2023 Formula Drift – Long Beach

2023 Formula Drift – Long Beach
Streets of Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)
April 7-8, 2023

“Kicking off its landmark 20th Anniversary season, the opening round was an opportunity to see a number of the new initiatives introduced by Formula DRIFT to give fans and teams an even more powerful connection to the series. Among these is a significantly increased prize purse, giving drivers a greater incentive to go for gold. There is also a new roster of official tire suppliers for the PRO teams, including GT Radial, Kenda Tire, Nexen Tire, Nitto Tire and Vitour Tire.

To speed up the qualifying and competition heats, Formula DRIFT has introduced a number of changes to the judging system. During qualifying, the final score is an average of the points awarded by each of the three judges, who can now consider an “X factor” score to recognize the drivers who put it all on the line. Each judge assesses the entire run rather than focusing on either line, angle or style. The judges also have access to additional information, including new light systems in every car that indicate acceleration or deceleration, as well as access to in-car telemetry to really understand what the driver was doing.

The Formula DRIFT teams obviously play a huge part in making 2023 an unforgettable experience and perhaps the biggest talking point was the return of three-time FD PRO Champion James Deane (Ireland) who joined the RTR Motorsports team. The team also includes the hard-charging Chelsea DeNofa and two-time FD PRO Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr who returned to the series and will share an RTR Mustang with YouTube star Adam LZ.

In the Final, there was some trepidation about whether Field’s car would hold together but he maintained great proximity in the chase position and went deep enough to touch the walls at OZ1 and 3 on his lead run. It was enough to give him a well-deserved win and return him to the top of the title standings, where he spent most of 2022.

For Charpentier, second place was an incredible achievement, especially since Vitour Tire had only joined the series a few weeks before the opening round, giving the teams very little time for testing. However, the success of Charpentier and Hurst put Vitour at the top of the 2023 Formula DRIFT Tire Cup, above its experienced rivals, while Field catapulted Chevrolet in the top spot of the 2023 FD Auto Cup.

The top Formula DRIFT PRO Rookie at Long Beach was Diego Higa (Brazil) who placed 22nd overall in his Toyota GT86.”

For the upcoming rounds of this year’s Formula Drift series, head to  www.formulad.com/schedule

Photographer:  Jose Ortiz

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