Riding in Formula Drift Cars is INSANE!
Toyota invited me to the Formula Drift Long Beach 2018 test day, and it was beyond epic.
April 6 is the kick-off date for the 2018 Formula Drift season. The opening event, Formula Drift Long Beach, is right in my ‘hood, just a few miles from my place. That’s very handy when a manufacturer, like Toyota, rings up and asks if I want to go check out FD Long Beach during the team test day. Naturally, I was in.
Formula Drift Long Beach happens just outside of Downtown, right on the oceanfront. It also happens to take place on part of the Long Beach Grand Prix circuit, an event that is happening next weekend. Yours truly will be there for that, too. Toyota has a huge motorsports presence, in both FD and the GP. If you needed further proof, just look at the 2018 field of entrants in Formula Drift, as about half the field is in a Toyota vehicle, or using a Toyota engine of some sort.
Now, 2018 brings with it many changes in the FD field, and, again, for Toyota in particular. This will be the debut season of their 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback FD chassis, piloted by Formula Drift champion Fredric Aasbo. So, FD Long Beach will be the inaugural event for this brand-new platform, and all eyes will be on Aasbo and his new ride.
All of that means that this FD test day, which happens just days before the real deal, is crucial for the Toyota Racing team.
That’s a Corolla?
Oh yeah. For the all-new 2019 Corolla, Toyota injected some serious flavor into things. The standard road car is a handsome little hatchback. To be frank, myself, and, really, everyone else, was surprised at the amount of style coming from the new Corolla.
It makes a pretty convincing race car once you bolt some fender flares onto it, too.
As is the way for Fredric Aasbo’s Toyota Racing team, they take humble hatchbacks, and convert them into rear-wheel drive, 1,000-horsepower drift machines. The precedent was set with the Scion tC, and Toyota Corolla iM Formula Drift programs. It may seem odd to see a little hatchback lighting up the rear tires, but the team clearly knows what they are doing.
Despite being an all-new platform, Aasbo and crew had the little FD Corolla dialed in and mercilessly slaying those Nexen SUR4G tires in no time. Want to know more about the insane FD Corolla? Head over to our sister site, ScionLife, to read more about it.
In fact, the overall level of driving at this caliber of motorsport was truly incredible. In the video above, I rode along with another Formula Drift champ, Ryan Tuerck, on his very first run on the course. Despite it being his first time on track, he laid down an absolute banger of a run. Check out the in-car footage, I captured, it’s nuts. These guys are approaching Turn 1 at the top of 4th, and sometimes 5th gear, and flicking the cars in almost 90° sideways.