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 

To keep up on this year’s Formula DRIFT coverage by State of Stance please follow on our social media outlets.


For more information visit, and find Formula DRIFT on Instagram @formulad, Facebook, 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
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