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May 18, 2012

Photography By: Chad Lunn, Andy Carter, Ethan Watson, Matt Best

Words By: Andy Carter

Formula Drift: Road to the Championship


Last weekend, Road Atlanta once again hosted the Formula Drift “Road to the Championship” for the ninth year in a row.  A favorite track for many of the drivers, the course offers both high speeds and close, technical areas, making for an awesome show for the record-setting audience.  Fueled in part by the recent attempt by Atlanta city council’s ban on drifting within the city limits, the atmosphere was one of excitement, passion, and camaraderie.  With the scent of tire smoke and BBQ filling the air, Atlanta natives enjoyed a solid two days of professional drifting, Pro-Am up-and-comers, time attack, and Formula 2000 races. It was, without a doubt, the best place to be south of the Mason-Dixon last weekend.

In addition to the on track show, attendees could find plenty of worthy sights around the parking lot and pit area. While there was no official “car show”, simply browsing through the lot turned up a few of the South’s finest daily drivers. For example, Kevin Lu’s RHD S15 was there for the action on both Friday and Saturday.

This was one of the cleanest 240’s at the entire event, on or off the track!

The pits also offered a chance to pick up the latest vendor merchandise, check out the Formula D cars, and meet the drivers.

Even Lindsay Lohan showed up!

For those of you that need 365/15/26 tires, the vendors have got you covered. Your steamroller will not be without rubber!

Year after year, the Formula D drivers praise Atlanta for not only having a great track, but some of the most energetic fans on the entire circuit.  For those of you that haven’t made it to a Formula Drift event, find a way to go.  The diversity of the drivers and their cars means there is something for everybody, and the whole event never takes itself too seriously. Everyone at least appears to be having a great time: drivers, mechanics, photographers, and spectators.

Formula D is always a great opportunity to catch up with the latest and greatest in photo technology.  Southrnfresh photographer Perri Minot captures the Top 16 with a monstrous 400mm lens.

Ken Gushi put on a great show with the new Scion FR-S, but unfortunately failed to make it into the Top 16. Could a V8 be in this car’s future?

The Top 16 main event usually begins right around dinner time in Atlanta, and continues into the night. If you haven’t experienced night drifting, I highly, highly recommend it.

Ultimately, the competition at FD proved to be an interesting one.  There were several upsets, including the early elimination of 2011’s Road Atlanta champion Dai Yoshihara and Tony Angelo’s victory over Conrad Grunewald, a man that that seemed to have mastered the reverse-entry at the track’s first turn. It was Justin Pawlak, however, that came out as the champion, repeating his victory at Long Beach, and giving him a solid lead in total points.


With the conclusion of the “Road to the Championship”, we look forward to the return of Formula D to Palm Beach International Raceway in South Florida. See you there!

View the gallery on the next page!

Editor: Andy Carter