Formula Drift Texas

August 20-21, 2015: Formula Drift stops at Texas Motor Speedway. Both Pro1 and Pro2 saw a completely new track layout for Rd.6. Being our rookie season, basically every track is new for us so this new layout put everyone on a level playing field, I was happy for that.

After Thursday morning practice was complete, we had made a gear change and dampening change. We hit our Thursday setup relatively close after unloading out of the trailer which is something myself and the Independent Speed Shop boys were focusing on with our added experience from past FD events this season.

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Attacking our first qualifying run feeling confident on Thursday evening, I ended up scoring a very solid 81 point run on our first lap out. This put us in first place out of all drivers on their first run and held 1st until the very last run of qualifying where we were edged out by fellow competitor Alex Heilbrunn. Second place in a highly competitive field was a big accomplishment for us and continues our high qualifying scores for each round this season.

Come for a ride with me on that 81-point qualifying effort:

Roll-over to Friday evening now and we are ready to battle against the top16 qualifiers. After driver introductions were complete I headed back to our hot pit to have William Bowering and Ian Fournier go over a few things on the car and bolt on a new set of Enkei wheels wrapped in Achilles 123S tires.

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Our first battle would be against Formula Drift veteran Kenji Yamanaka who has a wealth of drifting experience across the globe. It was also neat to square up with Kenji as he runs the other GReddy Rocket Bunny car, a Nissan S15 with a Nascar based Dodge R9 engine running Nitrous.

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After qualifying we felt like we had the chassis in a good place however we failed to realize that we were running out of adjustments if the track began to change. All day Friday there was Pro1 practice and qualifying which in turn laid a whole bunch more rubber down on the track. To make things worse, our competition was in the evening when the temperatures were a fair bit cooler than what we had previously ran in. All of this created for a scenario with far more rubber and grip down on the track and ultimately a very tight race car that we didn’t have any more adjustment in to free up.

On my lead run with Kenji I made a big mistake dipping off track on entry into turn 1, it wasn’t due to nerves as I stay quite calm in the car but just one of those things of pushing a fraction too hard, it was the first time I had missed my mark on t1 all weekend and it was by a matter of inches. Kenji was at a big advantage now for his lead run and I knew I had to follow close if there was anything I could do about it.

 

Fortunately Kenji straightened in between t1 and t2 allowing us to go 1-more time. After I cleaned up a few things I was able to move on after the OMT and into the great 8 battles. Watch the above video from Winding Highway Studios for a little recap of this battle!

We met Faruk Kugay in our next battle and the tight car was being a handful to drive and unfortunately at that time we had nothing we could do about it. I put down a mediocre lead run but was able to pull away from Faruk. I did however completely miss the last outside zone which I knew was going to be a deduction, honestly I just couldn’t put the car where I wanted to without having to fight it, the car was so tight it felt like we needed another 150hp.

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During my follow run with Faruk I initiated for turn 1 right behind him and the car just snapped straight when I let off the ebrake. This botched the entry up and made me “re-initiate”, another big deduction. After that we were able to follow him half decently but he didn’t make any mistakes. He got the nod and moved on, well done Faruk!

 

We ended up with a 5th place result scoring valuable championship points and placing us 5th overall in the championship heading into the final event in Irwindale, California this October.

The Independent Speed Shop and Autosport Dynamics have been working together on making this car get to that next level and we will be testing between now and Irwindale. There is going to be some major changes in the rear of the car that should make this beast a bit more comfy to drive :-)

See everyone in Irwindale!

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