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FD Long Beach Never Disappoints

Formula Drift Long Beach is the season opener and from my point of view, the hardest one for drivers to start off with. If you’re a rookie in Formula Drift, nothing can prepare you for the speed the walls come at you in that first corner. For the next few days, the residents of Long Beach have to endure loud cars, tire smoke, and countless people standing around the fences trying to get a better view of the action. But those with a view of the track are in for an exciting weekend.

Friday morning at 9 AM, practice is open for the drivers. Illest sponsored driver, Dai Yoshihara, is ready to add Falken rubber to the streets of Long Beach. Tires don’t last long on his turbo-charged V8 powerhouse.

Drivers start shooting down the straightaway at high speeds. They have to get this corner down before tomorrow or it could cost them the round.

Illest’s newly sponsored driver, Ken Gushi, was entering the first corner hard all weekend.

Luke works for Formula Drift and most of you have seen him on the grid for many years now. He’s the guy that lets the cars go to their doom or victory.

Justin Pawlak was killing it this weekend with his manji entries. This threw off a lot of the drivers as no one else was doing it.

Long Beach was packed with a lot of colorful wraps. It’s nice to see everyone expressing their own personal style.

Dai Yoshihara engaging his smokescreen as he blasts down the track.

No matter where you walk around the course, you can always catch a glimpse of the drivers or hear the roaring of their engines.

Both Illest drivers practicing on Friday evening. Dai and Ken have similar looking cars, but under the hood, they’re completely different.

Offset Kings car show takes place on Formula Drifts main even day, which is Saturday. Unfortunately, there isn’t time during the day to stage, so the cars are all set up the night before.

The street course is now filled with contestants waiting to stage.

Saturday morning, everyone is here early to put the finishing touches on their car.

Everyone gets along at the Offset Kings show. No one sees cars by make, but by style.

This is a perfect example of the different styles.

Since the gates open to the public at 11 AM, the media pass-holders get a chance to shoot the cars before the fans swarm through.

Love it or hate it, this slammed F150 sporting huge Rotiform 3-piece wheels is definitely cool.

Fatlace driver Matt Field encountered nothing but bad luck this weekend. A crank trigger problem crippled his LS motor and even after working at it for 5 days straight with the help of numerous shops and staff, he just couldn’t make it onto the track.

Dai Yoshihara and Chris Forsberg battled it out for top 16.

Even though Dai was knocked out early, his spirit wasn’t broken and he’s ready to come even stronger for the next round.

Fatlace sponsored driver Forrest Wang made his way to top 8. I guess last year’s Irwindale battles prepared him for this season.

Dennis Mertzanis couldn’t hold Forrest back. That meant Forrest would battle against last year’s champ Michael Essa.

Forrest put up a great battle, but nothing could hold Essa back.

Offset Kings winners have been picked and their trophies are waiting for the award ceremony.

There were a lot of categories, like Track and Classic/Muscle, and each had a 1st-3rd place. It’s always nice to walk away from a show with an award.

After the awards were given out, the crowd was still hungry for more. Giving back to the fans is always a good way to show we care.

Lanyards, shirts, stickers, and keychains were tossed into the crowd for a bunch of lucky people.

One of the cars that impressed us at the show was this static FRS. No, that’s not a typo, it’s static!

A big thank you to Long Beach for the great weekend. I wish it were next year already so we could do it all over again. See everyone at Road Atlanta on May 10th!

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