In spite of the hype: Formula Drift at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The round 3 of Formula D PRO championship took place on 30th and 31st of May in South Florida for the first time at the Homestead-Miami Speedway infield track. While the FT86 cars are not the easiest to work on and develop a drift platform, the hype around the world is still huge and for the love of it we see more and more of these cars converted into true race cars. In this event a record number of the FT-86 platform participants took part - six Scion FR-S drivers and one Subaru BRZ. But it didn't go smooth.
Starting with Homestead-Miami Speedway round of Formula Drift the first round of "PRO 2" championship kicked off. The PRO2 is like a link between the Pro and Pro-Am championships and both participants from Pro and Pro-Am can participate in the PRO2 series. It is a great way for the rookies to get comfortable with the tracks and atmosphere of the PRO championship. In the PRO2 championship a total of three Scion FR-S drivers participated: Jeff Wolfson, Pat Cyr and Ron Ewerth.
Ron Ewerth driving his own Vision Performance / Buddy-Club / BRE Scion FR-S in both PRO and PRO 2 championships. His build is probably the sweetest looking FRS out there (subjective), all black with big APR wing, big Sparco seat, accented with six BuddyClub calipers in red and the supercharger/air-filter lurking out of the bonnet while sitting on top of the LS3 V8 from BRE Motorsports. For the function of it the FR-S chassis sits on Buddy Club coilovers with the awesome Figs Engineering angle kit up front and Tomei diff in the rear.
During the PRO2 championship Ron Ewerth scored 15th in qualifying runs and had to battle Geoff Stoneback. But electrical problems struck and the engine would not keep running, so Ron Ewerth didn't show up to line in his FR-S. Geoff Stoneback actually became the winner of the PRO2. Ron couldn't participate in the PRO round as well.
Canadian driver Patrick Cyr is runing Scion Racing / Yokohama / ENEOS FR-S in the PRO2 championship and still running FA20 engine with about 600 horsepower with the aggressive ML24 Bodykit. Pat likes to go all or nothing in his drifts and unfortunately scored 0 on both qualification runs and had to quit.
Photo: Pat Cyr at practice runs with Jeff Wolfson
Jeff is a 2014 Formula Drift rookie from San Jose running his own built 3.4L 2JZ Scion FRS for both PRO and PRO2 championship. Jeff qualified in 9th position in PRO2 championship Rd.1 in Miami. In a tight battle in TOP16 Wolfson lost to Will Parsons.
Then it was time for the PRO championship. Ron Ewerth still had engine problems and Jeff Wolfson had issues with suspension setup so couldn't participate/qualify in Pro.
Ken Gushi scored 81 points and qualified in 9th position with his Greddy / Scion Racing FRS. While Ken did a great line in his lead run in TOP32 he was beaten by Robbie Nishida who did a stunning close follow run and then ran far away in the lead run. Many thought it would take a OMT call but that didnt happen. It is show motorsports and proximity is quite more important than line.
Photo credit: Scion.com
We have been waiting for a long time for Daijiro Yoshihara to bring it on with the only Subaru BRZ currently running in Formula Drift PRO championship. The Team Falken BRZ is an incredible and quite expensive build, but there is just some bad luck chasing the team this year. This round was no better. The practice runs were awesome but just before qualification the engine broke down with cam bearing failure which had its consequences.
Tony Angelo had axle problems after practice runs but managed to fix them just enough to qualify. He scored 68, enough to squeeze in the very last 32nd position in his TAngelo Racing Scion FR-S. Position #32 means racing the top qualifier - Tony was scheduled to go first against his Drift Alliance teammate, Chris Forsberg. Unfortunately the Nitrous / Turbocharged 2AZ-FE engine had problems and Tony couldn't participate, so Forsberg moved on to Top16 to meet Ryan Tuerck.
Ryan Tuerck qualified 16th in his 2JZ powered Maxxis Tires / Retaks / Enjuku Racing Scion FR-S. Advancing over Dan Savage from Top32 Tuerck was the only "FT-86" platform driver to participate in TOP16. Tuerck had to meet the top qualifier Chris Forsberg where Forsberg did an incredible close follow run and Tuerck was pushed out. Forsberg later ended up in the finals and got 2nd place.
Cellphone walkaround video
It was a great first time experience going to Formula Drift, hopefully we will see the FRS/BRZ drivers perform better in New Jersey on June 20-21st when the fourth round of 2014 Formula D PRO championship takes place!