An Introduction to Formula D
What do Chris Forsberg, NOS Energy Drink, and Formula Drift have in common? Until a couple of days ago, I had no idea who or what any of them were. Thank goodness for friends like Emily Shen. If it wasn’t for her, I’d probably still be in the dark. Emily, now I see the light!! Thank you!
This past Thursday, Jupiter from UNDFTD, Chris from Alpine Stars, and I met up at SAStudios downtown, jumped into a limo and headed out to Irwindale Speedway for the ride of our lives.
Formula Drifting, also known as Formula D, is the US drifting series. Drifting is a driving technique where a driver intentionally oversteers while maintaining incredible control at a high exit speed. Like driving sideways while the car is sliding. Originally from Japan and created by Kunimitsu Takahasi, and popularized by Keiichi Tsuchiya, who drifted down mountain roads in Japan. In 1987, after a video produced highlighting Tsuchiya’s drifting prowess was released, it quickly spread to many of the professional drifting circuits across the globe.
On the tracks of Irwindale, thanks to NOS Energy Drink, I got an up close and personal look at modern day drifting. I got to ride along with #1 ranked Chris Forsberg, NOS’s team driver, as he screamed and skid his way across the course. It was mind blowing how he kept control of the car as he drifted close to walls, cones, etc. For a second, it looked like we were going to crash, and thankfully we never did. But throughout the practice run, we saw several casualties being towed away. Sidednote: It is unbelievably hot in a full driving suit and helmet. I was originally in the car for my ride along when the fire marshall said that I couldn’t ride without a full suit. Once I had that on, there was another delay as trucks were cleaning up the track as a car had crashed while I was getting dress. (Yes, this stuff happens to me all the time. Ask Emily) It was hot, hot, hot! My eyes stung at sweat dripped into them. I turned to Chris, shouting through my helmet to asked what his technique was to combat this nuisance, and he just replied “I wipe when I can.” Reaffirming what I wimp I was.
After the ride along, I learned how Formula D’s judging system worked. Instead of winning based on the fastest speed or overtaking cars, drifting is a sport based on many different components such as smoke factor, how close a car gets to a wall, crowd’s reaction, angle of car in a drift, speed into and out of a turn, etc. Almost like a multiple choice test… mixed with burning rubber and high octane fuel. Fancy.
After lunch and another look at the guys doing their practice runs.. (Chris by far, had the best control in the whole field, he’s amazing!), we jumped into our ride and headed home.
With my new found knowledge and respect for drift, I’ll be back at Irwindale this Saturday cheering on Chris Forsberg and team NOS as they go for another win. Come out tomorrow, Saturday, October 9th to Irwindale Speedway and catch your first drift!!
Big thanks to Chris Forsberg, Emily Shen, The ID Agency, and especially NOS Energy Drink for such a memorable experience. I’ll never smell burning rubber again with thinking fond, yet slightly noxious thoughts.. xx J
Chris and I waiting outsideThe weird mushroom cloud in the sky.. eerieFormula DriftOn the trackDoughnut practiceA remake of Reservoir Dogs Road Gripping Power indeedContemplating life
Made in the shade
Yes, I carry around post-its and Sharpie.. just in case
Jupiter’s ride along video review
Waiting for my turnAsian driver poseBurning rubberWhew!Emily providing passes for Saturday’s raceJupiter all geared up and “reflecting” on all he learned…Fun times!
(Photos by Joy Yoon, Emily Shen, and Mo Satarzadeh )