One of the first events I have ever attended as a photographer and videographer was Formula Drift. Although I am not on the circuit full time anymore, it is great to stay up with the series, and better yet, attending the event when it hits my home state of New Jersey. I can usually be seen around the paddock grabbing video footage, but due to a major family obligation this year, I could only attend Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions, which didn’t leave me with a good option to cut a film.
Instead I opted to take some photos and focus on some of my friends around the paddock and the venue that is Wall Speedway. It was refreshing to step back from filming and all the stress that comes with it. Doing photography is much more laid back and a welcome change for me at these crazy drift events.
You don’t have much time to catch up with old friends so you have to make the best of the time you have. I got to the track a few hours before the media meeting to see who was around the paddock and obviously check out some of this years builds. My buddy Nate Hamilton from Dallas has one of the best looking S-chassis on the grid. The car matches everything about this young lad.
It was great to see Mats take Rookie of the Year last season. A well deserved accomplishment for a great driver. He and his father are a blast to chat with and they usually have some Canadian syrup on stash.
He has been around Formula D since its inception. Starting out as a driver and now crew chief for Drift Alliance brother, Tony Angelo. These two have been through a lot over the years and it’s great to see them still chugging away.
One of the best shops we have on the East Coast is RT Tuning out of Lansdale Pennsylvania. They provide huge support for all the local racers, especially this drifting.
Dan Savage is a driver that I have known from the early days of East Coast Pro-Am. I have seen him grow from his small little Miata, to his V8 powered S13’s. I don’t know what possessed him to run an RX-8 this year, but what I do know, is that if Dan has proper seat time in this chassis, he will become consistent and be a force to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately none of them qualified for the event but they were still in good spirits. Formula Drift has a big learning curve for rookies and after talking with them on Friday, they all seem to agree that they have learned a bunch in the three rounds they have attended thus far, and will continue to progress as the season goes on.
The media meetings are held by my friend John Pangilinan at The ID Agency. He has done a great job over the years helping people get on track as well as promoting all the media that is produced from the events.
Also from the ID Agency is Brandon Scarpelli, he is another great guy on the FD staff. He makes sure that every piece of media that comes from a Formula D event, makes it way around the internet. He has done good by me a lot in the past few years and he deserved to be mentioned. I’ll have some beer for you next time buddy.
One of my favorite grassroots film makers is Corey Denomy. I met him when he came out with Nate Hamilton those years back when we referred to him as Russell Brand do to his magnificently long black hair. He now works for Motor Trend in LA, working with Hot Rod magazine and a whole bunch of other outlets. He also prefers to be behind the camera, not in front of it.
Some love him and some hate him, I just like drinking beers with him. Jarod and I have been beer pals for quite some time and he has been announcing Formula Drift for ever. He has done so well, that other major racing sanctions like, Global Rally Cross, have hired him on to do their announcing.
Pat Mordaunt warming up his tires for a practice pass. Fun fact about this car, Pat is the fourth person to pilot this S13. It might look like crap but has given Pat the ability to make it to the Top 16 this past round.
Out on the track I ran into some more of my media brethren that I haven’t seen all year. Cody Slack is one of the most talented video makers on the scene. Check out his series with BC Racing this season, they are a blast to watch.
Another videographer from Florida that I am quite fond of is Kris Lawrence from Sweet Motion Films. He has teamed up with Cody this year and started a production company they call, Amenic7. There has been some great stuff so far from the first three rounds, check it out here.
If you are a drift fan, you know who Hert is from Hoonigan.
Mark Lenardon is another great film maker and good friend. This is his first year back on the FD circuit after taking a hiatus last season. He also works at Motor Trend with Corey and is making some great films for Geoff Stoneback this year. Check them out here.
Although I only met Geoff last year, he is a funny dude and will get you some awesome donuts if you visit him at Bob’s Donuts in California. Sorry we didn’t get beers this year buddy, maybe next time.
Shooting cars on video when they are moving is far easier than photographing them. After spending some time on the out skirts of the track, I decided it was time to get on track and see how my panning was.
Vaughn Gitten JR. and Fredrick Aasbo running the bank. These two have seen each other in competition many times and currently both 3rd and 2nd in the point chase respectively. Congrats to Aasbo on his very first, first place.
Last years champ, Michael Essa had a great qualifying run on Friday but he still sits in 13th place over all in the points chase and will have to perform flawlessly if he wants to finish in the top 5, or even top 10 this year.
Probably my favorite car in the series has to be Forest Wang’s S14. He has always had great looking cars and a killer driving style to match them. He is currently holding down the lucky number seven spot, creeping up on Justin Pawlak.
What more can you say about Chris Forsberg? He is at the top of his game for so far this season, racking four podiums in total. He is the points leader this year with a 59 point lead over Fredrick Aasbo. The next few rounds are going to be critical for Chris, but he has a solid team, and I have no doubt he will be the champ this season if he stays on track.
Even though I was only around for the day on Friday, it was refreshing to shoot Formula D from a new perspective and capture some of the scenes the event has to offer. I learned a lot about shooting stills at this and hope to perfect my skills the next time around. Thanks for reading along, it was a blast seeing everyone this weekend from old friends to new.