Between Seattle and Vegas, I teamed up with V-LEDs to create a surprise new look with the RX8 for the EA Games crew. The red and blues are themed to coincide with “Hot Pursuit.” There was no better place to debut them than after sun set and long into the night at Las Vegas.
The heat and sun can make you a little delirious, it’s important to stay hydrated in the desert. I had also been up late the last few nights. Vegas was the test run, not only for the new lights, but for my new Megan Racing arms, thanks to Oppi out in Temecula, California, for getting the BADBUL up on his lift with such short notice and helped us get these arms in before he flew out to Vegas for FD. Another shout out to Louie the crazy Mexican for the wheel alignment which I still owe you for! And Dan for helping me get from A to Z (literally) while my truck was getting fixed!
In this pic, you can see the LEDs in the head light and only barely visible are the strips along the wing mirrors, I take my Redbull flat peak hat off to V-LEDs! Amazing, amazing job!
I see red.
Friday practice was feeling good. It took me a couple of laps to get used to the new set up and track layout. Prior to Vegas, I had only run stock arms but the Megan Racing arms allow me to dictate camber, caster and toe settings.
I decided to take the camber out of the rear, thus, planting more of the Falken tyre to the tarmac and cashing in on more of it’s potential.
This was Friday practice. I had the line dialed and I had come to terms with the new settings what was most noticeable was the increase in side bite allowing me to hold 90+ degree angles.
I decided to add the duck bill wing to the rear. It looked a little naked otherwise. Thank you Kyle Mohan and Mazdatrix for finding this for me. Quick stop in at Pep-boys for some spray cans to get it white and we were sorted!
This was my first qualifying pass down the shoot, tucking back in off the wall. You can see the cones to the left marking the clipping zone where you should aim to be on the wall the entire time. For this shot, Linhbergh is standing behind the concrete wall. It doesn’t look too bad from his perspective, but from behind the wheel, I was scaring myself lap after lap as I throw my car in harder and faster pushing the limit. There were a number of cars throughout the weekend who were sent into the tyre wall or who missed the tyres completely and went into the solid wall!
This was the wall in front of the judges, I came in fast and committed. You see the discarded rubber debris that had settled in their grave, along the wall edge, now flying, a tell tale sign of my close line to the wall.
If you’re on point for the 2nd outer clipping zone, coming off the wall is a nice natural line to the first of the 3 inside clipping points. I was so pumped as I knew I had a solid run up until now.
Carrying my speed through the section I was able to have a quick aggressive switch bringing it around to the 2nd inside clipping point.
I have just changed down to 3rd gear to swing around the clipping point
Then whack it back into 4th and power full throttle hittin the last clip and over the finish. I show my appreciation to all the media along the concrete wall. I was so pumped with my run and was awarded a score of 86 which held me in 1st position for a long time.
Saturday was tandem practice and a good chance to pair up with drivers to learn their different techniques, speeds, lines etc. Leading drivers on your side of the tandem bracket can give them an advantage as they know what to expect when it comes time to battle in competition but the advantage is that it will make a super tight battle and make it much more exciting for the spectators, after all drifting is about putting on a show right?
The lead line on the grid is always much shorter than the chase line and I was feeling confident with the track at this stage so I waited in the lead line for my fellow NFS team mate, Matt Powers, to pull up so we could go out and have some fun.
Koz giving the BADBUL a quick once over and spanner check after the practice session.
Here, I describe to the team how I plan to attack my first battle in the top32 (sound effects and all). Haha!
Now looking at the top 32 ladder to see that my bracket was not going to be easy with James Dean, Dai Yoshihara, Tanner and Hubinette all sitting in my path to the podium.
I owe a lot of my success and improvements this year to the support, advice, and knowledge from the top drivers in the series. JR has had a massive impact on my improvements from round to round. Thank you so much, it is always appreciated dude!
My first battle would be against the current European drift champ, a young talented and super tall James Dean from Ireland. We run the same tyre but our chassis set-ups are a lot different with James piloting the Falken tyres S15 Nissan. James is quick but I knew I had a faster entry speed and wider line around the wall so that was where I needed to gain my advantage. Note the back drop shows Vegas really is in the middle of the desert.
James was right with me as we initiated.
Rod captures this moment of intensity.
My entry speed enabled me to pull a car length gap between us.
James showed the crowd a good chase.
Powering through the snake section trying to pull from James. Check out the large grandstand in the back drop, this is for the drag strip. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is another amazing venue with the NASCAR car bowl, Drag strip, Gokart tracks, monster truck ring and my favourite would have to be the LOORRS offroad staduim curcuit where Metal Mulisha cleaned up only weeks earlier.
My turn to chase. I needed to make sure I maintained full angle keeping it out wide mirroring James line.
Maxing out the stretching capabilities of my Falken 615K tyres!
I stuck on James not allowing him to pull away and now the wait for the thumbs up or down from the marshals as we both waited anxiously for the judges results, “affirmative we have the win” was radioed through from Grim in the spotters tower. It must have been close but I was awarded the win.
By the time the top 32 had finished, the sun had set and I couldn’t wait to get back to our pit bay to congratulate my team.
Here is the man who creates all the awesome short films plastered all over the net, Mr. ‘Will Roegge’
As usual the Need For Speed Electro Lounge was pumping all weekend. With competitions and giveaways such as games, t-shirts, posters and merchandise. Here I jump in on the action in the bop, b-boy, breaking comp. I must say Vegas had some sick robots / humanoids! Good times.
The team do the final prep to the BADBUL RX8 before the top 16.
Linhbergh snaps me out suiting up.
Driving around the track in the parade after the US national anthem was such a wicked feeling, treated to F16 fighter jets flying over the venue all weekend and moments like these make you realize how powerful this country is.
All the cars looked super bling under the flood lights, the battle wounds camouflaged by nights cover.
I couldn’t believe the amount of support from the Las Vegas fans, as J-Rod did my driver intro. This is what I love to do and I have so much passion to put on the best show possible in my car and make the event as exciting and explosive as I can. Courtney Day, the Need for Speed model, accompanies me out on the track, the beauty and the beast somewhat….
Congrats to Samuel and Eva-Stina Hubinette with a little one on the way. The hardest part of the Formula D programme is leaving our son Lincoln at home but I always make a shout out to him on the live stream as I know he’s watchin.
After the presentation Kyle and I did tandem donuts with Charles Ng doing donuts around us both.
weeeee oooooo weeeee ooooooo
My top 16 battle: I would meet Dai Yoshihara, who is sitting in 2nd overall in the championship standings. Dai is one of my favourite drivers in the series. He has a wicked aggressive driving style, his car has good presence, he has a sweet hair cut and he is an ultra friendly dude.
I was listening to PNC’ tonight‘ some New Zealand HipHop to get me in the mode. Dai had a slightly slower entry speed than me but he was faster from the pace cone down the start straight so I needed to make sure I was fully focused dragging down to the initiation point. I wanted to make sure this was going to be a hell of a show.
We both came charging down the straight and through our cars with full force, I was maxing out the capabilities of my RX8 powering in so hard to stay with Dai.
Powering up hard on his door to give him some screaming 20b waste gate in his ear.
“Pull over your driving on the wrong side of the road!”
Unfortunately, I pushed the RX8 too hard and ran out of lock resulting in a spin you can see here I already knew I had lost it before completely spinning.
A big burnout as I headed back to the grid, I now knew I had nothing to lose so I would now push harder than ever to try and force Dai into a mistake.
I went in faster and harder than ever leaving a big gap between us.
I was expecting Dai to be on my door about now.
Again maxing out the angle of my RX8 pushing it past 90 degrees. This is the ultimate feeling while drifting and pulling it off as it feels so un-natural.
After stomping the solid entry, it was time to start smashing through the gears to try and maintain the gap.
Loving the sparks from my under carriage as BADBUL squats under power!
I was pushing the throttle so hard it felt like it was going through the firewall! Just trying to get every little bit of horsepower out of my rice cooker.
I nailed all the inside clipping points through the snake section and maintained my gap.
Raaaaaaaaaaaaatatatatataaa over the finish past all the media I was pumped with my run but knew it wasn’t going to be enough to gain the advantage over Dai.
I congratulated Dai, wished him all the best to take it all the way and say "GANBATTE!!!" Something I picked up drifting in Japan
Dai made it all the way to the finals but then unfortunately suffered mechanical problems and couldn’t make the start line for the final.
All in all Vegas was an amazing experience and I can't wait for this round next year. It was another big learning curve for me and I head into Round 6 in Sonoma full of confidence not even 2 weeks away.
HUGE thanks to all my fans for all your support, All the Formula D staff that make these events possible and have to run around in the heat all day, my team for your help and commitment and of course all my sponsors without you it wouldn’t be possible for me to entertain you at these events.
Until Sonoma keep Speedhunting
PS: Thanks to fellow Kiwi Matt Malcolm for his snaps