Formula Drift 2016, Round 1, Long Beach, CA

Formula Drift 2016, Long Beach, CA
Photos by Andrew Gates, Rupa Begum, and Nathan Olson
Written by Andrew Gates

As the new season of Formula Drift got under way in Long Beach, California, it got off to a wet start which lead to some major issues while driving these high horsepower cars. As practice laps were being run, you could tell the drivers were being very cautious, at least some of them anyway. We did see a few of the drivers try to go a little too hard for the conditions and they ended up in the wall. One of the most noted hits was Shengjun Zhang who was borrowing Forrest Wang’s back-up car. The damage was pretty severe which probably brought some tears to Wang’s eyes, I know it did mine.

The round 1 competition was set up a little different, since there were only 32 drivers, Formula Drift decided to forego the qualifying and use the results of 2015 to determine their positions for qualifying. By doing this, it let the drivers use the remainder of the day to feel out the track while getting more practice. I do like the qualifying, but under the circumstances, this made the most sense.

Once the top 32 got under way the skies opened up and the track dried out. This was probably one of the best events I’ve attended, since the action and driving were on point. Between the crashes and driving it was an intense weekend which I give two thumbs up. Great job to everyone who helped out and Formula Drift for putting on a great show, it seems they do better when they’re under-the-gun.

In the end, Chelsea Denofa pulled out the victory, with Fredric Aasbo grabbing second, and Kenshiro Gushi snagging third. Congrats to everyone who participated, and if this is any indication of what’s to come for the 2016 season, the spectators are in for a wild ride.

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