Event>>fd Atlanta: Day One

Ok, I'm back home in SoCal now getting myself re-adjusted to the old Pacific Time Zone. This means it's time to jump into our coverage from Formula Drift Round Two at Road Atlanta.

Keeping things in chronological order, I'll start with a selection of images from Friday's practice and qualifying sessions.

First up, a few photos from the Pro-Am competition held at the track on Friday. This 2JZ-powered MX73 Cressida was one of the more interesting cars there. Check that rear camber.

Another one for the Cressida fans. This MX-83 was actually sporting Lexus 1UZ V8-power. I was meaning to go take a closer look at the car in the paddock, but never got a chance. Damn.

Roland G's S13 looking like a boss in the pits.

Mad Mike's tow rig is a phenomenon. I think it was actually getting more looks than his drift car.

In one corner of the paddock Dodge had set up a small course where people could get rides with a pro-driver in a box-stock Challenger SRT8. Seemed like people were enjoying it, and the big Challengers actually looked pretty decent on the tiny course.

Atlanta was the debut event for the new Hankook GT-R driven by Robbie Nishida. Everyone was pretty excited to see how this VQ35-powered machine would do on the track.

The crowds at every FD event are pretty crazy, but the Atlanta people always seem to kick it up an extra notch. Here Ryuji Miki signs a t-shirt for a fan.

Friday afternoon comes and it's time to begin practice and qualifying as the convoy of race cars and support vehicles make their way up the hill to the grid. Atlanta is also the once place on the schedule where a golf cart is pretty much a necessity.

Conrad Grunewald smokes them up coming out of the horse shoe. I can't say enough how much I like this car. It's decently low, sounds mean, and runs hard.

Darren McNamara always seems to do well in Hotlanta. Most of the people I talked to had him as a favorite to win the event. He'll be along later with his own driver blog.

As will Pat Mordaunt – another driver who's done well in Atlanta.

The Honda Element, certainly one of the most unique vehicles ever to compete in a Formula Drift event.

Another car hitting the track for the first time in 2010 over the weekend was Eric O'Sullivan's Subaru Impreza.

Oh hey, it's Matt Powers drifting through of a cloud of red Road Atlanta dirt.

More dirt dropping, this time from Tyler McQuarrie.

Ryuji Miki burns his Hankooks into nothing as he heads downhill off the horse shoe. Miki's entries were some the craziest I saw over the weekend.

Brian Wilkerson in the BMI four-rotor RX8 during practice. Soon after this picture was taken, the car developed mechanical problems and had to retire. Hopefully things will be straightened out for New Jersey, as this car is pretty ridiculous to watch (and hear).

The Tanaka Racing Corvette was out of commission for this event, so Alex Pfeiffer brought out his personal SC300 to run in Atlanta.

I know Sam Hubinette's Dodge might not be the most popular car out there, but I do think it has a certain essence to it. The exhaust note, the gobs of smoke, and squatting rear end make this thing pretty entertaining to watch.

Ok, I'll be back to soon with a look at the Top 32 competition from Atlanta.

-Mike Garrett



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IMO, Conrad Grunewald has arguably one of the best looking cars in Formula D right now. I wish I had made it out to see it in person. Looking forward to day 2 coverage!


That BMI 4-rotor is amazing. Just hearing that thing tear down the stretch into turn 10 is nuts.


The cressidas are so HOT!


If u could give us some more info like who's in top 32 etc, not just stack of awesome shots please:>


Don't you mean VQ37 on the Hankook R35 caption?


@Peter De La Cruz

No i think its the VQ35, les complicated without the VVL.


I see Miles' car (UZ Cressida) so I am expecting more/better pics!


I don't know how Grunewald can see out of that Camaro. I drove one last week and it's like you're sitting in a bunker!


@ Keith

It's 1000 times better looking then his Corvette was.


Great day, great streamed feed from Yoparts, great pix. FD 2010 is doing WAAAAY better than 2009!


Are we getting a more in depth look into Robbie's GTR?


was upset at Not getting to see Brian Wilkerson run. But the car was still interesting to see in the pits, I love the simplicity of the NA 4 rotor. Didnt even have power steering. excellent event overall.


the elemet was a trip...the 1uz cressida combines two of my favorite cars the lexus SC and the cressida...


Sam's offroad excursion left me with dirt in my eyes, ears, and nostrils for hours. Harsh.


What? Why isn't Nishida using the VR38? I guess it's up to Nomuken to REALLY use an R35.


Get that Element the F out of here. Seeing something out on track like that makes the whole series look like a giant joke.


I always assumed Nishida was running a regular old GT-R, VR38 included... it's a curious decision and leaves me wondering why, if he chose to run a VQ35, didn't he just choose a G35? Or maybe a G37 for fresher looks... i guess if money is no object... either way, the VQ35 is definitely in my top 10 for favourite engine notes! (notable alumni include the VR6, NA Porsche flat-6's and the 26B)


great stuff so far Mike! can't wait for the rest


Peter De La Cruz, they swapped in the VQ35 from last years 350Z; but the mechanic didn't say why when I asked.


sams car looks better with the red front. but it needs the wheels and ride height of the nuformz challenger


@blueslug robbie didnt have a choice in the matter. the car was chosen by hankook/dynamic autosport and built by the same. robbie didt get to have a say in it at all


Corey I don't really see how having a unique vehicle on the track makes the series look like a joke. If anything its good for the series to have variety, and the fact that its as ridiculous of a vehicle as it is will just attract more attention.

Would you rather just see 40 S Chassis Nissans and AE86's out on track? The huge vehicle variety is what makes FD interesting.



GTFO, had you been at Road Atlanta you would have seen it and been shocked at what it could do. Don't shit on progress. If I'm not mistaken it was a Honda R&D build, turbo TL motor.


@ Blue Slug

Reasons given were, VQ35 was already proven with easy mods/parts, and the original engine would take them another year before it was race ready. Plus, chassis work was done and engine was ony thing holding the project up.

His qualifying run was S.I.C.K.


fantastic intro.. Whoa.. love the 'Grunewald' shot.. wish i could here the noise of the tyres and engine.. keep it coming..


Camaro is a nice car, but not a nice drift car... and that boat called a "Dodge" is just damn ugly...

Love that BMI 4-rotor though :D


we need a feature on MADMIKES truck..!!!


+1 for a results page


i would love to see some video's of the honda element drifting


It did kind of surprise me to see the element so NOPI i thought that car dispeared and dropped off the face of the earth.


I was at this show at Road Atlanta. It was really BEAST!!! I was sitting at the end of the "horse shoe" part of the track where all the action was. I was only about 10 feet away from the cars when they were drifting. :))


It's interesting that Hankook chose to run a VQ, but seeing as it's an older engine i imagine that it's easier to work on and get parts for, rather than the newer VR.

As for all of the element haters... Fine then, you go out an drift a honda element. If i was an FD judge, i would be impressed at the skill and balls it takes to get that car sideways. Just saying.


Miles and his 1U Cressida are going to be a bigger sensation as time goes on.. I'd recommend keeping an eye on them.


Sam's Challenger looks ugly :( Viper was much better!