Congrats Daigo Saito. An amazing season deserves an amazing finale. Thank you Formula Drift Irwindale.
Congrats Daigo Saito. An amazing season deserves an amazing finale. Thank you Formula Drift Irwindale.
Formula D Palm Beach is the ying and yang round for me. It’s whole yet half of it is really unenjoyable, try 90′ degree heat plus 90% humidity and random thunderstorms. At the same time creating epic skies and beautiful colors as background. The track is wide open yet the cones that guide the drivers around the track make it awful to shoot in-between them. With little media photo/video spots I tried to get as much variety but it was extremely difficult to push hard as both days my shirt was sweaty it had salt lines in them by the time I dried off. Hopefully it was worth the photos I was able to capture.
Walker Wilkerson getting ready for the driver meeting and practice. Tried the groom getting ready approach and I thought it was pretty good, now only if his best man will zip up his suit.
Jim, Ceso, and company paying attention during the drivers meeting. Sometimes I think I should pay attention too to see how the track is laid out and what the judges expect, but the lure of shooting focus personel and drivers is much funner. I never paid attention in class anyways.
You can see that the drivers start getting focus and each person does something to show their anxiety. It’s like an episode of “Lie to Me” probably a bad reference as most of you probably don’t watch it.
As mentioned above, random shower would happen throughout the weekend. This shot above shows how sunny and gorgeous it is and at the same all the rain that’s coming down.
The Palm Beach track is reversed from last year as this time they brought in fences to catch any debris if crashes occur. I thought it was nice that they extended the middle section part as it creates more difficulty and the lines are more technical. Also allows the judges to evaluate the drivers better in overall execution in my opinion.
However, with all the additional items on the course, you end shooting with tons of objects along with the car, clipping points cones, fences, and barriers are apart of the equation now.
Not often do you see both Camaro’s battling each other. Was a nice little treat during practice.
The track had some high speed areas which the drivers made good smoke and if they didn’t smoke, well just use dirt.
The feeling around the track was pretty intense. The teams that are in play for a Championship this year is gearing up for the run and since Formula Drift only has seven rounds, there isn’t any room for mistakes.
Over at the Falken rig, it’s very quiet when it comes down to getting ready and prepping the cars. Those cars work in very efficient manner with little to no directions. Vaughn having a quick word with Justin Pawlak. Justin is currently sitting in first place and would love to take home his first Formula Drift Championship.
Walker Wilkerson’s car always looks nice in the Palm Beach scenery. The purple has a nice pop to it.
As Friday night practice started Matt Fields got really tight with Fredric Aasbo which was a very nice start to the practice session
Legendary Rhys Millen battling Yoshioko
Digging Robbie Nishida’s Lexus SC300, always wanted one of those with a 2JZ swap.
Some of the rookies this year came out in full force and did was necessary including tearing off the bumpers.
The crew over KMR trying to get Kyle Mohan’s motor back into the car.
Even with all the seriousness there were plenty of fun still. Chelsea says it’s all good, I believe you man.
The KDF peeps are the best at keeping everything fun. Even when they are a little down, they know how to turn that frown upside down. Thank you Thao!
Matt Powers also having tons of fun, his job don’t suck and I have photos to prove it =P
Still there was plenty of work to do. Here is Randyl Dawn at the Falken booth working it in the 90′ heat.
The girls over at Hankook are trying to keep cool as well. Danielle Lo, Megan Belet, and Vivian Nguyen signing autographs for the dedicated fans of Florida.
Kenny Chieu working hard mounting tires at the Hankook pits. I can’t imagine replacing all the tires in this heat.
Last minute interview before Walker takes the track. Epic flare in background, damn I love Florida and hate it all at the same time.
Daigo Saito took on Conrad for three long battles. This is the reason why the kept going one more time, both cars were sticking to each other.
Beautiful skies before Top 16 ceremony.
Battle of the Nissan orange Z’s. Which orange is better? Feels like they need bigger body kits though.
Daigo rolls through Darren McNamara in the top 16
Vaughn was doing pretty well before he got knocked out by teammate Justin Pawlak. Vaughn and Justin’s battles were pretty tight which cause a one more time, but Vaughn spun his car after the first entry turn leading to an easy victory for Justin Pawlak.
There were tons of one more time including this Ryan Tuerck battle against Daijiro, Dai beats Ryan and goes on to get 3rd place.
At the end of the night Daigo Saito beats Chris Forsberg to win his first first place.
Congrats to Daigo Saito, Chris Forsberg, and Daijiro Yoshihara
You can keep your heat, humidity, and bugs Florida. Till next time.
New old friends, that is best description I can give Formula Drift Long Beach. On a day where I expect to see all new faces, all I did was see familiar faces of my past. It was good to see the A’PEXi Lexus SC430 running again with Pat Mordaunt. Seeing other notable drivers such as Ryan Tuerck in the Retaks S14 and Tyler McQuarrie jumping in the Gardella Mobile 1 Camaro was a new take on old things. It was also nice to see some new vehicles introduced, such as Ken Gushi’s Scion FRS and Daigo Saito’s nutty 1200hp Lexus SC430. I tell you those Achilles tires make a ton of smoke and they give off a sweet stench to them.
If Falken had a dream this must be part of it as it was a all Falken final.
Vaughn Gitten Jr showing off his new livery on the all brand new 2013 Ford Mustang.
Daigo Saito’s Achilles Lexus SC430 throwing a ton of smoke all weekend long. He finishes 3rd overall.
Ken Gushi rocking the all new Scion FRS. This car looks pretty sleek and Ken did very well with a 9th place finish. Amazing considering it’s debut in the Formula D and the Long Beach track is not very forgiving.
As mentioned above, Ryan Tuerck is now in the Retaks S14 and his color scheme was pretty wicked. I never orange and gray would work together, but it has a nice look to it.
Pat Mordaunt in the A’PEXi Lexus SC430 leading Daijiro in his Falken Discount Tire S13. Pat just has a whole 700hp less than Daigo’s Lexus, but he’s holding his own. Pat eventually gets knocked out by Ryan Kado in the Top32.
Speaking Ryan Kado, he opted for a new white and red livery instead of the green from last year. Ryan qualifies 10th and eventually gets knocked out by Tyler McQuarrie and his Mobile 1/Go-Pro Camaro. In case anyone wanted to know which cars I thought looked the best this weekend. It was definitely these two, I have a fondness for white cars.
Fredric rocking the Scion TC creating a ton of smoke after the first corner. Sometimes I wonder when another driver is driving a newer version of their car, if they are jealous?
Mike Essa ran consistently all weekend and his BMW Z4 is apparently my mother-in-law’s favorite car. I personally think she doesn’t like imports.
During the Formula D events I always look forward to the last practice session of qualifying day. It’s the perfect time to get really aggressive with slowing the shutter speed of the camera down to get some really interesting photos. Here is Nick D’Alessio getting crazy at 1/5th of a second.
And Toshiki Yoshioka. Panning also helps with blurring out other media members, the fence, those annoying cones and even the wall. It’s just really fun to try to nail one of these pictures, like learning how to down shift to first gear as my buddy Edward would say it.
Yoshioka has amazing control over his car since the shutter is so slow his car always stay at a consistent line so that I’m able to catch him when the shutter closes again. At 1/5th of a second the shutter literally opens and turns black in the view finder and you don’t know where the car is until it closes. The best thing you can do is just guess where the driver will be at all times and the pictures are more consistent with Yoshioka than any driver at Long Beach.
Darren McNamara before his huge wreck. There is hope in me some where one day that they would change the liveries on the Falken cars just so my pictures from 2012 doesn’t look like the same ones from 2010.
It’s always nice to find some time to catch a break. It’s nice to just sit down for a moment, grab a bite to eat, or just plain out have a cigarette break.
This roast beef sandwich comes with rubber shredding.
Keith Covey and Jayson Faiardo doing work in the A’PEXi booth getting the Lexus SC430 new tires and cleaning it up.
I believe these are George Marstanovic fans. They really like their ricer wings.
In the middle of all the action there was also a Fatlace Slammed Society car show on the other side of the fence, I stopped by and took a few snaps. All I could think is that my drive way would take off every single one of their bumpers.
I wasn’t the only person taking photos of these rides.
Personally this McLaren would be what I purchased if I won that half a billion dollar lottery we had two weeks ago. Maybe in a different color though, however this orange was gorgeous still.
Back to more action, watching Daigo chase people down all weekend was a blast. He was very aggressive but still in control so that he doesn’t just run people over. I really look forward to seeing his SC430 run all season.
Conrad Grunwald always smoking the Hankooks. One of the drivers that always consistently puts up a lot of smoke.
Another shot of Ryan Tuerck’s Retaks S14.
Mister consistency Chris Forsberg. That guy must have veins made of ice. Always consistent with all his runs and always very competitive and never an easy out.
Surprisingly, two cars I didn’t think that would look good actually looked really good is Tony Angelo’s Scion TC formerly of Ken Gushi and Chelsea DeNofa’s e36 M3.
Chelsea’s BMW was especially gorgeous in these long pann shots. I just love the gold color on his car.
Daigo has a ton of photos, but I couldn’t help myself to post this one as you can see how Matt Powers in an under power car still being able to keep up and compete against Daigo.
Dai vs. Daigo, pretty epic matchup for the first event of the year. We are really getting our money’s worth at Long Beach.
In the finals, Justin Pawlak beats Daijiro Yoshihara. I have good reason to think that this is going to be another crazy Championship runs for both these guys.
Who is this Jarod guy?