Formula DRIFT 2017 Round 1: The Streets of Long Beach
Formula DRIFT Round 1: Streets of Long Beach
7 years dormant from the series, James Deane returns and takes the podium.
The Streets of Long Beach brought out the big burners through turns 9-11 once again. With it’s 14th season kicking off in the traditional, beautiful weather of Southern California, the stakes were driven deep in taking the first round of Formula DRIFT. And the drive could be seen in the aggression of these drivers. The drivers weren’t the only folks ready to clutch kick this season into gear. These fans came in the thick. They filled every seat in the stands to root on their favorite names behind the wheels. Round 1 was a sold out crowd with the Blackvue Livestream record viewing numbers sitting with a little over 1 million viewers. I’d say it’s safe to say that Formula DRIFT is on another level once again! “What a way to start the season,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT.
Deane returned to Formula DRIFT after a seven year hiatus from the Series in dramatic fashion. Deane proved to be a contender after qualifying in second position and making his way through to the finals by defeating both former champion Michael Essa and the reigning and 3-time champion, Chris Forsberg. Deane met with Ryan Tuerck in the Gumout / Nameless Performance / Hankook Toyota 86 in the semi-finals and with consistent driving all-day and a solid chase run he was able to advance to the Finals. On the other side of the bracket in the semi-finals, Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in the Falken Tire / Drifz Wheels / Ark Performance Nissan 240SX faced off against Alex Heilbrunn in the IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3. After a hard fought battle that was too close to call, the drivers met in a One More Time battle and while chasing Heilbrunn, Bakchis made an error entering the hairpin giving Heilbrunn the win to put him in the Finals. Deane’s consistency and technical driving was no match for Heilbrunn in the Finals and Deane won his first Formula DRIFT victory to take the lead in the chase for the championship.
“Man, what a way to start back in Formula DRIFT after missing out on the last seven years,” said James Deane, winner of Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. “I owe a lot to my good friend and teammate, Piotr Wiecek, who came up with this whole idea to come back to the Series as a two-car team. To come out with the win is just mind blowing. What a feeling!
With a handful of new faces coming to the grid, some rumored new builds like never seen at Formula DRIFT in the past, and the new level of audience support this rather fresh Motorsport is showing, the 2017 season will be a season you can’t miss! If you’ve never been to an FD event in the past and have one of these rounds coming to a city nearby you should be buying tickets. At the very least, you NEED to be tuning in to the Blackvue Livestream during these events to watch such a dramatic sport on the rise unfold in front of your eyes.
– Duke Newport
For more information visit, www.formulad.com and find Formula DRIFT on Instagram @formulad, Facebook www.facebook.com/formuladrift, Twitter @FormulaDrift, and Snapchat – formula_drift. Tune into Formula DRIFT on CBS Sports and check your local listings for airtimes.
|Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Event Results|
|1. Deane, James||Worthouse Drift Team / Falken Tire Nissan 240||Winner|
|2. Heilbrunn, Alex||IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3||2nd Place|
|3. Tuerck, Ryan||Gumout / Nameless Performance / Hankook Toyota 86||3rd Place|
|4. Bakchis, Aurimas||Falken Tires / Drifz Wheels / ARK Performance Nissan 240||4th Place|
|5. Aasbo, Fredric||Rockstar Energy / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla iM||5th Place|
|6. Coffman, Matt||Nexen Tire / Coffman Racing Nissan 240||6th Place|
|7. Forsberg, Chris||NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z||7th Place|
|8. Kearney, Dean||Oracle Lighting Dodgle Viper||8th Place|
|9. Gittin, Vaughn||Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR||9th Place|
|10. Wiecek, Piotr||Worthouse Drift Team / Falken Tire Nissan 240||10th Place|
|11. Gushi, Ken||GReddy Racing / Nexen Tire Toyota Racing 86||11th Place|
|12. Field, Matt||Falken Tire / Vapetasia / ARK Performance Nissan 240||12th Place|
|13. Rintanen, Juha||STR Racing / Nexen Tire Nissan 240||13th Place|
|14. Bluss, Kristaps||HGK / Mast / Motul / Wisefab BMW E46||14th Place|
|15. Pawlak, Justin||Roush Performance Ford Mustang||15th Place|
|16. Essa, Michael||Achilles Tire / Essa Autosport BMW M3||16th Place|
|2017 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Championship Presented by BlackVue Standings After 1 Event|
|1. Deane, James||Worthouse Drift Team / Falken Tire Nissan 240||106.00 Points|
|2. Heilbrunn, Alex||IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3||84.00 Points|
|3. Tuerck, Ryan||Gumout / Nameless Performance / Hankook Toyota 86||69.00 Points|
|2017 Manufacturer Championship Standings After 1 Event|
|1. Toyota||121.00 Points|
|2. Ford||74.00 Points|
|3. Nissan||52.00 Points|
|4. Dodge||51.00 Points|
|5. BMW||35.00 Points|
|6. Infiniti||18.00 Points|
|2017 Tire Championship Standings After 1 Event|
|1. Falken||174.00 Points|
|2. Nitto||123.00 Points|
|3. Hankook||121.00 Points|
|4. Nexen||104.00 Points|
|5. Achilles||86.00 Points|