Event Reports

Formula Drift Round 1

April 9-10, 2010
Long Beach, CA

Report by John Chennavasin

Energy drinks were well-represented on the podium at the Formula Drift season opener at the Streets of Long Beach. Vaughn Gittin, Jr. drifted to victory over Rhys Millen to take an early lead in the Pro Championship Standings. Tanner Foust outdrove Formula Drift newcomer Fredric Aasbo for third place.

Formula Drift is now taking a stand against aggressive brake-checking. Each car has been equipped with brake lights mounted on the roof near the windshield banner. The judges could now confirm if the lead driver slammed on the brakes in order to make the chase driver fall off the racing line or spin out.

Legitimate braking would not be penalized. Here, we see both drivers braking as they drift into Turn 10.

There was some agrressive driving in the finals. Rhys Millen attempted to throw off Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the first tandem run. Millen went wide at the final hairpin and created an opening for Gittin to pass him. After the cars passed the finish line, Millen reacted to the contact during the pass by intentionally spinning Gittin. Millen spun during the second run to give Gittin the victory.

Drift Emporium's supercharged Infiniti G35s have taken the loudness title away from the American muscle car contingent. The supercharger on Forrest Wang's G35 overpowered the rumbling V8 from Justin Pawlak's new Mustang.

Kudos to the course worker at turn 10 for not flinching when the drivers got close to the wall. James Deane came particularly close with the wing on his Nissan S15 taking out a cone along the way during his tandem battle with teammate Darren McNamara.

The pony car wars has moved to drifting, with Conrad Grunewald's Chevrolet Camaro and Samuel Hubinette's Dodge Challenger making their Formula Drift debuts. However, the 18-inch and 19-inch wheels fitted to these cars gave both cars a particularly top-heavy appearance, with the Challenger getting the worst of it. These cars were noticeably larger than the Toyota Chaser and Nissan Skyline sedans to begin with. As seen below, Patrick Mordaunt's Nissan S14 was dwarfed by Conrad Grunewald's Camaro.


Rank Driver Team Car Points
1 Vaughn Gittin, Jr. Monster Energy/Falken Tire Ford Mustang 108
2 Rhys Millen RMR/Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe 100
3 Tanner Foust Rockstar Energy Scion tC 82
4 Fredric Aasbo Japan Auto/FSR Toyota Supra 72
5 Ryan Tuerck Mobil 1/Maxxis Tire/Gardella Racing Pontiac Solstice GXP 65
6 Samuel Hubinette SHR/Dodge/BF Goodrich Dodge Challenger 64
7 Patrick Mordaunt Brian Crower/PM Racing Nissan 350Z 62
8 James Deane Falken Tire Nissan S15 61.5
9 Darren McNamara Falken Tire Saturn Sky 60
T10 Chris Forsberg NOS Energy Drink/CFR Nissan 350Z 56
T10 Ryuji Miki APEXi/Hankook Tire Mazda RX-7 56
T10 Daijiro Yoshihara America's Tire/Falken Tire Nissan S13 56