The Formula Drift season kicks off this weekend but select media were invited to downtown Long Beach yesterday to get an early look at what to expect this Friday and Saturday. The day started off with a presentation over breakfast with Formula Drift heads Ryan Sage and Jim Liaw. During the presentation Jim talked a bit about the future of the sport and how much its grown since its beginnings, specifically with its reach. Currently Formula Drift has the 2nd largest social media presence compared to all other motorsport series. Only NASCAR has a larger presence. Its crazy to think that in such a relatively short amount of time Formula Drift has managed to build a bigger social media audience than Formula One!
After the presentation there was a quick Q&A session with some of the drivers we’ll see in competition this year including Chris Forsberg, Ryan Tuerck, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Chelsea Denofa, Mike Essa, Charles Ng, Ken Gushi, Fredric Aasbo, and Jhonnattan Castro.
I was lucky enough to get a few questions in and my first was for Fredric Aasbo who had his newly debuted Corolla iM drift car on hand. I asked him what he thought were some of the major differences between his new car and his previous Scion tC drift car and surprisingly enough he feels that it is pretty similar for the most part. Though he did note a few differences such as the chassis feeling a little more responsive and having a better seating position.
Next I directed a question to Chris Forsberg on his new engine setup. He moved away from his tried and true Nissan V8 t0 a twin-turbo V6. When I asked why he decided to make the change his thoughts were that after 10 years experience with a V8 set up he felt that he took the engine as far as he could. With engines being so different now than they were 10 years ago he thought it would be a good idea to try something different, while at the same time making his 370Z closer to what someone would actually get if they bought one from the dealer. That is the kind of marketing-prowess that sponsors love. Forsberg has a lot of experience with engines of all shapes and sizes so I expect his new engine set up won’t phase him much this season.
After the breakfast and Q&A the media was set loose to take photos and even go on a few ride alongs with the drivers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a ride a long in a drift car but I did take plenty of pics, all of which you can see below in the gallery. Also make sure to follow our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for images and video that you may not find in the gallery. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @MotorworldHype and on Facebook at MotorworldHype as well.
Finally make sure you stay tuned to the site over the weekend as we’ll have lots of coverage and a livestream of the Formula Drift Long Beach season opener!
Formula Drift Long Beach Media Day gallery: