Road Atlanta is where it all started 9 years ago for Formula D. I wasn’t able to be there when it started, but I have been able to attend Atlanta the last 3 years. Road Atlanta is by far the best round on Formula D hands down. The track is amazing looking and it has tons of technical corners such has the horseshoe and great places to take photos. It’s very open and doesn’t have any fences blocking fans view. Also as a fan you can see the entire course from any where in the stands. Speaking of fans, Atlanta has by far the most vocal and dedicated fans in drifting. These guys bring out their tents with BBQ pits and stay the entire day from beginning to end. Most of us LA folks know the 7th inning exit or the 2 minute warning in basketball. It’s hip to leave early to avoid traffic in LA whereas it’s more hip to stay till the very end in Atlanta.
As excited as I was to attend this year’s event, I was even more happy that my long time friend Edward Chang got to go too. Edward and a few of my high school friends are the one that got me into this whole drifting scene. I remember them dragging me to the very first D1GP event in Irwindale. Now it was good to be able to show him one of my favorite events. The event itself was an amazing show, definitely 2nd best drift event I’ve been too behind last year’s Irwindale. There was some really memorable battles, one that really stuck out is Daigo Saito vs. Vaughn Gitten Jr. I think I can watch them battle over and over and over and over again. Just amazing to see those two really go at it.
On one day the event was clear with blue skies over head, then the next day the clouds moved on it which made for spectacular photos.
This year the Formula D also joined up with Global Time Attack (GTA) for this event. I thought it was really cool to see some time attack action at Road Atlanta. I usually only get to take photos of drifting, but this was a nice change of pace.
My boys at A’PEXi got a nice long paddock that allowed me to take different photos from the past. Nice to pitted in a different area. As for the event itself. We didn’t qualify for Top 32 which is disappointing as the team has come so far.
The A’PEXi Lexus SC430 however looked really fantastic.
Patrick Mordaunt concentrating as he gets ready for his next run.
One of my photos on Patrick’s hero card during autograph signing session.
This year they move the autograph signing session facing east and it made for some better lighting on the drivers.
Joon Maeng makes the best faces during these autograph sessions. He spots the camera very well and does this for everyone.
Speaking of spotting the cameras well, Hankook model Erica Nagashima finds the camera very well too.
Road Atlanta is a huge course and for us media guys it’s almost a requirement to have a golf cart or some form of transportation. Here is Abbitt and I giving our cart some extra flavor. Mike Manalo just chilling in the background.
Taking photos while driving cart can be a little tricky, don’t judge me at least I’m not texting and driving.
Mister Joe Ayala popping a squat shooting his film camera.
Zak Kerbelis showing off his beautiful state of Georgia’s weather. This year’s weather has been the best yet and I hope it stays this way instead of HOT-LANTA.
Hanging out at grid is one of the best things about being a media member of Formula Drift. You get to see a ton of stuff the average fan can’t see. Seeing how the drivers hang out in the back and seeing their crews work on their car is very interesting.
Rhys Millen always has the focused driver look. Always special to see him driving, I feel like we don’t appreciate him enough during these days of him drifting. One day we’ll look back and see him as the Kobe Bryant of Formula D.
Joon Maeng stands on the side of his car like he’s the captain of an old school ship ready to go into battle.
Atlanta fans always make the event feel more special than it really is. Team Rowdy especially is super awesome. They are a very funny group of people that you can never satisfy. It’s always a one more time for them!
Vaughn Gitten Jr during driver introduction into the Top 16. Ready to rock as usual!
All the media guys taking photos and video of Ryan Tuerck on top of his Retaks S14.
Corey Horsford’s first FD event in his KSport Nissan 350z. Orange is a nice color, makes it easier to focus our cameras on.
George Marstanovic trying to rip the rear bumper off his car. Look at how low his rear is sitting, hella flush has nothing on him.
Kyle Mohan dropping it down the first hill.
JR doing work.
First time Darren McNamara is driving a left hand drive after he wrecked his Saturn Sky in Long Beach they went to Tyler McQuarrie’s last years ride the ASD Falken Nissan 350z.
My favorite new driver this year has to be Chelsea DeNofa and his E36. Well first off I’m a huge Bimmer fan, but second this guy smokes the crap out of his tires. You can get some pretty amazing long smoke trails in your photos.
Forsberg doing some tandem with Yoshioko.
Tony Angelo picked up 360 air conditioning.
Kenny Moen is doing great with the Lutz Performance 350z. Last year he was really struggling with this car, but this year it’s the total opposite. Kenny has been very consistent from Long Beach to Atlanta. Kenny gets knocked out by Walker Wilkerson.
Ken Gushi’s new ride has been refreshing in the scene. I wasn’t to keen on the design of it when it was first released but now after taking photos of it. I really dig it. Now if someone can starting drifting a BRZ, that would be nice.
One of the best battles at Road Atlanta was between Tyler McQuarrie and Joon Maeng. It was some additional drama added as Tyler passed Joon on the 2nd turn and then turned Joon into a madman drifting. I’ve never seen Joon drifting so aggressively and I am so excited to see that because I think he should be always driving like that. Brings a whole level of excitement that hasn’t been seen from him.
Battle of the event. Vaughn Gitten Jr vs Daigo Saito. Absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to see some videos of this tandem. Would pay to watch these two do battle any day.
Tony Brakohiapa breaking out his new eBay Ford Mustang. It sounded pretty nuts but unfortunately it didn’t qualify in Top 32.
Chris Forsberg is mister consistency, here showing off his nice V-LEDs headlights when the sun came down.
One of my other favorite cars to photograph is Fredric Aasbo’s Scion TC. For some reason it always come out different than the other cars, maybe it’s the orange in the front of the car.
Ryan Kado a strong following to his Long Beach start. Last year he had car troubles during his rookie year at Long Beach and Atlanta. This year he’s proving what he can do with a working vehicle. Goes on to get knocked out by Rhys Millen after a one more time. Gut feeling is that if he didn’t put two wheels on dirt he would have beaten Rhys.
Joon Maeng continuing his aggressive driving through the night, gets knocked out by Walker in Top 8.
This years eventual rookie of the year Daigo Saito. Him and his car have been absolutely ridiculous this year.
Kado + 1/5th of a second panning for all you camera nerds.
Daigo Saito vs Fredric Aasbo in Final Four battle. Fredric goes on to beat Daigo to meet Justin Pawlak in the finals.
Walker loses to Justin Pawlak in Final Four. What a showing for the 2nd year guy. He gets hit by Tony Angelo and Joon Maeng, does one more time against Justin and Daigo and it was still a pretty close lost. Walker finishes 4th overall at Atlanta.
In the finals it was Fredric vs Justin Pawlak.
And Justin gets the victory, so he goes on and does a back to back victory at Long Beach and Atlanta. Congrats to him and his crew at ASD.