Friday, June 24, 2011

Formula D New Jersey

Where do I start? The drifting or the weather? Let's start with weather.

Yeah what you see is some of the heavy damage mother nature had dropped upon us right before our top 32 practice. While we were in our drivers meeting for qualifying results, as Jarod got to number 25, the rain came suddenly and tore up the entire place. Everyone was in panic mode and Ross Petty was dancing around. I have never been in a flash flood so it was quite an experience. A rush!!

Anyway, let's start with practice on Thursday. I swear, every year that I come back, I am reminded of the horrific crash in 2007. I totaled a car here!!! It's such a slow circuit but I somehow managed to total it.

Practicing against the rest of the field dominated by V8s made me
realize how hard it is to keep up with displacement. When doing tandem, you can usually tell who will win as soon as the pair leaves the start line. So I practiced jumping the light. I won't jump the light when leading but when I'm following, I have to time it right so that we get to turn 1 at the same speed.

We qualified in the 10th spot with a score of 81.4. Not bad I would say.

In the top 32, we were matched up against Eric O'Sullivan. I didn't mean to tap him but when I did, I broke a water line and saw the water squirting out as I finished the lap.

Top 16 was with Justin Pawlak. Those Falken cars are too fast. I honestly don't remember my mustang being that fast! I tried to jump the light to see if I can stick to his door, but even with a jump, he took off fast and pretty much left me in the dust.

He moved on, and continued to move on to 2nd place.

Congrats to my fellow Hankook driver Conrad for the win and Justin and Dai for the remaining podium spots.

Seattle, here we come!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Formula D Singapore

Woooooo Asia!!!! But damn, that was a long flight. 12hours to Tokyo and then another 7 to Singapore.

This will be Round 1 of the Formula D Asia Series which is the first stop of 4 throughout the year. So am I in my beastly tC? Not for this round. I was given the opportunity to drive Marcus's JZX100 Chaser built by Spark Motorsports.

Yes. A four door! My fav! Also on my team is Robbie Nishida, Daigo Saito, and Charles Ng.

We had all day Wednesday to test all the cars and set them up to our liking. Since this was the first time driving the chaser, I didn't know what to expect. But surprisingly, it was set up pretty well. In fact, so well that I told them to just leave it for now. Pop, my mechanic was by my side all the time in case I needed anything. After a few runs, I had them change some stuff around the suspension and we called it a day.

Thursday was a free day but we ended up spending 90% of it at Spark Motorsports to work on the cars. My chaser needed a repair on the diff bushings and subframe bushings. I also had POP lower the rear suspension.

Unfortunately that morning, I ate something bad and I broke my stomach. It was something I ate right outside out hotel.

I knew it was a bad idea. I spent alot of time getting to know the toilet bowl at the shop.
Oh! And the shop is crazy! They had a display room upstairs with a PS3, pool table, bar, Internet, and some show cases.

The pool table

I beat Robbie at pool. Muahahaha.

The shop staff were so generous too. They made sure we were fed, and having a good time, at all times. Singapore hospitality is amazing. Just one thing... It's so damn humid!!!

You can almost feel the humidity through the picture can't you?? It rains alot and when it does, it gets worse. Showers seem pointless because you sweat right away anyways.

Friday: we finally get the see the track. Omg. Formula 1 pits?! Yes that's right.

We were pitted inside Timo Glock's pit. How cool is that??
This day was set aside for Media ridealongs. In my case, practice and getting to know the car better!!!! The track layout was pretty straight forward. Straight to a left turn, feint side-brake entry into a sweeping right decreasing radius following a left kink and another kink to the right for exit. The entry was similar to Palm Beach.

At the end of the day, I was feeling at home with the chaser. Pop pretty much worked all night prepping the car for me. Thanks man!
We also met the Thai Superstar team.

Spark Motorsports x PTT invasion. Men in black. Haha awesome people.

Saturday is qualify for the Asia series as to where we qualify on Friday in the states. When the morning practice session took off, it began to rain. And then it came down really hard!!

During practice someone in front of me went straight into the wall on entry.

He was injured and sent to the hospital but later confirmed to be ok. Drifting is serious business. I hope his car is repairable.

Qualify in the rain in a RHD car I've never competed in?! Sure why not. When qualify started, it was apparent that the track just went from straight forward to tricky as hell. The problem was, some parts of the surface were more slippery than others. Inconsistent surface condition made it hard for all of us. I managed to qualify 5th. Wow. What a surprise. And thankfully, all of us at Spark Motorsports made it into the show.

Sunday: it's on!! Top 32. My first battle was against Pond from the Red Bull team. I really didn't know how to gauge these drivers in tandem so I knew I had to be real close. On my follow lap, I lightly tapped him but he didn't forcefully spin. If this was in the states, they would have spun.
I moved onto the 16 where I was now matched up against Koh Kae in his A31 Cefiro. This driver won second place last year in Malaysia and Daigo had warned me that he is good. So I should be right by him at all times.
I moved on to the top 8. An s15 from Australia. Then to the top 4 against my very own teammate Daigo. Really? Come on.. Why not in the finals? I knew if I didn't blast the starter, I wouldn't be able to keep up so I did. He STILL flew right by me and left me by about 3 cars. So now he is in the finals and I am in the match for 3rd. Ivan in his Corolla. Thankfully I beat him and join Daigo and Non from the M150 team in a spot on the podium.

This was a pretty cool experience. Thank you Marcus for making it happen!

Thanks Spark Motorsports and staff for all the hospitality! And thank you Pop for the tremendous mecha-support!

Formula D Palm Beach Florida.

Wtf?! Alligators !!
Highlight of my trip.

Palm Beach International Raceway is surrounded by small bodies of water and there are turtles and alligators in them! I was so amazed. I wanted to touch them but I thought it would be bad to lose a hand before the event.

Anyway, Thursday's practice day went well for the RS-R Scion Racing tC. We quickly got the track down but before we knew it, Formula D decided to completely flip the track layout.
Either way, the tC was still set up proper. Gearing was right even though I contemplated on switching to a 4.3. We stayed with a 4.1 final drive.

My first run into the new layout, I had no idea what the hell to look for. The clipping points and the zone seemed so awkward and the zone was kind of unnatural. Throughout the session, I managed to figure out the track but at the end of the night, I was still unsure of what the judges could possibly ask for.

Friday: qualify day. Post driver's meeting, I was still uneasy about the line going into the outside zone and then exit. But too late to complain. I ended up qualifying 11th matched up against Ryan Kado.

Throughout practice, I had a hard time leaving the outside zone to finish the run. I would find it easier to hit the last clip if I left the zone early and approached the clip from the outside.

Saturday: so what I thought would help me ended up killing me. I should have listened to the judges and stayed in the outside zone longer. Even though I was closer to Ryan on my follow lap, I was not in the outside clipping zone long enough. My fault. Lesson to be learned? Do as the judges say or it will bite you in the ass.

But hey guess what? The Scion Racing tC is in great shape!! Haha finally there is some hope. I can't wait for round 4 NJ.

Oh btw, the wind was pretty strong on Friday and it blew the FD tent away. Wow.