was pigeonholed many years ago as a redneck, Southeastern cultural phenomenon. It still has some of that down home feel, but when you drop the Sprint Cup
series into the heart of Southern California car country, it melds almost seamlessly with so much of the culture surrounding things that go vroom-vroom.
Consider NASCAR evolved out of the uncanny abilities of drivers who spent most of their time trying to outrun the police... No, really. Most of NASCAR’s original heroes cut their driving chops running moonshine (illegal grain alcohol) in the 1920s to the 1940s. Not only were these guys phenomenal drivers who regularly escaped certain prison time, they were clever mechanics, who could tune a 1930s Chevy to outrun just about any municipal vehicle of the day. Read more...
Even if they didn't attend the jam packed Formula Drift Finale
at Irwindale Speedway
, all drifting fans with an internet connection already know that Daigo Saito
has been smashing the competition repeatedly all year, ascending the ranks of the Formula Drift Championship
and ending his first year in Formula D in First Place
as the Formula Drift Series Champion
Here's a collection of some of our favorite images captured from the event! Read more...
On October 7th, over 1500
Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota AE86 enthusiasts from all over the Western United States converged at Auto Club Speedway
in Fontana CA for the very first 86FEST
, and the energy was just incredible!
The newly introduced Toyota/Subaru "86" platform (sold as Scion FR-S
and Subaru BRZ
in the USA) has received international acclaim as the second coming of the legendary AE86, which has a huge cult following worldwide.
With help from sponsors like Falken Tire
, OEM Audio Plus
, Turn 14 Distribution
, Whiteline Suspension
, Spec Clutch
, Mann Engineering
, Flossy Shift Knobs
, and M7 Japan
, it's pretty crazy how quickly our inaugural 86FEST came together! Just a few weeks ago, I was driving at a Volkswagen event at Big Willow, and got to talking with the Speed Ventures
organizers, Dave and Aaron, about how cool it would be if we could get a bunch of FR-S, BRZ, and AE86 owners together at a track day. They both expressed a lot of interest in the idea - especially since we have been thinking about ways to work together for nearly two years! Read more...
Nearly two weeks ago, some of you saw a portion of the 1.968-mile temporary street course in Long Beach, CA when Formula DRIFT
slid into town. Just this past weekend, fans were treated to the full street course with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
. During the three-day event, fans were able to see a variety of races - IndyCar, Firestone Indy Lights, American Le Mans Series, Pirelli World Cup
, and the infamous Formula DRIFT
team competition. Local Long Beach drifter Kyle Mohan
and 2011 Rookie of the Year Aurimas "Odi" Bakchis
won the team DRIFT competition. Read more...
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
opened today with a practice session of the American Le Mans Series
. Even though the practice session opened with a heavy downpour, we were super excited to shoot the amazing looking cars as rain soaked our cameras and permeated through our clothing, down to our socks. Even though racing on a rainy day through a street course with big concrete barriers may be a grueling nightmare for many drivers, these conditions are perfect for some spectacular photos. The weather may not have been as nice as the Formula Drift event last weekend
, but its a nice change to what seems like an eternally sunny Southern California. Read more...
The first event of the Formula Drift Championship
season is always something to look forward to. It's always exciting to see the newly built (or rebuilt) competition cars attack the streets of Long Beach on the weekend preceding the Long Beach Grand Prix
In recent months, I've actually heard people say that the sport of drifting is in a slump, but I beg to differ. With a first time ever SOLD OUT
event at Formula D Long Beach, the venue was packed with plenty of familiar faces (and a ton of new ones) from all over the world! I received a multitude of text messages over the course of the weekend from friends asking if I could help them get tickets, but the event really was sold out
and packed to legal capacity. The grandstands were completely full, with only standing room available. How about that, naysayers? Drifting isn't dead just because YOU can't get sponsors. Drifting is continuing to grow, and it's now larger than its ever been! Read more...
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...
Most of our readers already know that @MotorMavens
Crew doesn't normally do coverage of stock car racing. However, when we got the official invite and media passes to the NASCAR
Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway
(California Speedway) in Fontana this past weekend, we decided it might be interesting to experience NASCAR through the eyes of an outsider.
I was unsure of what to expect. A lot of people portray the NASCAR crowd to be a certain demographic - yielding confederate flags and trucker caps with flames on the bill, screaming "Yee-haw!" but that stereotype couldn't be more incorrect, at least at the Fontana event. Read more...
The first time that I was introduced to this car was during the Targa Trophy
event this past year. However, the car was dressed in white and had a unique theme that might have been reminiscent of a Storm Trooper. Over the course of the past year, owner Jamie Liu has been adding modifications in an effort to gain a top position at events such as Hot Import Night
2011. Words alone cannot justify the brilliance of this build so let's look further into Jamie's amazing Mercedes-Benz R230 SL55 AMG
. Read more...
I’m Kyle Mohan, and I drive the Nexen Tires/Mazdatrix RX8 in the Formula Drift Championship. It’s hard to believe that 2011 was already the fifth season for Kyle Mohan Racing (KMR) in Formula Drift. We started with an FC3S RX-7 that I built from the ground up with my dad in his driveway, and now we have our team, a title sponsor, and our first top ten finish in the Formula Drift Championship!
It’s been a very fun year for us! We achieved our best championship result in Formula Drift and won the Team Drift competition at the Long Beach Grand Prix, but we’ve also had a lot of setbacks. Read more...
The first time I met Matt Crooke
, co-owner of Fifteen52
, was on a cold night in Upland, California. We were at a locally-famous restaurant called The Hat
, which is known for their great pastrami sandwiches. However, I wasn't there for the beef. I was there for the weekly gathering of Volkswagens that come out in droves just to hang out and chit-chat about the trials and tribulations of owning and modding a Volkswagen. We quickly got acquainted and I soon found out what Fifteen52 really meant. Read more...
A while back, I attended the world’s biggest one-day charity car show, Cruisin' For A Cure
, in Costa Mesa, CA. It was a great way to get the word out on the prevention of Prostate Cancer. While mandatory digital rectal exams (finger up-the-butt
in layman’s terms for those who may have been thinking there was an app for that) were not part of the admission, the chance to view hundreds of classic, customized vehicles were. This was my first time attending this show and I’ve got to say, it was THE largest car show I’ve attended. Many cars caught my attention and, as I was leaving, I spotted this 1937 Ford Truck
owned by Tom and Linda Chorbagian. So I hurriedly grabbed my strobes in the trunk and took a few shots during the festivities.
Its rat-rod look reminded me of a Japanese aesthetic called Wabi-Sabi
(no, not the green stuff complementing your sushi). Essentially, from an artistic point-of-view, wabi-sabi is defined as “flawed beauty.” It refers to beauty as a result of age, wear and tear and any anomalies which add uniqueness. It's a growing trend in rat-rodding and it seeks beauty in the simple and imperfect. Tom's truck is a good example of the embodiment of this principle and has that perfect combination of burned paint, rust, and look acquired from age and weather--it's hardly an eyesore. Read more...
Seeing the MasterMind Odyvia for the first time at our MotorMavens Mass Appeal Show
in Irwindale, CA
was a mind-blowing experience. Hearing the car start up for the first time left my ears ringing for hours. However, rather than just telling tell you why I fell in love with this car, I thought I should tell you how this car came to life instead. Please fasten your seat belts, this ride is about to get CRAZY.
You're probably asking yourself, what is an Odyvia? In case you didn't know, it's when you combine Honda Odyssey headlights with a 1991 Nissan 240SX (S13 Silvia) body. Hence, the name ODYVIA...I find it rather fitting for the car - the name sounds like it was plucked from an epic poem like The Iliad.
The reason I felt so passionate about this particular car wasn't the one-off Spirit Rei Japan
widebody kit, custom fabrication, custom interior, nor the Z06 LS7
motor swap. It was because it took incredible persistence and attention to detail
to accomplish - this project was riddled with issues that would make an average mechanic lose his mind. Read more...
When I first met Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis
, it was at a local grassroots event. From the first time I met him until now, I’d say he’s still one of the most down-to-earth guys you’ll ever meet. However, that’s hardly the description I’d give him when he’s on the track. On the track, I'd say Odi is a menace. With only two years of drifting experience, Odi entered professional competition in 2011 and earned his professional license in 2010 through the Top Drift Pro Am
and Vegas Drift Pro Am
series. Read more...
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…)
It's hard to believe that the 2011 Formula Drift Championship
season has already concluded for the year - the series went from start to finish in just six months! Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and the Drift Stream, everyone already knows that Discount Tire
V8 S13 driver Daijiro Yoshihara
was "Triple Crowned
" as the 2011 Formula D Series Champion
, marking the first time that a Japanese driver won a Formula D series championship. Even more relevant is the fact that this win marks the first time the popular Nissan S13 chassis has been used to win a Formula D championship season
! S13 owners should rejoice - the iconic ichi-san
is apparently still competitive against the newer technology drift cars.
For the season finale at Irwindale Speedway
, Northern California based Tyler McQuarrie
beat the competition to win First Place at the event in his Falken Tire V8 350Z, standing atop the podium with Rhys Millen
(Second Place) and Chris Forsberg
(Third place). Read more...
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…)
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
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...
When it comes to automotive lifestyle, some people prefer hitting racetrack events, and some people prefer going to car shows. While the members of the MotorMavens crew definitely love going to the racetrack, we also realize that it's important to go to all kinds of indoor and outdoor car shows to promote our website to people that may not have seen it before.
When we were contacted by the organizers of the Spocom Tour
to work with them as a promotional partner, we were definitely excited by the opportunities it would bring! Although the Southern California-based members of our MotorMavens Crew gained a little experience in throwing and promoting a big outdoor automotive event (Mass Appeal
at Ken Block's Irwindale Gymkhana event), we had little to no experience in seeing what it's like to run a big indoor car show. We thought it would be extremely interesting to see the inner workings of a big car show series from people who had a track record of doing it, and so began the relationship between MotorMavens and Spocom.
The first thing we noticed about the Spocom Tour - it didn't feel like a normal car show from our standpoint! It felt like a big, fun party - a hype party that just happened to have a bunch of friends and cars crowded in between the vendor exhibits! Read more...
Took a brief look at my files and thought I'd contribute to 8-6 day! Above is a shot I did for 9K Racing back in February. Read more...
While my colleagues were in the Pacific Northwest
shooting Formula D
, I decided to take a road trip to Monterey, CA
to shoot the world famous MotoGP
For those unfamiliar with MotoGP, it is the two-wheel equivalent of Formula One
. It is an 18-race series visiting 14 countries (with only two stops in the U.S.). Now in its 63rd
year, it is the oldest motorsports championship in the world. The world’s best riders pilot machinery that have been crafted with the keenest of cutting-edge technology - technology which has largely benefited from the R&D budgets of four manufacturers: Yamaha, Ducati, Honda,
For the purposes of competing in MotoGP's premier class, the manufacturers are held within these general parameters: the engines must be 800 cc, four-stroke engines and the motorcycles competing must be prototypes. As you might imagine, first-rate drivers plus high-end, super machines equate to one HELL of a ride! Read more...
Once called "the poor man’s BMW” by Autoweek’s G.D. Levy, the Datsun 510
is a well-engineered and affordable car that has remained popular among automotive enthusiasts for many years. Avid collectors of this car can be found around the world and one in particular is John Paul “JP” Dagsaan
from the San Francisco Bay area.
I first met JP at the Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS)
two years ago in Irvine. I expressed an interest in shooting the car; however, due to the fact that JP was planning on driving back to the Bay area that same night, we were unable to set anything up. Fast forward two years to the present and you all are witnesses that I sneaked away from my family reunion in the Bay to shoot the car - and, if you're reading this, Hi Mom
! How's that for dedication? Read more...
The term retrofit
is defined as the replacing of existing parts, equipment, or systems with updated parts or systems. This 1974 Mazda RX4
is a perfect example of the concept.
My first glimpse of this ride didn't come at a car show, as is usually the case. No, I actually saw a picture of this car on Facebook - a picture that my friend, June Masermsin
, took at Wekfest
in Long Beach. So, I guess a case could be made that a car show was
technically where I saw the car - in a third party, social media-inspired and facilitated manner.
Technicalities aside, I immediately expressed an interest in shooting the ride and, the following week, I received a random text from a buddy of mine (who happens to be a childhood friend of the owner) informing me that the car was available for shooting the same day! How's that for serendipity? And, since I started by defining retrofit, wouldn't it be nice if I kept the trend going by linking you to a definition of serendipity? However, there was one caveat—I had exactly one hour
to shoot the car. So, what was an enterprising photographer to do? Take a look! Read more...