It’s been a long time coming.
While I can’t say that I had the same level of confidence of those on social media in advance of the Formula Drift season opener at Long Beach this weekend, I can’t say I’m surprised at the outcome either. For over a decade, I’ve watched James Deane evolve into what I believe is the best drifter on the planet. His resume will tell you that: four times Irish champion, four times European champion. His dominance in Europe cannot be disputed.
But, and there is one, there was no guarantee that James’s talent would transfer across the vast Atlantic ocean and into the top pro series in the world. Formula D is a series unlike any I’ve ever attended before. The standard of build and driver is without rival. The last few days here in Long Beach have changed everything I thought I knew about pro-level drifting.
There are no easy wins here and to make it to the top step of the podium, Deane had to overcome Essa, Forsberg and Tuerck before defeating Heilbrunn in the final. There were no one more times required; it was a straight and clean-cut victory. It was a performance the likes of which has only been seen once before in Formula D by one Daigo Saito.
There’s a lot more to come, but for now, it’s time to celebrate.