Coming into the second round of the 2019 Formula DRIFT season in Orlando, FL for the AutoZone Scorched presented by Black Magic, many teams and drivers had a lot to prove. In the Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship, Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis had taken the win at the opening round in Long Beach, CA while the top three drivers from 2018 were not able to make the podium. As a result, the capacity crowd were assured fireworks on the banked Orlando course as the top teams tried to get their season back on track.
Sitting around in the north east of England in February, a person’s mind turns to how to break the winter blues, and that normally means starting to look at the calendar and planning a trip abroad. Looking over the FD schedule I initially started with the standard dates I look at, New Jersey and Irwindale but the one that jumped out was round 1 at Long Beach. It’s a track I’ve never shot and meant I could look at attending the Grand Prix of Long Beach the following weekend. A couple of days of checking flights and hotels and I was telling my day boss that I was taking pretty much the whole of April off…I already had the Easter weekend all booked for Drift Games round 1 in Ireland.
Once again the Streets of Long Beach was taken over with the smell and sound of burning rubber, as Formula Drift made its return to the famous city street course to kick off its 2019 season.
With the 2018 season widely regarded as one of the most exciting in the series’ 15-year history, 2019 has all the ingredients for the most intense competition to date. And because nothing sits still, Formula DRIFT is welcoming new sponsors, drivers and cars to the series.
There are six rookies in the 2019 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship, for whom the O’Reilly Auto Parts Streets of Long Beach presented by Permatex would be their first competitive outing on the Californian street course. They include three drivers from overseas and three inductees from the Formula DRIFT Link ECU Pro 2 Championship. The top three from the drifting feeder championship are title winner Travis Reeder plus runners up Dylan Hughes and Sebastien Gauthier.
In a ceremony that took place on Monday, October 8, 2018 in front of the Battleship Iowa in the Port of Los Angeles, Chris Forsberg was singled out for his outstanding success in the Formula DRIFT series over the past 15 years.
The LA Sportswalk of Fame began in 1978 to honor the men and women who reach the top of their sports. For 2018, Chris Forsberg was among 11 athletes selected for the award. He stood alongside NASCAR, IndyCar and off-road legend, Robby Gordon, as well as 11-time Baja champion, Johnny Campbell. Other notable inductees included football Hall of Fame star Lynn Swann and baseball champion, Mike Scioscia.
Chris earned his place by virtue of being the most successful Formula DRIFT driver, with three championship titles earned in 2009, 2014 and 2016. He’s currently the second most successful in terms of round wins, with nine to his name, and has 36 podium places, which is more than any FD driver. Being the only driver to have competed in every round of the series, and one of four to have been in the series since day one, Chris has an amazing record and isn’t about to call it a day – he currently sits fourth in the 2018 FD Pro standings going into the Final Round this weekend. He boasts a round win in Orlando among his impressive 2018 points tally.
As a true champion, Chris arrived at the ceremony in proper DRIFT style, sliding his NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z on Nexen Tires in figure-8s around the dock. He then thanked Chris Agajanian and family for the nomination and briefly recapped his career, acknowledging the support of his wife and the importance of taking kids off the street, helping them to learn car control in a safe environment. He thanked the Agajanian family for recognizing the sport and proudly accepted his award.
The Los Angeles Sportswalk Of Fame began in San Pedro, CA as a celebration of local athletes. Originally known as the San Pedro Sportswalk to the Waterfront, the name was changed in 2017 to reflect the growth of the project and its move to the Port of Los Angeles. Each inductee is honored with a bronze plaque and these can be found installed on the sidewalks of downtown San Pedro, centered around 6th Street and Mesa Street. For more information visit lasportswalk.org
Formula DRIFT arrived at Road Atlanta this weekend for the NAPA Auto Parts: Road to the Championship presented by Rain X. Round Three would be the first time in 2018 that the Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship would run alongside the Formula DRIFT Linked ECU Pro2 Championship. The series was also joined by Global Time Attack and the US F4 championship to give fans an action-packed weekend.