The 2018 Formula Drift season kicks off this weekend on the streets of Long Beach but yesterday the media got an early preview of what we can expect.
Things kicked off with a quick keynote by Formula Drift Co-CEO Jim Liaw.
Liaw spoke about the recently announced 3-year contract (the first in series history) with the rescued Irwindale Speedway. He also announced that there would be a new AEM-sponsored half-time show staring the cast of the Maximum Driftcast podcast show.
From there, Formula Drift drivers Matt Field, Fredric Aasbo, and defending champ James Deane joined on stage for a quick Q&A session.
I asked James as defending champ, who he felt his biggest competition would be going into the 2018 season. The young driver gave a diplomatic yet factual response essentially stating that “everyone is a threat”.
Fredric Aasbo revealed that his new Toyota Corolla drift car would put together just barely in-time for its debut at the New York Auto Show last week. Though, seeing that the new car is mechanically largely similar to his Scion iA from last year, there weren’t many follow up questions on his new ride.
Then there was Matt Field who debuted his new Corvette competition car. If you aren’t aware, Matt built his Corvette in just about 6 months and has documented nearly the entire process on Donut Media’s YouTube channel.
Field addressed why he decided to move from his trusty S14 to the Corvette and while there were many factors at play it seems his man reasons revolved around having a new challenge, a greater potential with the chassis, and just an overall “cool factor” that comes with drifting a Corvette.
Matt also revealed that he consulted with 2012 Formula Drift champion Daigo Saito on his build as Saito has just completed a pretty wild drift Corvette of his own. He didn’t specifically reveal what tips Saito shared with him but both Aasbo and Deane visibly perked-up when Field dropped that bit of information.
During the drift ride-a-longs Field’s car did look fairly dialed in so I would consider him a definite threat for the podium going into this weekend and I expect big things from him this season.
On the Indy Car side of things, 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato made an appearance as well as taking VIPs for rides in special two-seater Indy Cars.
Former Trans-Am & NASCAR Tomy Drissi brought a beautiful vintage 1970 Chaparral Camaro to give rides and give a preview of the new Trans-Am vintage race coming to the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach race weekend this year.
The event was a great primer on things to come and I have to admit I am pretty excited for the 2018 motorsports season. For more pics from the media day, check out our gallery below.
Toyota Grand Prix/Formula Drift Media Day gallery: