Huge Highlights of The 20th-Year Formula Drift Long Beach, 2023, The Sold-Out-Again Season Opener #formuladrift #formulad @formulad

Big Highlights of The 20th-Year Formula Drift Long Beach, 2023, The Sold-Out-Again Season Opener

★ On-Location Coverage, Photographed and Reported by Py Pai, 2nd Half of The Photos by Contributing Photographer RR Lopez

★ W&HM - Wheels and Heels Magazine / / IG @wheelsandheelsmag 


Photographer Information: 

Py Pai, IG: @pypaiphoto

RR Lopez, IG: @724photo


# Formula Drift is 20-Year-Old Now

Formula Drift has been the leading drifting motorsport since its early days. Now after the grand 20 years, Formula Drift is established as the dominant competition event in the United States. The series has always been operated at a high professional level. That's why they attracted drifting race drivers all across the world and major sponsors.


We have been enjoying covering the Formula Drift events since 2009 and we totally look forward to many years to come!


# Formula Drift is MainStream

Despite the root of drifting may come from Asia, it has garnered great interest in the motorsports community. Initially, it was a niche market that catered to engine power and car control lovers. Through the stead works of the Formula Drift organization, it has transitioned into a mainstream sport that has many major sponsors that support the highly skillful drifting drivers and titan-level car muscles and equipment. 


Now Formula Drift has a TV/Streaming channel as well as a partnership with major car manufacturers for new car debut and launches. Formula Drift is now a full adult in the motorsports world, inching into the big names like Formula 1 and NASCAR franchises. 


# 2023 Formula Drift, Round 1, Kicked Off at the Streets of Long Beach 

As a tradition, Formula Drift Round 1 started in Long Beach, right next to the Long Beach Performance Center. The location has crowned many Formula Drift Round 1 Champion and also is part of the Formula 1 race the week following. 


Its curvy track setup is perfect for drifting events and created many joyful, surprising, and triumphing moments and memories. 

# Formula Drift Round 1 is a Sold-Out Event, Again

Under the bright sunny So-Cal sky, Formula Drift provided a perfect weather environment for drifting. It's not too hot, not too cold, and not humid. We only wore a couple of layers for the whole day, together with the necessary sunscreen. It's just a perfect drifting day.


From the beautiful start, we eagerly anticipate a fun two full-day drifting madness and excitement! 

# There Were JDM, Overlanders, Booth Show Cars, Professional Drifting Competition Race Cars, Said RR Lopez

There are many different types of cars at the event, besides the main-focused drifting race cars. 


Formula Drift Long Beach is a combination of drifting cars, which have their pit stops for tuning and repairing, and vendor display cars, that showcase the gears and boasts of vendors' product and services, plus the car show arena, where many highly customed and mod'd cars on display.


It's a fun and varied show of many aspects of cars and their art.


# Formula Drift Day 1 was a Warm Up for the Big One Next Day

Friday, the first day of the Formula Drift Round, is a warm-up and qualifying day. Many drivers put their comfortable efforts at the beginning to test out the ground condition or how the K-rails can hold up against their lost-control bumper kisses. 


Throughout the day, most race cars returned without any scratches and safely made into the qualified 32 top runners. They were all geared toward the big one on Saturday.


# The History-Making James Deane is back with a Different Team This Time!

The drifting wizard has returned to Formula Drift in a big show. James Deane is the back-to-back-to-back three times consecutive winner of Formula Drift. The last time we saw him was his 2019 history-sealing run in Irwindale with Worthouse. 


This time James has come back with a shining new team, RTR Motorsports, and the 1K+ horsepower Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD. The tires are sponsored by Nitto Tire. This is the killer combination that all drivers were watching out for!

# Professional Driver Autograph Session

One of the biggest highlights of the Formula Drift Day 1 is the professional driver autograph session. This is the opportunity for fans to meet their dream idol drivers and show their passion for their superb skills and accolade. 


Even before the time arrives, there was a long time already with eager fans patiently waiting. Once the line opened, the orderly crowd line through in front of the driver tables. They got souveniors and personalized autographed posters, as well as perfect selfies with the drivers. 


It's such a warm and community building wonderful gesture.


# Formula Drift Day 2 was Fiercely Competitive Even From the Get-Go

Day 2 was filled with thick tire smoke and high-pitch engine screaming. Not only the power of each car was showing at full speed, but the tires also worked extra hard to gain the edge against the competition. When we walked the track later on, we could feel our shoes were sticky from the ground tire residuals. 


This is the day that the champion of the Long Beach Round will be made. Many past champions were vying for the top spot title, including last year's Fredric Aasbo, James Deane, Vaughn Gittin Jr., and Chris Forsberg. These big names are not easily getting their spotlight without hard fights with the newcomers and seasoned drivers around them. 


The Formula Drift races are getting more and more fierce! 



# Formula Drift Professional Drift Cars

We got the chance to take some detailed shots of the professional drivers' supercars. The turbocharged engines, the air intake and filters, and many other fascinating parts make them the beasts of the drift. 



# A Lighter and Fun Aspect of Formula Drift, Promo Models, and Umbrella Girls

This year, several major tire manufacturers have disappeared from the drifting scene, and gone with their signature and iconic promotional models. However, Rockstar Energy Drink has stepped up their effort and shown us the promotional modeling world is still thriving. They did not just bring one or two, but eight promotional models! They are Brittney Crowell, Raenah, Amber Wright, and Angelique Lopez, whom we have recorded. Not only did they look awesome in posing in front of our cameras, but they also helped show attendees to get their free Rockstar Energy drinks!


Type-S also brought Julia Chambers and gave us a great opportunity to take some awesome photos of her beautiful self. Plus Throdle has brought their models, Kelso and Jacquelin.


We would say it's a pretty good presence with so many promotional models! 


# Super Fan Track Walking and Hall of Fame Induction 

Before the opening ceremony, there were about 20 minutes of super fans walking on the track and taking pictures with their adoring drivers. It's a total show of their admiration for these top-tier professional hero drivers. 


There was also the first time induction to the Formula Drift Hall of Fame, with the prize of a unique FDHOF ring, which is custom-made with $10K worth of diamonds and gemstones.



# Formula Drift 2023 Round 1 Long Beach Opening Ceremony 

The opening ceremony is always an exciting segment of the event. There is no competition to worry about. All the final 16 cars lined up on the track in front of the grandstand with drivers and umbrella girls by their sides. Drivers had a great time talking to each other and waving to their beloved fans.


The first in order is the sworn-in ceremony of the newly recruited brave souls to the military. Then the national anthem was sung by three beautiful voices together.  


The time has come back to the sweat-dripping and heart-pumping champion competitions. 



# Final Racing to the Long Beach Champions

The final races to reach the top were nothing but nail-biting and surprises. Several top racers were eliminated at the earlier stage. That did not make the final survivors easier to do their job. 


Bumper flying is not uncommon, and sometimes, some cars were racing without their hood. From the machine's perspective, it's chasing the dream down to the bone!


The final 8 were Tuerck, Hurst, Chapentier, Wang, Deane, Aasbo, DeNofa, Field. Who would be the top 3??



(photos by RR Lopez)

# The Top Three Racers at the Round One, Long Beach Season Opener

After the smoke is blown away, the winners emerged from the long two-day competitions. We have the winners of the Formula Drift Round 1 Long Beach:

  • 1st Place - Matt Field

  • 2nd Place - Rome Charpentier

  • 3rd Place - Fredric Aasbo

The huge drama has settled, and we will see them in the future rounds of Formula Drift.

# Abundant Vendors Next to The Pit Stops 

Besides the noises and smoke, there was a quieter (somewhat) venue that hosted the many vendors at the event. It's such an easy and happy place to have a purchase, or a free bag, or a sticker, or a hotdog if one found their self hungry. 

# Vendors' Cool Display Cars and Huge Car Show 

Formula Drift is a show of power and control. Besides the ones on the track, there are many highly tuned and mod'd cars at the vendor area and car show venue. 


Many JDM cars showed up and dominated the scene. There were so many customization and upgrades that can easily take a whole day just check out these cars.



# Formula Drift 2023 Season Started With a Huge Bang! Fans Simply Can't Have Enough!

The 2023 Formula Drift introduced several new procedures, including rotating judges and commentators. Also, the Formula Drift Hall of Fame celebrates the legends. 


Fans were simply excited to experience the adrenaline-rushing racing sequences. There were so many unexpected incidents and unknown factors that kept the fans on the edge of their seats. 



# It's Such a Job Very Well Done and Our Contributor RR Lopez

We totally love the series, and cannot wait to go to the Irwindale final round to witness the 2023 champions!


Our hats off to the Formula Drift Team for making such an amazing series and mainstream industry! 


We also want to thank our contributing photographer RR Lopez, who brought us so many precise captures of the racing moments as well as the fun lifestyle vendor/model pictures.

Here are more coverage photos from the W&HM's in-person coverage:



A journalistic and creative community of autos, models, and motorsports.
We publish in print, web, and extensively on social media platforms.


  • For any requests or questions, please
  • Follow us on Instagram: @wheelsandheelsmag


We invite you to participate in this community and showcase your work on a global network


Post a Comment