Behind The Scenes>> Long Beach, Day One

Oh yes, that old familiar feeling is back. The feeling of sunburn, the feeling of being coated in rubber particles, the feeling of exhaustion. All typical stuff after a day of shooting a Formula Drift event. Our Speedhunting duties have been shifted around a bit in this year meaning that I won't be covering FD as much as I have in the past. Charles should be along shortly with a qualifying run down, but in the meantime I thought I'd go ahead and post a few quick observations and behind the scenes shots from the 2011 FD opener.

Besides that familiar smell of rubber, Long Beach always brings a fresh batch of machines to check out, with many new faces to be found in their cockpits.

One of those new machines was this Canada-based JZX81 Toyota Cresta with a JZX100 Mark II front end conversion. Surely you guys would be interested in a spotlight on this JDM sled, right?

The coming of the new season also brings a reunion among all of us media goons. We have lot of fun trackside and these antics are one thing that I will certainly miss on the FD tour.

FD Long Beach is typically held under sunny skies with temps in the mid '70s – also known as a regular Southern California day. This year the forecast threw us a bit of a curveball with cool temps, strong winds and even a bit rain.

While the rain fortunately only amounted to a few sprinkles, the clouds made for some pretty cool looking backdrops. I'm sorry that's just the Linhbergh in me talking…

Speaking of Linhbergh, there he is alongside Charles Kha working in the Speedhunters Long Beach Bureau. Charles seems right at home among our peculiar senses of humor and our delicious local cuisine..,

As I walked around the paddock, I had a rather nostalgic moment when I came across the A'PEXi D1GP FD RX-7 made famous Youichi Imamura. Amazing to think about how much drifting has changed since those early days…

I've been shooting Long Beach FD for a few years now, but every time I'm still amazed by this oceanside street course and the overall atmosphere at the track. There's nothing else like it in drifting.

I'm not sure how many of the Downtown Long Beach residents were happy to hear the roaring drift cars below their windows, but this fellow seemed to be enjoying it.

Watching the new machinery is always fun. While a lot of the front runners have moved from open cars to coupes this year, Michael Essa has done the opposite with his BMW Z4.

Matt Field looked very strong in his new V8 S14. You can say what you want about the V8 swap, but he and some of the other guys with new motors looked very good out there in comparison to last year.

Fredric Aasbo's new Scion needed a little tweaking early in the day, but by the afternoon he was driving it in typical Aasbo fashion – fast and aggressive.

Falken drivers Justin Pawlak and Dai Yoshihara watch practice a few minutes before heading to their cars for qualifying.

With a few tweaks from last year's setup, Dai was very strong today, qualifying second overall.

His car was also decorated in support of his Relief for Japan project. Ganbarou!

We always like to support the grassroots drivers here. Drivers like Walker Wilkerson who drove his S13 to a seventh place qualifying spot. Very nice!

Taka Aono, charging as hard as always in his AE86.

Another Long Beach signature, the balls of steel corner worker that stands inches away from the rear clipping point without as much as a flinch.

Taste the rainbow.

Number one qualifier Conrad Grunewald navigates his big Camaro through the hairpin during afternoon practice.

Here we see some of the ASD crew overlooking Saturday's tandem brackets following qualifying.

Alright, that will do it for now. Time to grab some dinner, get some rest, and get ready to do it all again tomorrow!

-Mike Garrett



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Nothing about gittin 2010 champ not even making the top 32?????


Good one Mike. Im pumped for tomorrow. So many good times had by all!


Great to meet you Mike. Looking forward to the full writeup.


Please do a feature on Alex Lee and his magical four door machine.


Yo what up guys super stoked to see the extra Fresh hot coverage just one favor to ask please do a little some thing on the Formula D rookies especially my man RYAN KADO HE IS GONNA KILL IT!!!!


lol those must be the only parts from a JZX110 in america on the cresta! FAIL


Sorry tony s. Most guys didnt even make qualifying. Seems like most were last minute hopefuls and had issues. Ryans motor died and he didnt make it either. Walker killing it!!!! Odi got in there but i think drew dai for the top32.

Wish they posted the top32 but its on wrecked. Bunch of change to the list!!!!


Is that a Corvette drift car? NICE!


That camaro driver hanging on a DSLR or is that mounted?


As always - speedhunters pics much better than the live feed today! But never the less live feeds are good when you are working!


would love a spotlight on that x chassis!


Its a damn GM V8 gettn swapped into Japanese steel.Thats why were complaining.Stay true to the roots and keep it Japanese.There are lots of 1U,VH,VK's around.


Feature on the JZX and Alex Lee must happen


go walker


JZX81!!!!!!woooooohooo hope to see it in Irwindale !!!!


Um, more info on the c6 'Vette, pl0x.


As Mike Garrett mentioned in his behind the scenes look at Formula D round 1's qualifying day , it


More ugly cars, more money spent.


Thats a 100 mark II front on and x81 with an x81 front bumper.

ps its Canadian.




@The Nitz - then by that logic it should only be allowed to have Japanese bolt-ons and a Japanese driver as well right?


should be good.. a few of the usual suspects won't be present from what i understand[?] - like the open top drifting idea tho'!


A wallpaper of the last picture would have been awesome! Matt Powers S14!


The reason I have a problem with the V8's in pretty much any (competitive) drift car is that ALMOST EVERYONE has one and for that, it takes away from each car (of those with the swap). It takes away the challenge and diversity. I would say that us Americans ruined drifting, but I guess this is just our (lame) take on it.


ya, more on the mysterious Mr Lee and his amazing JZX


yeah a car and driver spotlight for that Alex Lee kid would be dope... new nfs team member possibly???


Support grassroots drifters! They keep FD real..


SERIALNINE!!! Lets see that canadian JZX!


put the S13 in desktop size please


More on Alex Lee's car!!


Serial nine looking proper. Great stuff G & crew.


Feature on the jzx would be awesome!!


WOOOO Go alex, more info on the JZX!


i think an article about the guy watching the event on his balcony would be really interesting. an outsiders point of view, how he feels about the tracking being there, his thoughts on this thing we call "drifting" from a man who is forced to,or rather thorn into this event.


feature on alex's jzx81 would be cool. i just zipped the last speedhunters sticker off his original cresta hood for my car haha.