Drift talents such as Vaughin Gittin Jr., Mad Mike, Forrest Wang, and returning 2015 champion Fredric Aasbo have returned for the start of their 2016 series on Turns 9, 10, and 11 of the Toyota Grand Prix Long Beach street course make up the ‘Streets of Long Beach,’ the 2016 season opening event for the 2016 Formula Drift season.
Historically, day one of the event is reserved for practice runs and qualifying runs. Poor weather conditions have set this series off with quite an aggressive challenge as the track was wet, causing variable driving conditions. These conditions resulted in encouraged practice runs, though tandem practice runs were scarce with the near constant California rain.
While the rain limited the drifting, it did not slow down the drivers whom were consistently back and forth from driver meetings, to the paddock, and back to the track with interviews in between along with scarce autographs.
After winning the 2015 Pro 2 season, Peruvian driver, Alex Helibrunn, is set to make his debut as a Formula Drift Pro at Round One: the Streets of Long Beach.
Helibrunn used an E46 BMW with a Chevy V8 under the hood to dominate the Pro 2 class. With new sponsors going into the Pro level, Heilbrunn plans to use the same platform though the Pro car has received some major upgrades over his Pro 2 car. Heilbrunn is driving alongside teammates Vaughn Gitten Jr. and Mad Mike Whiddett.
CSJ: How do you feel coming into this season?
Helibrunn: Coming into this season is my first Pro 1 season, we did Pro 2 last year and won the championship. We are really excited to see how we are going to do with the big guys this season. There are a lot of expectations for me to prove because of my results last year. I’m just excited and really
World Champion Drifter, Vaughn Gittin Jr., is kicking off Round One: Streets of Long Beach, by competing in his 2016 Mustang RTR for the 2016 Formula Drift season.
Highlights of the car include that it has over 900 horsepower, a curb weight of less than 3,000 pounds, along with independent rear suspension. Despite poor weather conditions, Gittin Jr. will be a force to be reckoned with.
CSJ: How do you think this weather is going to affect your performance in Round One?
Gittin Jr.: Drifting in the rain is a big challenge, but the fact that this is a street circuit is a bigger challenge because the grease from all of the cars. Oil comes up from out of the ground and sits on top of the road and it’s just an ice skating rink. It’s really going to be like driving on eggshells and trying to really connect the course.
Defending Sprint Cup champion, Kyle Busch, led 352 of the 500 laps that make up the STP 500, held at Martinsville Speedway, earning both his first win of the 2016 season, and first win at the historic track.
Second place was awarded to A.J. Allmendinger, with Kyle Larson third, Austin Dillon fourth and Brad Keselowski fifth.
“This was one of the best race cars I’ve had here in a long, long time,” Busch said. “Just being able to have the confidence in the car and the belief in the grip of the car that we had that it really helped me be able to just run up front, and I could actually run up front and take care of my equipment all day long. That really just sort of set the tone for the day.”
Despite leading over half the race, Busch needed to withstand a restart with 11 laps remaining in the race. Busch
Scott Dixon won the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar series, April 2, at Phoenix International Raceway. Of 250 laps that make up the Grand Prix, Dixon led the last 159 laps in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 9 Chevy at 19.8034.
This is Dixion’s first win in Phoenix, and the 39th of his career.
To honor IndyCars return to phoenix since 2005, Bryan Sperber and A.J. Foyt presented Dixon with the A.J. Foyt Champions trophy. Foyt was the first winner of the Phoenix Grand Prix in 1964.
Following Dixon in the Desert Diamond West Valley GP, Simon Pagenaud scored second place with Team Penske in the No. 22 Chevy 0.6825 behind Dixon, with Will Power in the No. 12 Team Penske Chev [...]