crossovers, you can see how someone might say that Vegas was the place to be this past weekend!   Read more...

COVERAGE> The Formula D Atlanta Experience Pt. 2

Keeping our coverage of Round 2 of Formula Drift at Road Atlanta coming, we bring you more photos of the Pro Am rounds as well as the main event. Road Atlanta is a unique venue in that it is a world class road course that sees everything from the likes of Le Mans prototype cars to your neighbor who enjoys exercising his right foot every now and again. The Formula Drift weekend is no different - you get a mix of high-dollar, corporate-backed monster machines competing door to door with a backyard creation that you saw built from the ground up on your local forum.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula Drift Atlanta Practice Session

Right now I'm sitting in the media tower at Road Atlanta while practice continues just over the hill on the course. That's right, Allen Iverson, we're talkin' about practice! Not the game, but practice. With that being said, even though it was practice, the drivers were pushing it to the limit and beyond. Many cars ended up in the kitty litter on the initiation corner and some went into the wall.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula D Long Beach Experience Pt.2

Okay... you've waited long enough! I've been sick the past few days so it's been rough, but I've finally managed to go through thousands of photos that we shot at Formula Drift's 2011 season opener on the Streets of Long Beach. I know everyone wants to see the photos, so without further delay, let's begin! Through the lenses of the MotorMavens sharpshooters, this is the Formula Drift Long Beach experience, Part Two!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula D Tech Day on UTI Campus

Every year, before the Formula Drift series starts, they have a technical inspection of the cars. Rules are strict and inspections are thorough, with a handful of cars not passing on the first look. The Annual Formula D Tech Day isn't just about standards and regulations, it's also a lot of fun. Checking out the newly built cars up close, without the massive crowds at an actual Formula Drift event, is a little more special than seeing it just fly by on the track. It gives you a nice glimpse of what it takes to build one of these cars, which takes more then just a weekend in the garage.   Read more...

VIDEO> Ken Block Gymkhana Grid Invitational

The very first time I ever posted a video by Joshua Herron on the internet, I was still writing for Speedhunters, he had just finished editing his 2009 Tokyo Auto Salon video (he didn’t even have an HD camera yet), and Josh’s name was pretty much unknown in the automotive scene. Man, have things changed – and in such a short amount of time!

Our own design guru Andy Sapp just sent me a link to Josh’s latest video, which showcases his coverage of the Ken Block Gymkhana Grid Invitational at Irwindale Speedway on December 4th. I’m pretty sure that pretty much everyone will agree with me when I say that this is the_best_video I’ve ever seen from the ‘Hobo’ from Las Vegas! Check the footage of Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta, Toshiki Yoshioka rocking the Driftspeed S15 Silvia, Alex Pfeiffer and the Battle Version SC300, Mike Essa in his M5-powered E92 BMW, and Tanner Foust getting sprayed at the podium once again! (more…)


GALLERY> Ken Block Gymkhana Grid Invitational

Here are some more much overdue photos from Ken Block’s Gymkhana Grid Invitational. At first, “gymkhana” may sound like a martial arts discipline (to those unfamiliar with the automotive version) but it's actually a starting line and a finish line joined together by all sorts of interesting obstacles such as cones, tires, and barrels which, when arranged just so, require a driver to perform all sorts of interesting maneuvers such as reversals, 180 and 360 degree spins, and figure 8s - all while racing against the clock. The reason I stressed that this is the automotive version is because, you may be interested to know, there is an equestrian version as well. As you can imagine, there's a lot less smoke - unless they figured out how to get a horse to do a burnout when I wasn't looking.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula Drift Las Vegas Highlights

When it comes to Formula D Las Vegas, what can I say that hasn't been already mentioned? It was hot. Damn hot. Too hot to be outside without air conditioning. I don't understand how Las Vegas locals can handle the incredible heat over there, but they say they're just used to it now. Getting used to it is one thing... but I wonder if they like it though?

Just like the gypsy camps in the days of old, this year's Las Vegas round of Formula Drift brought thieves out of the woodwork. I was really surprised to find out that former Formula D judge (and current Tanaka Racing Corvette driver) Alex Pfeiffer's helmet was stolen. I suppose someone was a fan of Alex's Hawaiian print helmet, which had the traditional Hawaiian plumeria flowers painted on one side. The only question I have about that is... Okay, thieves. Now that you have Alex's helmet, what the hell are you going to do with it?   Read more...

COVERAGE> Gymkhana Block Party!

This weekend, while I was out of town handling some family business, drifting sharpshooter Larry Chen was out at Hollywood Park attending the media preview day of DC Shoes founder Ken Block's Gymkhana Invitational. I'm pretty disappointed that I wasn't able to make it to the event myself, as I absolutely LOVE gymkhana.

For those who don't know, gymkhana is kind of like a cross between autocross (slalom/solo racing in a parking lot, in a course laid out with cones) and drifting. Back before I started working the media end of the drifting scene, I was pretty active in driving at autocross events. It's fun, it improves your driving skills, and it's not too expensive.

Ken Block isn't the first person to try to organize a gymkhana event though. Erik Jacobs from DG Trials in Atlanta GA was the first person that I had ever heard of trying to make a series of drifting and gymkhana events... this was back around 2004 or so, when drifting was just beginning to blow up! To put things in perspective, back then, Vaughn Gittin Jr was still working on getting sponsored by Falken, and he was driving an S13 240SX, not a Ford Mustang!   Read more...

VIDEO> Formula Drift Seattle by Justin Shreeve


Formula Drift Seattle 2010

Last weekend’s Formula Drift Seattle event at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington was unforgettable. Tons of familiar faces and unusually warm weather made for the best FD experience I’ve ever had. Since I’ve been shooting at this location so much lately, I was able to take my time and really enjoy the event, rather than scrambling to get shots.

Last weekend also marked a milestone for me, as it had been one year since shooting my first FD event with a media pass. FD Seattle ’09 was also when I met quite a few friends in the industry, such as Antonio Alvendia, Larry Chen, Drew Fishbein, Ross Fairfield, Will Roegge, and Josh Herron, among many others. Last year around this time, I knew next to no one and now I can comfortably say I feel at home in the professional and grassroots drifting communities.

With this video, I chose to take a much lighter approach than last year as a representation of the comfort and relaxation I now feel among my fellow videographers, photographers, and drivers who congregate for these great events.

This year, I also met a guy named Jason from ContourHD/VHoldr, who was nice enough to let me test out a couple of his HD 1080p wearable/mountable POV cameras for some of the shots!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me along the way, especially the MotorMavens Crew, Formula Drift, Evergreen Drift, and KP Race. Without all the love, it just wouldn’t be worth it.

Thank you.

:: Justin Shreeve

Shreeve Films on Vimeo

MotorMavens Crew on Facebook


COVERAGE> Bimmerfest Takes Over Pasadena!

While other members of the MotorMavens Crew were out getting attacked by windstorms in Las Vegas, those of us who decided to stay in Southern California for the weekend attended the 2010 Bimmerfest. I'll admit... with a background in Japanese cars, this was the very first Bimmerfest I've ever attended. Before I go any further, I think I need to take a moment to congratulate (and give ultimate props to) Bimmerfest founder Jon Shafer.

The amount of BMWs (and their owners) that attended the event was just RIDICULOUS! No, seriously... ridiculous! When I exited off the 210 freeway, I (and my 5 series BMW touring) immediately joined the fray of BMWs making their way to the Rose Bowl, which was made famous by holiday football games and slow moving floats parading through Pasadena city streets. Creeping through traffic at a snail's pace, I followed the long line of cars with license plates from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, and New Mexico... chuckling to myself, thinking "I wonder how many of these guys think I'm here to put my car in the show? I'm just here to shoot coverage of the event and do a little carspotting!"

Truth be told, even though I've been to BMW Welt in Munich, experienced the Autobahn, and stayed overnight at Hotel Am Tiergarten/Pistenklause (the small hotel/restaurant owned by BMW ringtaxi driver Sabine Schmitz's family) that sits inside the Nurburgring... even though my trip to Deutschland actually inspired me to buy a 5 series BMW wagon, I still don't see myself as a "BMW guy."   Read more...

COVERAGE> Insider’s Look: Formula D Atlanta Pt.1

Even though everyone else in the United States is still feeling the effects of the country's economic slump, I'm happy to observe and report that the Formula Drift series has been growing! Not only have new non-endemic (non-automotive) sponsors joined the series for 2010, but the attendance at both the Long Beach and Atlanta rounds of Formula Drift have been out of control, with seats completely packed! I'm really amazed to think that I've been watching Formula D grow into a stronger and stronger series from the very beginning. I've been traveling to all these events and documenting the growth of the series ever since it started out, with it's inaugural round in Atlanta in 2004. Formula Drift, you've come a long way, baby.

Not only has the series progressed businesswise, but the media outlets, drivers, and cars have all been stepping their game up to become more powerful, making Formula Drift a serious force to be reckoned with, on a worldwide stage. I bet the people who run the D1GP series in Japan are thinking, "Damn yo! That could have been us!" (Although they probably wouldn't be saying it in those words.)

Enough of my theory and random thoughts on the state of drifting in America though... let's get down to business! After all, the reason why people come to MotorMavens is because they like our taste in cars! So let's get down to it - our first installment of my insider's look at Formula D Atlanta. Let's go!   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 Fun at Long Beach

I know, everyone has been waiting to see our first installment of Formula D Long Beach pics. So have I! We just had to get some other deadlines out of the way before we could begin posting our images from this weekend's Formula Drift event on the Streets of Long Beach!

This past weekend was certainly an exciting one. I was excited to see all the new cars that were debuting at Long Beach, as well as seeing a lot of good friends from different parts of the world, even if it would be only for a brief moment. Unfortunately, when you're working at the event like I am, you're usually hustling about, going from one spot to the next, and you don't have as much time as you'd like to just chill and spend time with good friends. This event was definitely like that for me.

I was trying to juggle shooting photos for the website while overseeing the Motor Mavens Crew's event promotions efforts. Not an easy task! Also, on the Saturday of the event, I was asked to help out with the filming of The Grid, which is a UK-based motorsports television show that airs in 120 countries around the world! And... on top of all that, we debuted the new MotorMavens X DSTROYR "Follow The Leader" shirt at our booth, which was managed by super designer Jon Chase, the creative genius behind the brands DSTROYR and Famous Stars and Straps. I and the entire Motor Mavens Crew definitely had our hustle mode switched ON this weekend!   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...

GALLERY> The Irwindale Experience

Since I'm new to MotorMavens, most people don't know much background info on me. I was born and raised in the Northwest, so every time I visit California, it becomes a great adventure. The final round in the Formula Drift series was my very first visit to Irwindale. From the hot weather and good looking girls, I could tell I was in for a real treat! Not to mention all the sick cars that California has!

When I arrived at LAX on Thursday, I got my rental car and drove straight into L.A. traffic to get to Irwindale Speedway, working my way though all that traffic while trying to find a good radio station to listen to. I finally arrived at the Speedway about 45 minutes later.

Walking though the pits, watching all the vendors getting set up for the event, I noticed the pit area is so much bigger than the one we have at Evergreen Speedway where Round 5 was held . This was a subtle hint that more vendors and drivers would be attending this event than the one at Evergreen.

Another thing that I noticed was the weather. Seattle summer includes two months of decent heat and sun after which it's back to the infamous rain season that happens to have started a couple of weeks ago. So, even though I caught myself wiping sweat off my forehead every few minutes, I was enjoying every minute of the sun. I wish it was like this in the Northwest.

Fast forward to the opening day of the Final round of Formula Drift. I got there bright and early to start taking photos and meet lots of new people. Since I'm pretty new to MotorMavens, a lot of people didn't know my name or my face. I took that as the perfect opportunity to introduce myself to the locals. The attitude that California people have is really great! Everyone was friendly and awesome to hang out with!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Slide Assassins Sunday Session

This has been an extremely busy weekend for the Motor Mavens crew in Southern Cali. Travis Hodges and I went out to bake in the sun at the IDRC Season Finale at Fontucky Dragway (aka Auto Club Dragway/California Speedway) all day Saturday. We'll show you some of what we captured at IDRC soon enough, but first I wanted to shine a light on a special event that took place today (Sunday) at Irwindale Speedway.

Even though I was still exhausted and burnt from our skin cancerous Saturday in Fontana, I somehow dragged myself out of bed and prepared my camera gear for yet another day at the track. While I found it extremely hard to pry myself from the ice cold air conditioning blasting throughout my house, I reminded myself that I made a commitment to show up. My friend Luke Pakula kept dropping me friendly reminders about the event the Slide Assassins guys were throwing at Irwindale Speedway, so I wanted to come through and show support of their event, on behalf of the Motor Mavens crew.

After all, the Motor Mavens movement is all about supporting grassroots drifting! Everyone on our team does their best to show how much we genuinely care about the scene by being out there as much as we possibly can. Actions speak louder than words, so hopefully people will notice that our site doesn't only cover the big events like Formula D and All Star Bash... Motor Mavens shows love by shining a light on some of the smaller events as well. And luckily for us, some of the grassroots drifters have been showing us love back!

We just can't tell you enough how much it means to us when we see people showing their support of the site by rocking our stickers on their cars, by leaving comments on our blog posts, by reposting our links onto different forums, blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages! It is especially means a lot to us when people voice their support when they see us at events. We love that people appreciate our site, because we put a whole lot of heart and hard work into it!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula D Brings Heat to Vegas, Part 3

It has been ten days since the Formula D tour rolled the dice through Sin City, and what an event it was. We've already shown you numerous photos and videos from the Vegas event, so we thought we'd wrap up our photographic coverage of the event today.

In the pit area right before qualifying, the Apex'i crew was busy at work - either their differential or ring and pinion seized up, because the rear wheels on Ryuji Miki's FD3s wouldn't spin at all - they were completely locked up! The Apex'i crew always seems to be working tirelessly, as we always see them working on their cars on the side of the track.

In this photo, we see Jeren Walker from DSPORT Magazine offering to lend a helping hand, so that the Apex'i crew could get the car back on track and Miki could qualify. Jeren works for a magazine - he wasn't hired to help Apex'i; he had nothing to gain from getting down and dirty, helping to get Miki's car back on track. Yet he willingly volunteered to help, because that's what people do from the grassroots drifting scene. Wait... Apex'i..? Grassroots?   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula D Brings Heat to Vegas, Part 2

Continuing our Motor Mavens Coverage on Formula D Las Vegas... many of the fans and media members seem to have been focused on only the Top 32 tandem competition, but those who braved the Vegas heat earlier in the day were treated to some pretty exciting tsuisou action from the Formula D Pro Am drivers. Props go out to all the Pro Am drivers for coming up through the ranks and doin it big!   Read more...