Atlanta is a favorite track for many of the drivers in Formula Drift and for fans alike. This is mostly because of a long downhill straight that leads into a drift-purpose built “horseshoe” turn. This layout lends itself to some very high speed qualifying runs and tight tandem battles. However things got a little too tight when Vaughn Gittin Jr. went up against Fredric Aasbo.
Just as the first run was to begin with Fredric leading, Vaughn Gittin Jr. managed to literally run over the front end of Aasbo Scion. The amazing part is both drivers managed to keep drifting! Although Aasbo’s Scion was damaged so he limped through his second run giving Gittin the win. We have a feeling this incident will be talked about for a long time.
When the action continued it was Daigo Saito who took on all challengers to get the victory. Darren McNamara took second place and Vaughn Gittin Jr taking third. Gittin’s podium puts him on top of the points standings, thanks in part to Dai Yoshihara’s early exit in the top 32 battles.
Next up on the schedule is round 3 in Palm Beach, FL. If round 2 was any indication of things to come, the next round is going to be epic!
Last weekend as I fought for the best shots I could get at Formula Drift Long Beach I was at one point startled by a loud buzzing sound which seemed to come from overhead. I looked up and I saw what I could only describe as a giant hovering robo-spider in the sky above me. Then, to my surprise it followed the sliding cars below, hovering just 10 to 20 feet above them as they sped by.
It was startling and awesome all at the same time. I continued to watch the machine work until it eventually swiftly returned back to the photo pit area and landed safely, waiting for the next run so it could take to the skies once again. This thing was awesome. It looked evil, sounded alien in nature, but had complete precision in its task. Upon further inspection I could see that the drone was made almost completely from carbon fiber, even down to the props on each of the 8 electric copter engines. The drone also utilized a Canon 5D Mark III housed in a cradle underneath.
I was so fascinated by it that I decided to find the “pilot” or “pilots” if you will to learn what they were up to. Turns out the drone was owned and operated by Kyle Dorosz of Aerial Imagery Works based in Detroit, MI. Kyle was hired by Formula Drift to get aerial shots of drift battles to use for their television show. Kyle told me that he occasionally gets hired by parties such as this to film sporting events and the like.
The particular drone that Kyle was using at Formula Drift actually requires a two man team. Kyle himself pilots the drone while his associate uses a separate remote to control servos attached to the camera cradle to pan and tilt making sure the action is kept in frame. The camera man is able to do this via a VR style headset which wirelessly picks up the video feed from the 5D.
In addition to filming for clients Kyle also builds the drones himself and makes them available for sale. The drone on hand at Formula Drift has a price tag of $35,000. Which sounds astronomical but the Canon 5D Mark III, video headset, two remotes, charger, and pilot training are all included in the price. There are also smaller, lighter less expensive models available that utilize smaller cameras (GoPro, etc.).
You would think his most common clients are from the Hollywood set but according to Kyle his most common customers are law enforcement agencies. They use the drones for tactical purposes, such as surveying an area before sending in a S.W.A.T. team.
Kyle says the ceiling is technically 10,000 feet but due to FAA regulations, he usually has to keep the ceiling down to 400ft or so. The battery will last about 10 minutes per flight before needing to be charged again. The drone also has several safety features. It can stay airborne even if three out of 8 engines fail and if the battery gets too low to sustain flight an on board computer takes over and uses an auto pilot paired with GPS to send the drone back to the exact point of its last take off.
Maybe we need to invest in one of these drones for MotorworldHype. It would sure beat getting pelted with tire bits while choking on smoke!
If you want to see the drone in action check out the short video piece I did below.
When Formula Drift comes to Long Beach, its a pretty big deal. It is the first round of the season, it marks the debut of new teams, sponsors, drivers, and it also sets the tone for the rest of the season. Its also right in my backyard (kind of) so I always try to do my due diligence when it comes to covering this event for you all.
With the silly season over, new cars revealed, and the track ready the talk of the weekend was Justin “JTP” Pawlak. He was one of the few drivers to remain in (basically) the same car as last year and he has also won Long Beach the last two years in a row. Falken Tire was already anticipating their driver turning the weekend into a three-peat. However hopes of that were nearly dashed when JTP made an uncharacteristic mistake in Friday qualifying and had a bad shunt into the tires and wall at the beginning of Long Beach’s infamous sweeper.
The impact nearly destroyed the front end of JTP’s Falken Tire Ford Mustang but luckily his team was able to get the car back together in time to make another qualifying run. Despite the damage JTP managed to qualify 23rd and get into the big show. Unfortunately the show ended for JTP when his Drift Alliance brother Ryan Tuerck managed to take him down in the Top 16 which blew the competition wide open. With JTP out it was anyone’s game. Except for Tuerck who like JTP was taken out by a Drift Alliance member, this time Chris Forsberg. Forsberg fell to the same fate when Vaughn Gittin Jr. took him down in the Final 4. This sent 2011 champion Vaughn to the final to face none other than his main rival of that year Dai Yoshihara.
Unlike JTP, Dai was having a great weekend. He remained in a familiar car and due to his confidence in his machine and his team giving him a great set up Dai managed to qualify first. After that there was no stopping him as he took down Tyler McQuarrie, Matt Powers, Fredric Aasbo, and finally Chelsea DeNofa to make it to the finals.
After a heated battle Dai Yoshihara bested Vaughn Gittin Jr. to win the round and complete a perfect weekend (1st qualifier, and the win). During the podium ceremony Dai said that with his momentum he will “definitely go for the championship”. Watch out guys, Dai has officially begun his mission.
If you want to check out our photo galleries just click the red links below.
If you like drifting at all and have no idea what to do this weekend then you are a magnificent moron! The 2013 Formula Drift season starts tomorrow you idiot! Where the hell have you been? Did you not see the banner at the top of this website for the last two months!?
Whew, ok, ok I am going to cut you some slack. In case I did not make it incredibly clear a second ago, Formula Drift round 1 is going down this weekend (tomorrow and Saturday) on the streets of Long Beach. Most tickets might be sold out by now but there may be a few hundred seats left and city officials have allowed Formula Drift to sell some overflow general admission tickets. Technically, those tickets are “standing room only” but Formula Drift will allow folding lawn chairs.
So hurry up and get your tickets! Here is all the info:
Yesterday, he good folks from the Long Beach Grand Prix Association and Formula Drift were kind enough to invite me out to their official media day for the Toyota Pro Celebrity race and Formula Drift Round 1. Just the chance to see the new Scion FR-S Pro-Celebrity race cars was worth getting out of bed early and sitting in 710 south traffic.
The whole day was all about getting to know this year’s participants in the Toyota Pro Celebrity Race as well as getting an early peek at some of the new drift cars for the 2013 Formula Drift season. There was tons of on-track action on both sides as well as ride-a-longs. I have a few shots below but for the full gallery check out our facebook page.
After spending the morning at Cars & Coffee in Irvine I took a short drive down the ol’ 405 to the Source Interlink HQ to visit the Formula Drift Tech Day/Source Interlink car meet. I will be honest, I was not expecting much as last year’s event was pretty small but thanks to a lot of hard work by some Source Interlink staffers the event had more than double the turn out of last year. In fact the building’s parking lot quickly filled up with a steady flow of new cars coming into the meet as others left.
The car meet was a huge success and provided a big audience for the tech inspection of many anticipated 2013 Formula Drift competitors such as Dave Briggs in his anti-lag turbo’d S14, Taka Aono with his new livery, and Mike Essa’s new E46 M3.
I feel sorry for anyone who missed out, but then again you can always catch all the drift cars you missed at Formula Drift Long Beach later this month. For now check out a few pics below or visit our Facebook page for the full gallery.
Do you live in the So. Cal area? Are you a drifting fan? Do you need something to do this Saturday? Tired of me asking you all these questions? Ok, well then I’ll get to the point. The annual pre-season Formula Drift “Tech Day” is this Saturday (3-30-13) in Irvine, CA. This is your chance to see more than a few Formula Drift cars up close before they make their competition debut in Long Beach next month.
In addition to checking out the 2013 competition cars there will also be a car meet with editors from Super Street, Import Tuner, and Modified magazine scouting for feature cars. If you get hungry there will be a slew of trendy food trucks on hand, and if you are looking to score some gear there will also be giveaways and contests! I’ll be there and I might have a few goodies with me to give away as well. If you see someone wearing a shirt that says “Super HYPE Me” then feel free to say hi and there just might be something in it for you!
One of the biggest shake ups of the Formula Drift off-season was that Vaughn Gittin Jr. would be leaving Falken Tire (the only pro-team he had ever known prior) to join Forces with Nitto Tire for the 2013 Formula Drift season. The “why” and “what for” are kind of irrelevant at this point but the one thing that everyone clung onto in this news was what his new Falken-less livery would look like. Today we got our answer with a slew of pics from Vaughn and a press release detailing his new 2013 program.
The biggest news in the release is that now Vaughn is officially driving for himself! Yes, Mr. Gittin is running the show with Nitto acting as a major sponsor and tire backer rather than team owner and ASD acting as the official build and support team for Vaughn’s RTR Ford Mustang drift car. As you can see in the picture Monster Energy remains on board for 2013 as well.
To keep his sponsors visible Vaughn Gittin Jr. is taking on a monster (no pun inten-oh what the hell sure lets pun it up!) schedule which, beyond the full 2013 Formula Drift season, includes several events in China, and even drift demos on military bases! With all the traveling, competition, and Vaughn taking on both driver and team owner duties, 2013 is going to be a busy year!
For all the pics of the new livery click the thumbnails below. You can also see the new car in action in the official reveal video and check out Vaughn’s 2013 schedule and the detailed specs of the Monster Energy/Nitto Tire 2014 Ford Mustang RTR
BALTIMORE, Md. (March 26, 2013) – Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. is excited to announce the formation of the RTR Drift Team, their tentative 2013 worldwide schedule, and the reveal of his Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR livery. This year marks the beginning of a new era for Vaughn coming into his tenth season of professional drifting with the formation of the RTR Drift Team. He is focused on his duties as RTR Team owner and driver, and is also taking full advantage of the freedoms that come along with being a team owner – as portrayed by his unique new livery. Check out the official VIDEO revealing the Monster Energy Nitto Tire 2014 Ford Mustang RTR.
“I’m really pumped on this years’ livery and overall aesthetics surrounding our efforts,” says Vaughn. “For the first time in my career, I have been able to start from a clean slate and get a bit crazy with the look of my car that I will be using for battle. Being that the Mustang is my weapon of choice out there on the track, the base of the livery was inspired from old battle ships that were covered with ‘dazzle camo’. From there, we added my XX5 (#25) logo and flag elements, along with some of my favorite colors and a little rock n’ roll to get a livery that I feel really portrays me. I look forward to giving it some real battle scars!”
Vaughn will be piloting a brand new 2014 Ford Mustang RTR built by Autosport Dynamics and will make its first competition debut at Formula Drift Round 1 in Long Beach, California April 12-13. Having worked side by side with Vaughn since 2007, ASD will supply their valued support yet again for the 2013 season. Combining the superior knowledge and car building skills of the ASD crew, with the proven driving ability and aggressiveness behind the wheel of 2010 Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr., there is no doubt that the RTR Drift Team will be a serious force on the track. Check out the DETAILED SPECS of the Monster Energy Nitto Tire 2014 Ford Mustang RTR.
“I couldn’t be happier to continue working with the team at ASD,” says Vaughn. “We have had great success over the past 5 years together and the word ‘team’ as I know it has been redefined around our new focused effort. ”
While Vaughn’s number one priority is to chase down the Formula Drift Championship, he will also be taking his global efforts to the next level in 2013. Vaughn will once again head to China to compete in the World Drift Series, as well as participate in select competition and demonstration events in Europe. Just as years past, Vaughn will continue to perform at select demo and experiential events in the USA. Thanks to Monster Energy and Ford Motor Company, this year he will be heading to select military bases surrounding the Formula Drift Championship on Sundays after competition, to provide demos and ride-alongs for some of America’s finest men and women. See the 2013 TENTATIVE SCHEDULE.
“It is really crazy for me to look at my schedule for this year and realize all of the awesome that is about to go down all over the world behind the wheel of some badass Ford Mustangs,” adds Vaughn. “While I am pumped on all of the events we have chosen to participate in this year, I am especially excited about the opportunity to go visit some military bases and put smiles on the men and women’s faces that make me living my dream possible!”
Monster Energy/Nitto Tire 2014 Ford Mustang RTR Specs:
MONSTER ENERGY NITTO TIRE 2014 FORD MUSTANG RTR
Roush Yates Racing Engines/Ford Racing Aluminum V8 (845HP)
Weight – 2900 LBS
4 Speed Dog Box Transmission
MoTeC M84 Engine Management and Dash Display/Logger (CDL-3)
Is there anything more tranquil than a lush American forrest? It is often the setting where people find enlightenment and even achieve true inner peace. On the other hand, for Ryan Tuerck the forrest is the perfect place to go rip riot at break neck speed, sideways almost the whole time. In the new “Off Seasons Two” video he does just that! Scroll down to check it out.
Tyler McQuarrie is not just a Formula Drift driver, he is also the owner of his team. When you own a motorsport team you pretty much get to do whatever the heck you want. In this case Tyler decided he wanted to let his friend Indy Car driver (and fellow GoPro athelete) J.R. Hildebrand take a few laps in his snarling beast of a Camaro. How does J.R. do? Could this be a new career path for the young open wheel driver? Probably not. But the driver does know how to go sideways. You can watch it all for yourself in the video below. Fun fact: all the footage you will see was shot with GoPro HERO3′s