Night Import: Photography and Words by William Lee
It's been my 3rd year now going to Formula Drift and I couldn't be any happier continuing that streak! The sound of roaring engines, smell of burning tires, and seeing smoke from every angle is what makes Formula Drift so dam fun! Personally, this is an event I always look forward to attending because along with drifting, there is a car show hosted by Fatlace right next to the track. After watching the professional drifters ripping it up, another source of entertainment is there. If you haven't been to any of the Formula Drift rounds, then let me tell you right now; go to their website, purchase a ticket, and GO! If the event isn't hosted where you live, then reserve a plane ticket to attend one that's near you because it will be worth it.
There was far more than expected in this year's Formula Drift at Long Beach. Cars were even more powerful, some drifters changed to different chassis, and new drifters participated such as the professional drifter in Japan, Daigo Saito, which I'll talk more about later on. With all these excitements being known months before the actual event, I was really looking forward to go on the track and see the action up-close. Unfortunately, what I dearly wanted didn't happen. Every year, all the staffs and I got accepted as Media, meaning a full track access and entering other sections of the event; however, there were new regulations that needed to be met for this year's event and my blog didn't satisfy or meet the requirements. I felt horrible for all our contributing photographers because they did apply as well but got denied. The fault is definitely on me because I've been MIA for quite a long time and as a result, the number of visitors for my blog did slightly diminish. Now, knowing that we got declined, I was expecting to see some high-end photographers at Formula D yesterday who worked for, of course, blogs/sites with good stats. Long story short, I was very x100 disappointed. I don't need to see a coverage to judge because by knowing few of the guys out there on the track, I knew my blog had better stats and other things that did make NI better. I'm not being cocky right now but saying the truth. O well~ I guess I just need to accept it and move on. Once again, sorry to all NI contributors and especially, my apology to all NI fans for not being able to get track access and get drifting shots. (ㅜㅜ)
With that being said, all you'll see in my coverage throughout this week will be the pit/vendor area and car show section. You won't be disappointed, so make sure to re-visit my blog after you read through Part 1 today :)
The event started at 10am, but because of having to work on Saturday's, I arrived at around 12:15pm~ish. It really sucks to come late to such a popular event because finding a parking space is a bitch. I had to park where the mall area was and walked for about 10 minutes. On the way, I spotted the drifters practicing before the top 16 round. You can see Ken Gushi's Scion FR-S in the front and last year's FD champion Daijiro Yoshihara's Rocket Bunny S13.
There's Fredric Aasbo getting ready.
YEEE!!! Finally at the entrance. Before I start covering the pit/vendor area, I want to thank NOS for their hospitality. I was in a tough situation after getting declined for Media, so I contacted my friend Brian from NOS and he hooked it up! Thanks again to Tah for greeting me at the entrance when he was really busy doing his own thing. LOVE YA GUYS! (No homo). Btw, if you haven't checked out NOS's facility, check out this article I wrote last year. Linky~
NOS's booth was right in front of the entrance. It's always awesome how they have several computer stations to play games and stuff.
Does this Lamborghini look familiar? It should, because it's the one brought out by Savini Wheels at almost every major event. Both companies decided to collaborate, so as you can see, it was wrapped up.
Ah! The stunning Evo X, aka project 311RS. The fame on this beauty was enormous!
Hahahaha~ Spotted my boys Luigi and Jose walking around. I wasn't going to post this, but thought it was funny and I know Luigi will understand because he's a homie.
Father and son enjoying the BEAMS powered AE86 by Motegi Racing.
APR Performance grabbing attention. I actually won something from this company few months ago and decided to raffle it out to one NI fan, but totally forgot about it! The contest will be up on the fanpage pretty soon.
Ou! Look who I spotted. Ken Gushi taking a picture with a fan. I also see GReddy USA's president Mr. Kenji Sumino at the back.
Ken Gushi did a great job yesterday placing 9th overall. I was surprised to see how well he drove his new car, the Scion FR-S.
Here is his new beauty, sponsored by GReddy and many other companies.
I heard he slighly hit the wall, which is why you can see a drift mark on the lower right side of the bumper.
Scion Racing talking with Tony from Adams Motorsports.
Loved the catchy color combo on this S13.
Joon Maeng talking with his fans. This guy is so freakin nice. I like him even more because he's a Korean :)
Wondered whose IS F this was.
Mike Essa's powerful Z4 being worked on. Heard he did an amazing job during the qualifying rounds.
Porsche 911 from GSR. A nice drop with sexy wheels completes the look.
Lol~ Check out that Shark in Jhonnattan Castro's 350Z.
A new look on Luke Lonberger's Corvette.
Taka Aono and a fan taking a thumbs up shot.
One fan focusing on Taka Aono's AE86.
I really wanted to take a closer look into Toshiki Yoshioka's S15. It was a surprise to many drifting fans to see D1GP star Toshiki Yoshioka back with the infamous RS*R. He took 15th place along with Odi Bakchis.
Don't you just love checking out engines on Formula D cars?
Patrick Mordaunt with a huge smile.
At the back was Robbie Nishida talking with the guys at Yokohama Tires.
Boso Garage;'s S15 always reappears with a sexy look and this time, it was more of a "WHOA" type of graphics.
Those new 2 pc Work Meisters making the car look even slicker and sexier.
Looks familiar right? This was Ken Gushi's previous Scion tC, now driven by a returning pro drifter Tony Angelo.
It really sucked how I couldn't take a full shot of Daigo Saito's SC. BUT!!! I did take an engine bay shot, which is a 3.4 liter Brian Crower stroker 2JZ-GTE. I'm sure you already heard about this, but it makes nearly 1200hp. (o_o)
Amazing.. not so common to see a drift car making that much horsepower.
One of the techs from Achilles working on the car.
AH! There's Daigo!!!
Very serious conversation going on...
And there's Robbie Nishida joining the conversation.
What's really funny is how people were talking crap about Achilles tires back in the days when it wasn't popular. The prices on 18 in. tires were DIRT CHEAP and I know it as a fact because I ran on Achilles tires like mad, stretching them on my 9s and 10s. Well after this year's Formula D, I'm speculating the prices on Achilles tires will jump and the company's name will become very popular. It doesn't matter if Daigo places into the top 5 or 10. Just the fact that he is in the US competing with the competitors in Formula D is good enough.
PAS magazine featured Benz.
I saw a feature on this FD few months ago and if I'm not mistaken, it belongs to Justin Pawlak.
The all new Scion FR-S will be on sale during Spring! Yeap! It's almost here! The base price will be $24,930, not so bad being a RWD and in the Scion line. I love everything about this car!!!! but won't get it because I want to complete my tC (^_^)v
Peek-a-boo~! Guess the car.
I couldn't take a full shot of this beauty because of so many people walking back and forth, but here is the RWB Porsche 911 named Hoonigan, which is the title of an organization.
I saw Danh from More Japan / SSR Wheels at the entrance, but didn't get to seem afterwards. I did drop by their booth though to take a shot of the all new SSR Professor MS3. It does look similar to a few wheels that I know of, but there are slight differences here and there. I like it!
I regret not having any cash, because if I did, I would've bought at least 3 magazines from this pile.
Tjin edition Camaro sitting hard.
Rotora's GT-R R35 was looking gorgeous! I did take a good look at it at SEMA last year.
350Z from Team Hybrid was parked at a perfect spot. I hope people didn't bump into it because the main traffic source was in that area.
GReddy brought out their GT-R R35. I actually took this shot while I was leaving, so no info on the specs.
Bisimoto's unique widebody 911 was an eye catcher.
WOW! Didn't expect to see a McLaren MP4-12C. You can already tell it has the combination of a slick but powerful look.
It's basically made out of CF composites and powered by a 3.8L V8, twin turbo engine. I can go on and on about this beauty, but check out some articles by eGarage and StanceWorks because I do remember seeing an article about McLaren few weeks ago.
Far away was this beautiful E92.
So after taking a quick glimpse at the vendor/pit area, I walked across a bridge where the car show was taking place, along with a few VIP access areas. O yea! Before I go on, my apology to 9K Racing for not dropping by and checking out their booth. I was eating a candy and the fucking wrap wouldn't come off while Felicia was calling me out. Didn't want it to be an awkward moment, so I walked away and when I said to myself to head back after eating that stupid candy....I forgot.. :/
Anyways, at the right side of the show area were cars by Scion. This is the first Scion FR-S Roadster in the US. Like? Dislike?
1st place winner of Scion Tuner Challenge back in 2010.
Of course, the Scion FR-S in stock form.
I'll just leave it to this for today and write up Part 2 tomorrow. Have a great Monday! because I ain't!