I admit I’ve been spoiled that the inaugural Formula Drift series has graced South Florida for the last four years. It sure made getting to those event an easy 45 minute drive in either direction, with plenty of time for sleep from the qualifiers on Friday to the main event on Saturday. Things played out a bit differently this time around, however, and it could very well have been for the best. The event was held at Orlando Speed World in Orlando, Florida, of course (would be pretty ironic if it wasn’t in Orlando). That meant my usual 45 minutes turned into a grueling 3 hour or so drive north to Central Florida. It’s not so much the trip time that is painstaking as it is the lack of variation in scenery that Florida interstates offer. It makes the drive a boring, repetitive experience, and I have an appetite for speed which, in itself is a big no no with law enforcement on these routes!
I was unable to make Friday’s event, one day short to capture the new found glory of FD’s finest taking on this new course to their series. I did my best to leave early, but mother nature wasn’t a good time. She was having a sob fest of the torrential kind.
The rain briefly held up when the Top 32 bracket was over, but its presence was always looming. Luckily for me I brought a trusty rain poncho along, the best $5 I’ve ever spent. With strict media restrictions on the track in place, it was difficult to get some great shots, these short comings in effect turned me into a spectator with a camera. If I’m honest, I go to a lot of drift events but rarely do I ever get the chance to enjoy them. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy every moment I’m there, It’s just that I’m usually never there to actually watch them anymore. So I found myself on the opposite side of the fence with what had to have been the best spectating spot at the arena! Various drivers, their spotters and team members all hanging out and watching the event from this spot, I got to experience something I’ve never done before! I felt so immersed in FD lure, bumping elbows with the likes of Vaughn Gittens Jr., Dean Kearney, all trying our best to get a closer look at the soggy drifting on the track. It was beautiful seeing certain teams cheer and how others dealt with the disappointment of losing. Never have I thought I would see and hear this side of FD! It was a sure fire fanboy moment, but I mostly kept to myself, all the while thoroughly enjoying the moment!
With wet track conditions on the OSW oval track, the high expectation of smokey filled drifts was not looking the case. A bit of a bummer, but, that’s drifting sometimes; it’s a rain or shine motorsport! For the simplicity of the track layout it seemed like the rain might have made it difficult for some drivers. It also appeared that the track itself had a little bump in the middle where the first and only switch back would occur, this made some drivers experience a mild hop which, I was told was nerve racking to try to keep the car in drift once coming off the first bank! Add the rain to that mix, and you’ve got quite a few spins!
Photo x shane prescod
Location @ Orlando Speed World, FL