Event>>formula D Vegas: Pt.1

It's Monday morning on the West Coast, and by now most of us are home from Las Vegas after enduring crowded airports and long traffic jams.

A quick note – never drive from Vegas to LA on a Sunday if you don't have a few hours to waste sitting in traffic on Interstate 15.

Anyways, as usual I'll kick off my coverage with a few general observations before jumping into Top 32 action.

Brian Wilkerson and the BMI Racing crew have made incredible progress this year with their four-rotor RX8. The car looked great in Vegas – quite a contrast from when it was hardly able to link the course at Round 1 in Long Beach.

The privateers and pro-am graduates were out in full force this weekend. Here's Temecula's Jeff Abbott in his NB Miata.

The long break between the Top 32 and Top 16 on Saturday night gave plenty of time to check out the 1 of 1 Car Show – full of interesting local Vegas cars. More on this later.

The sun is still beating down on the pavement as Tyler McQuarrie initiates during practice on Saturday afternoon.

Michihiro Takatori seems quite at home in his Frankenstein S15 this season, regularly cruising through to the Top 16 and beyond.

The guys at Gardella Racing decided to drop a new engine in Ryan Tuerck's Pontiac Solstice – just in time for Vegas.

Gone is the EcoTec turbo four cylinder, and in it's place is this thumping LS7 V8. *Waits for discussion on how V8's have taken over drifting*

Chris Forsberg meanwhile, has gone from one V8 to a crazier one.

A race spec engine out of a Nissan CORR off-road pickup now sits under the hood of the 350Z. Looks (and sounds) pretty mean…

V8 haters need not fear though, because there are still guys like Taka Aono out there.

Since I used the term "off-road" while describing Forsberg's new engine, that's reason enough to post this picture of Big Foot. Seriously, who wasn't a monster truck fan as a kid?

James Deane made the short commute out from Ireland to jump behind the wheel of the Falken S15. He should be back for the remainder of the events on the schedule.

The Team NFS boys use afternoon practice as a chance to tandem up.

More of that grassroots spirit, with Nikolay and his RB-powered S13.

Not to be left out is Ian Fournier and his R32. I can't say how much I admire these guys for towing their cars hundreds and hundreds of miles to compete.

Vaughn and the Brostang cruising through qualifying on Friday night.

Matt Field came out from Northern California in his big-winged S13 and earned a spot in the Top 32.

A few run-ins with the wall didn't stop Charles Ng from having the best event of his young Formula D career. More on this when we look at the tandem rounds.

I'll finish with this shot of Eric O'Sullivan drifting off into the sunset.

Much more from FD Vegas on the way.

-Mike Garrett



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teh iso >.<


I loved the 2 miatas (NA and NB) GREEN FOR THE WIN!


That last pic would be an awesome desktop!

A shame that you guys dont make them in 1024x768 :(


I understand why V8's is beeing used in the states, there is TONS of parts for it, easier to come by and all that, but saying it is taking over drifting? hell no! : ((

I DO love the screamer above the bonnet on the Frankenstein S15 though. Good set of pictures too.


" I love V8s. The only thing better than a V8 is a bigger V8, or one with forced induction." - Jeremy Clarkson


Rad. I hope to see more of the 1 of 1 NA Miata... ;) also- what is the aspect ratio on those fronts the BMI RX8 is wearing?!?! Wow! =D


I am loving the pic of the Bob Chandler mobile <3 I am from St. Louis that is kick ass


I love the GRRRRR look of the green NA Miata.


bang for bux and power band is superior in v8's.

low end torque and reliablity is what these people are looking for.

nothing like a NA ls1 that you can beat to hell and back and still turns over the next day...


Luigi said:

" I love V8s. The only thing better than a V8 is a bigger V8, or one with forced induction." - Jeremy Clarkson

Amen brother. As much as i want a ae86 with a 4age nothings beats anyhting with a v8. Plus for drifting you need torque and v8s will ALWAYS have more torque than a 4 banger.


Pic #4: IT'S SO ANGRY!!!! That Miata is awesome, I think I'd like to do that to my Miata, too, if my cousin didn't crash it two days ago.

I have to fight the V8's too. D1 is able to make the same amount of smoke with less cylinders on tighter, more technical courses. Hell, all the guys rocking SR20's are able to cope with their powerbands to deal with the speed scrub you get at the Fuji hairpin just fine. (They use N2O, though. No fault though.) Even the big sedan drivers (Nomuken, Saito, Minowa, especially Tokita) don't use more than 6cyl engines. But I guess all the long sweeping courses that FD calls home all require 6-10 cylinders. FD Pacific Grand Prix, anyone?


I say V8s are a welcome addition to any drift car. Tyler McQuarrie said that his sprint car 410 V8 race motor allows him to punch it in 3rd gear from almost anyspeed and smoke the tires. Torque is king. Plus, these race V8s are screaming around turns at 9k plus rpms!!


Someone get this man a 5d MkII or at least edit out some of the noise.


Stop crying about making this and that in to a desktop and enjoy the read! btw: I imagine the tire mfgs are loving the v8 change over!


where are the traditional drivers at ? V8 ? go kiss my .... wheres the art and the finesse in driving 800 Lb-Ft of Torque sideways ? .... i want those screaming hig reving 4 cyl engines back .. with their wild tourbo howling and wastegate chatter ...


I miss my pink headlights =(


Feature the green NA!


moar. add moar.


I never drive any V engines before, but i'm pretty sure that NA V8 is wayyy better than any turbocharged engines. you don't have to rely on boost to get power. V8 = raw power!!!

personally i prefer NA more than forced induction


Thanks for the great write up Mike! I look forward to the next part.


this year has been DOMINATED by V8's. only 2 non v8's have podium-ed - Tuerck (who now has a V8) and MIllen (Turbo stroked V6).

Aasbo has gotten 4th with his Turbo-6, Essa got 4th with his V10, but that leaves 13/15 podium positions and 16/20 final 4 drivers who have piloted their car to the top with a V8..... how is that not dominance!?


Ha, the lights work on the khaki green Miata in pic4 is so cute.


In the Aussie series, one of the guys put a V8 into an AE86. Was a very weird, hearing it drift.


V8 = DAT Power Curve, DAT Torque and DAT reliability...


it was awesome time i got to go on the final day and met Vaughn in person


i remember a few years ago when people were ditching the VQ35s from their 350Zs and G35s for the smaller teeny tiny SR20 for a more balanced lighter car with BIG boost, people such as Signal Auto and few that followed in their footsteps.


wall paper of #1 Rollands and #15 Niko's please..NW ftw!!!


the world is still safe for now.. but it will go to hell if Matt Powers do V8 too.. So Matt please dont, im counting on you


As long as the V8 lovers don't start giving inline 4 turbo's sh!t, then it's all good.

V8 lovers crap on about "No such thing as Replacement for Displacement" and yet they start to drift cars amongst the cars with turbo's... In AUS that is...

Learn to appreciate what others have or just stick to what you have and don't say anything.

Love Pic #1 of the S13 and the Big Foot Monster Truck!


MAN CAN SOMEBODY GET MR #1 PLACE TYLER MCQUARRIE SOME BETTER WHEEL FITMENT ITS SO FUGLY, WITH ALL THEM DAM SPONSOR'S YOU WOULD THINK HE WOULD HAVE SOME SICK FLIPPEN WHEELS!!!!! And you cant hate on the v8's this is america we do it way bigger over here Hence Big AZ Motors! But I say 2jz anyday FTR!!!!! WE Love it aLL!!!!!




loving the r32 sedan!


all the v8 are killing the drifting sport. The only way of being competitive is to have a big blown v8. Make a v8 a requirement or level the competition somehow.


Its not the big HP numbers that make the V8 competitive. Some V8 cars are consistently competitive, some others aren't.

Its not the V8 that makes the V8 cars podium in FD, its the TYPE of horsepower they create if you have the right one.

All the V8 does, if you have the correct V8 combination, is allow the engine to push the more advanced chassis set-ups. If you're not using the chassis correctly, the V8 will make no difference - unless you just didn't have enough HP to start with.

It just happens that a particular V8 combination creates a certain type of power. If a smaller engine or different configuration (read lighter weight) could do it as well, I'd personally be running that instead.

DMac's Sky ran one and a half seasons on tiny 255 rear tires with almost 800HP on tap. It was still fast as hell. It wasn't the V8 alone that made the car fast, and still isn't :-)

Maybe a little over emphasis and jumping to conclusions by some on the impact of the V8? I think so, but just my opinion of course.

The fast guys will be fast, with or without 800HP or a V8. There's so much more to being competitive in FD than any old big V8 engine.

80% of what makes some cars consistently competitive in FD is chassis set-up, not the V8 under the hood. Just like in most other motorsports.


My 2c.

Formula D needs to be split into classes.

The same thing happened in Japan in D1.

The entriy fields get soo big that one mistake or a DNF and you can never win the championship because you finish in 100th place.

and then you cannot qualify for the next round.

So much depends on your first round competition.

It's basically not an event that anyone can win.

You need money and that means being professional in a big way.

The V8 debate is basically a reliability one. Expertise in USA is in V8s.

Expertise in Japan is in smaller turbo engines and 6s like the RB26

Almost noone runs a V8 in Japan.

It changes things and the long time supporters of anything hate change.

Deal with it.

Pretty soon, there will need to be 64 franchise licences paid for at the beginning of the year.

Of those 32 will run the eastern conference and a western conference or a kind of NFL scenario.

These teams will be Guaranteed Media coverage and can attract sponsors.

If this works then a north and south etc could be added.

Bigger events could run together... kind of an endurance event or double header.


Looked like a really good turn out for the event, was gonna go but it the heat is a killer. love the angry eyes on the miata, thats a friend of a friends car. seen it in person one time. shit is clean, as well as the blue S2k stance on it was nice.


damn i completely agreee with Rextreme and ASD team. if the V8's were suddenly booted, the 800+ V8 dudes would be pushin 800+ with a RBs, SRs, VQs, or whatever they so choose to push 800hp out of. And i believe the poduims would still have the same names.

All the japanese drivers that do so well got their name from driving without V8s, and would more than likely still be in the top slots without them.

Im feelin jealousy from the all the V8 haters, i don't like V8s either but it's not the V8s out performing the rest of the field, it's the DRIVERS and HP, not the motor set up.


V8's completely defeat the original point of drifting. Drifting philosophy has always been that you do not need power to drift (that comes straight from DoriKin). Power drifting is for amateurs.


Brostang looks epic


I understand both sides. While the V8 thing is understood by the "U.S. specialty" argument, I get where some of the people who aren't pro-V8 are coming from too, and I think that comes out of the want for a "purist friendly" standpoint. While it'd be nice to stay native or keep swaps under 8 cylinders, you can't fight the fact that the V8's are dominating, and they're reliable, and just ask Tanner Foust and Chris Forsberg, consistency runs a championship car. On life expectancy in high power, this is where V8+ wins.

FD Pro-AM isn't exactly as "exciting" as the normal Formula Drift, though it is more "purist friendly". I think what people are getting at with going against V8's is that it's becoming the new go-to swap, like it's too "easy" to use it. But it also gives off a vibe reminiscent of NASCAR, being that everything is all V8, all cars are lightened and front-side tubed beyond recognition. I think it all stems from the fear that everything is now all "industrialized" in American professional drifting.


i think having a V8 class and an "Hi-Tech" class could/would be a good idea?


Jeff abbott doesnt have a V8, he has a 1.8l bp with a big turbo , making hopefully 380 hp . lightweight car .

Taka , no V8 .


Whats wrong with swapping a fully drift prepped race car with a V8, you have gobs of torque and a power-band as long as the rpm range. it makes perfect sense and is also quite a cost effective upgrade since you usually dont need to add forced induction. Lets v8 swap the whole lot! Sure would make for some tight and aggressive competition!!!!



Exactly what i was saying, v8 all the cars. I don't know about it being all about the driver but top 13 with an exception of millen are running v8. and thats a fact.