Formula Drift Orlando
June 4-5, 2015: Our first Formula Drift Pro 2 event had me driving from Vancouver, BC to Orlando, FL. About as far a spossible diagonally across the country and 52hrs each way! This was a great way to break into the series and we wanted to make an impact in our first event ever as a rookie.
With over 35 drivers from across the globe I was a little stressed knowing that more than half the drivers would be eliminated after qualifying alone and sent packing. I never did let this cross my mind and I knew we would be okay as long as the Independent Speed Shop 240sx continued proving to be a reliable and well sorted vehicle.. and that it was!
After Thursday’s practice was completed, we felt we finally had a setup in the car just in time for qualifying. We ended up constantly pulling grip out of the chassis with the help of Ian Stewart from Autosport Dynamics and had a good balance in the car heading into Thursday night’s qualifying.
Our first lap of qualifying came together just as planned, a solid run scoring us 72 points and well within the top 3 after everyone had their first lap. This in itself was a victory as we knew we had basically guaranteed ourself a spot in the main event on Friday and I knew the pressure was now off, definitely an awesome feeling after travelling so far to compete in our first FD event.
Bring on our second qualifying lap. We bumped that score up to a 76 after another solid lap around Orlando Speed World and ending up 6th overall out of over 35 talented FD Pro 2 drivers.
The competition came on Friday night and it brought some heavy thunderstorms completely flooding out the track.
Unfortunately, qualifying 6th puts us against the 11th place driver and the very last battle to compete in the top 16. This would prove to be some difficult timing as we were to lead first but the track had partially dried. The bank was nearly fully dry, a bit of smoke coming of the tires and leading into a flat infield which was fully flooded. With no practice laps to feel or at least see where the water was I was sent barreling around the bank and into the water.
I sort of half spun if you will, the lazy spin that you know you aren’t going to be able to maintain enough speed yet not go fully around, it was the longest couple of seconds all weekend and I simply waited for the traction to come back before I could clutch kick it back into transition and continue through the course. I didn’t lose drift but my loss of speed and forward momentum caused my competitor Andrew Gray from Japan to spin behind me, completely my fault even though I maintained drift!
We learned a ton and ended up with a solid 12th place finish overall in our first ever FD event, scoring us valuable points and teaching us soo much all in the process. Looking forward to continuing our progression come Seattle in July!