EVENTS: Formula D Round One / AE86 Nights, Part 01

4753_Scion FRS Greddy Ken Gushi

Toyotaku in southern California had plenty to keep them occupied this past weekend, with not one but two events showcasing the venerable AE86 and its successor, the Scion FR-S

4267_Toyota Corolla AE86

The 86 celebration kicked off with the Formula D season opener, a drifting extravaganza on the streets of Long Beach. The tenth season of America’s premier sanctioned drift series kicked off with a sold out crowd as drivers battled to be crowned car control king.

4470_Toyota Corolla AE86

This year the organizers let in many more rookie drivers, resulting in a higher than average showing of AE86s. After a decade of sanctioned drifting, it’s still the weapon of choice for those who don’t have mega sponsor-backed budgets.

4448_Toyota Corolla AE86

Despite being rookies, some had pretty impressive builds nonetheless, like this1UZ-powered hachiroku. With early Lexuses available for dirt cheap prices these days, the 1UZ has practically become the small block Chevy V8 of Japanese cars.

4612_Toyota Corolla AE86 Taka Aono

Taka Aono of Drift Day and Club4AG, however, has been the lone pro holdout representing the AE86 for what seems like an eternity now, even as the rest of the field adopted big horsepower rides over the years.

4618_Scion FRS Ryan Tuerck

Or course, the logical choice for many pros was the new Scion FR-SRyan Tuerck‘s Retacks FR-S was this close to sporting vintage Toyota racing colors. If only his car was white.

4395_Scion FRS Tony Angelo

Tony Angelo‘s Air Force sponsored machine sported awesome livery inspired by the P-51 Mustang. That’s right, an American WWII fighter plane on a Japanese car sponsored by the USAF — proof that hatchets can be buried!

4738_Subaru BRZ Toshiki Yoshioka

The Scion’s lone twin was Toshiki Yoshioka‘s Tomei Subaru BRZ. It probably wears the most JDM livery out of all the drifters. It’s great to see the legendary Japanese tuning house have a presence at a drift event on US soil.

3390_Datsun 510 Nissan Bluebird 01

No Formula D event would be complete without the accompanying car show. Though there weren’t as many nostalgics present as in the final round of 2012, I still found a few notable examples to be shot.

3397_Datsun 510 Nissan Bluebird 0

This ultra-clean Datsun 510 sedan was the highlight of the show as far as JNCs were concerned.

3401_Datsun 510 Nissan Bluebird 0

A few years ago there’d be only one clear “classic” in this photo, but nowadays the 510 can hold its own beside a similarly silver 1967 Chevelle.

3343_Toyota Corolla E70

Speaking of muscle, the “Midnight Squad” E70 Corolla had a Chevy LS motor shoehorned into the engine bay.

3329_Toyota Corolla TE72 Wagon

Unfortunately this “modern-ed out” TE72 wagon concludes the Jtin presence at the show. However, it should be noted that the spectator parking lot was rife with old school Japanese cars. Seeing them outside a huge motorsports event hearkens back to the old days when kaido racers would flock to Fuji Speedway to watch the touring car races.

4737_Nissan S13 Dai Yoshihara

In the end it was Dai Yoshihara in his 1993 S13, the hachiroku’s nemesis, that took home the Round One championship, with Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his RTR Mustang in second and Chris Forsberg in his 370Z in third.

Although the results of Formula D concludes Part 01 of our coverage, that night was also the sixth anniversary of SoCal’s AE86 Nights meet. In Part 02, we’ll check out the grassroots gathering of RWD Toyota fans and see how the scene is evolving on the flip side.

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5 Responses to EVENTS: Formula D Round One / AE86 Nights, Part 01

  1. Killer Tofu said:

    Unless that LS Corolla has glue on the back tires, a Miata (MX5) could probably beat it off the line!

  2. Nigel said:

    Nice to see the new FR-S/ 86 kicking ass at Formula D.
    (And some Hachi Roku also).

  3. Ryan said:

    That 510 is gorgeous!

  4. John M said:

    The pics from Skorj, Ben, Jason and others have always been good, but it seems like recently they have even gone up another level. Impressive!

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