Event>> The Circus Is In Town

Rain, hail and shine. The opening day of FD Long Beach quite literally had it all.

Look one way and you had the picturesque backdrop that you'd expect at Long Beach, with blue skies and the sun shining down…

…But look the other way and you had the dark, ominous clouds that threatened to unleash a load of rain.

And unleash they did.

Uh oh. The first signs of rain started to drop during the morning practice session, with the startline drenched in a matter of minutes. There were small pellets of hail too, which was quite surreal considering the sun was still shining.

The number of cars out on-track dropped significantly when the rain came down. One driver who didn't seem to mind was D-Mac.

The track temperature dropped with the downpour, so drivers were using every inch of the hot zone to warm up their tyres.

Not only was I soaking wet, but I was also deaf after getting a bit too close to Ross Petty's rasta Silvia.

Dai was one of the drivers to continually try his hand at the wet track, which many reported was like an ice rink.

The rain didn't last long however, and the Californian sun soon dried the track so normal service could resume.

Matt Powers has been working around the clock on the TNFS S14. Besides the media day, Matt hasn't driven it since the engine swap and new suspension. Here his team are doing some adjustments to the wheel alignment.

In spite of the bags under his eyes and the lack of testing, Matt threw the S14 up into 4th position for tomorrow's Top 32 battles.

Ken Gushi took tyre warming to a whole new level.

Chris Forsberg's 370Z grabbed a lot of attention…

…And it performed well on the track, with Chris securing 16th spot.

TNFS driver Fredric Aasbo also had very limited seat time in the Scion tC, so the morning rain during practice didn't help his cause.

Fredric qualified for tomorrow, and the Scion was certainly potent in the late afternoon practice session.

Quite possibly my favourite pic from today was this gem by Linhbergh.

Dai was in unbelievable form and was putting in impressive lap after impressive lap.

He was the quickest car through the first speed trap, and narrowly missed the top qualifying spot by 0.1 of a point.

Essa's Z4 is the last remaining roofless car in FD.

Rhys Millen's Hyundai smoke machine. After every lap, a huge wave of smoke – along with a nice spray of Korean rubber – would engulf the media photographers.

Jeff Abbott flying the flag for the Miata fans.

Matt Field's blinding S14 was certainly a crowd favourite.

Perhaps it has something to do with his proximity to the wall. 

Justin Pawlak was another driver who wasn't afraid to swing his car within millimetres of the concrete.

Alex Pfeiffer misjudged the corner ever so slightly, taking out his Z33's bumper.

Joon Maeng clipped the tires on the exit of the first turn, but comfortably made it into Top 32 having qualified 23rd.

Conrad Grunewald claimed a much deserved top qualifying spot. You can see in this pic just how much angle he was getting!

Walker Wilkerson put in strong performances throughout practice and qualifying.  

Case in point.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I just had to follow up on Mike's post with another photo of Mike Skudlarek's 180SX!

The big surprise involved the reigning Formula D champion.

Vaughn Gittin Jr. made a couple of mistakes during his qualifying runs, which meant he didn't proceed to the Top 32. That said, he put down some formidable passes during practice, so I'm confident he'll be back in the mix at Road Atlanta.

28 year old Luke Lonberger went nose first into the barriers…

…But fortunately it looked like the 'Vette only suffered superficial damage, however it meant he didn't qualify for tomorrow's battles.

Anyway, I think that's enough from Day One of FD. I have six hours to grab some sleep before I'll be at the track again, squeezing my camera through one of the holes in the fence!

- Charles Kha

Photos by Linhbergh Nguyen and Charles Kha

Full Qualifying Drivers – Top 32:

1. Conrad Grunewald
2. Daijiro Yoshihara
3. Kyle Mohan
4. Matt Powers
5. Rhys Millen
6. Darren McNamara
7. Walker Wilkerson
8. Tyler McQuarrie
9. John Russakoff
10. Ryan Tuerck
11. Justin Pawlak
12.  Matt Field
13. Matt Waldin
14. Jeff Abbott
15. Ross Petty
16. Chris Forsberg
17. Michael Essa
18. Ken Gushi
19. Dennis Mertz
20. Charles Ng
21. Alex Pfeiffer
22. Cyrus Martinez
23. Joon Maeng
24. Fredric Aasbo
25. Taka Aono
26. Otto Graven
27. Mike Feiock
28. Dean Kearney
29. Jeff Jones
30. Patrick Mordaunt
31. Odi Bakchus
32. Toshiki Yoshioka



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

thats walker not Cyrus Martinez!


I'm sure many will say this already but the purple car was walker wilkerson.


Hey Charles love the coverage but the purple onevia with the yellow gram lights is driven by Formula D rookie Walker Wilkerson competing in his first formula D pro event! Props to him on qualifying 7th! Good luck tomorrow!


wicked coverage guys - "Mr L" takes a fantastic photo... i think Essa's Z4 looks good:- ruthless & roofless!


Weldone to Otto Graven....representing South Africa..awesome stuff


Soooo Thats Walker Wilkerson, not Cyrus Martinez. And it was his first event of his first season in FD, qualifying 7th over all...

Just thought you might want to fix that.


that's Walker Wilkerson in the lavender Fatlace PS13, not Cyrus Martinez


Tx guys! I've made the correction.


Desktops of the 2 Wilkerson shots? Beautiful, seriously.


Those pictures of "Cyrus Martinez" are actually Walker Wilkerson, and this is his first formula D event since acquiring his license at Irwindale last year!


wicked coverage guys - "Mr L" takes a fantastic photo... i think Essa's Z4 looks good:- ruthless & roofless!


How hard would it be to add the full qualifying list at the end of the article? Pics are nice, but surely letting your readers know the results is a basic tenet of reporting on an event? Also, where is Mad Mike?


fuck you biach smd


GO ROSS!!!!!!!


nice post! i think im gonaa enjoy reading the coverage of these events! Helped along the wicked pictures that you guys take!!

can we have a desktop of the 1st image?!


Funny how most of the american or at least FD drifters chicken out when they see rain! :))) The japanese would run the full round regardless of the amount of rain on track, even if there having finals! As some refference just ask Kumakubo.

And from another point of view, rain would be a blessing if you're interested into practicing drifting because it forces you to sharpen your skills.

Where are the days where drifting was about sliding cars and not just big power and gigatons of smoke?

However, overall Great track, great even, great fun! Keep drifting alive and keep if fun! :D


I dont c any Nissan Skyline's there!!!! Y's that????


love Matts Rocket Bunny!


I think Alex hit the bumper on purpose. I know he can't like that awful color!


WELLDONE OTTO!!! Way to represent SA. Sup Rouen-kun


What body kit is that on Mike Skudlarek's 180SX?? That car needs a feature!


RPS13 (hatch) not PS13 (coupe).

If you're going to try and sound smart using the chassis code, at least use the right one.


I love how the flag man didnt get fazed by the bumper hitting the k rail.


Ouch! I have followed Luke Lonberger's Corvette build, and it's sad that he wasn't able to go through qualifying. I USED TO DRIFT CORVETTES IN NFSC!


" Not only was I soaking wet, but I was also deaf after getting a bit too close to Ross Petty's rasta Silvia. "

Heheh, I liked that line, Great coverage and photos of the event, thanks.


there's a chance to have a desktop wallpaper of Vaughn Gittin Jr inside the car (photo #34) ?

that photo is amazing !

thanks ... ;-)


i'm also curious about the lack of Mad Mike at the event, is he not competing in FD this year? if so, it seems like a bit of a waste, considering he was just getting into the groove with the Badbul near the end of the season last year!


Where are the rotors at? wheres mad mike?


well done OTTO way to represent south africa !!