“Are we there yet?”
Well almost. With the days feeling like they’ve kicked down a gear and hit the accelerator, teams are well into the mad dash of re-assembly with some having already eclipsed the re-engineering challenges, gathered copious stacks of preseason tires and headed out for testing. Although sans body panels, these cars look like large, articulating, smoke and fire bellowing spiders as they seamlessly glide over the track at speed. With the information limited to what a driver or team posts to social media, here are some stories that came to light recently:
1. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!!!” And that’s the sentiment echoed for a myriad of activities; drifting is no different. Jhonnathan Castro, Rad Dan Burkett, Frederic Aasbo and Ola Jaeger teamed up as an unofficial Team Toyota for some ice drifting in the Nordic realm. As unhinged and fun as it could be, see Aasbo’s and Tors Andres’ supra tandem last year, this is also teaching and learning aids for the upcoming season. Could we see a reappearance of Castro’s chasing demon from ’17 Orlando that took out James Deane? Is Rad Dan’s sparks of brilliance going to reignite into crazy consistency? Will Ola make Chucky a giant killer once again? Will Aasbo leave the House of Drift as a champion again? Oh we can’t wait.
2. Kyle Mohan has been having some struggles getting a handle on the short wheelbased Miata. The 3 rotor 20B powerplant is solid, pumping out 1000hp on ethanol; but even with such a screamer under the bonnet, its twitchy and unpredictable handling was too much to cope with. Even though we saw some of Kyle’s raw driving talent shine through in 2018 (most notably in FDAtl when he faced a very on point Piotr Wiecek), he struggled with confidence, thus compromising his performances whilst in competition. Enter the rx8. Again!! Kyle is putting all his tricks back into the rx8, albeit the newer chassis. The motor setup may be along the same lines as in the corn consuming ND miata chassis and as Kyle already has some development work in the rx8, it’s only a matter of time before he’s on form. Representing with the only rotary powered vehicle in top 32, we’re eager to see a podium.
3. Kevin Lawrence is bringing the heat with his tried and true S14.3. Representing the Nissan RB brigade, Kevin has weaponized his 6 cylinders to 3.2 liters of screaming savagery. Even though he qualified at every round except the last round at Irwindale, where he was incredibly disappointed, Kevin is no longer 1 of the smaller displacement engines that’s extremely high strung to be able to compete with everyone else and show them that the venerable JZ isn’t the only JDM 6 cylinder they should be afraid of. The extra displacement should yield more power, more torque and more reliability.
tick tock tick tock….FDLB is on the clock!!!