Passion, mania, addiction, appetite; as humans we all possess interests we savor. Waking up at 4:00 AM to make the media meeting 5 hours away in Braselton was way too easy. Knowing the days ahead would be difficult, I motivated myself to push because I would be combining my obsession for motorsport with my attachment to photography for the next 48 hours. Luckily, the ride was smooth with no problems and ended up arriving in Braselton, GA just in time to make the media briefing.
This was my second time at Road Atlanta; I was confident and ready to begin the day. From the top of the hill I could hear loud music, I knew this was coming from the Paddock Area. Being my first Formula Drift attendance, I had no idea what to expect. Immediately, I could feel the atmosphere in the Paddock Area. Road Atlanta, in my eyes, offers the most fan friendly experience, creating a remarkable pre-drift experience. After 30 minutes in the Paddock, I knew right away that this would be a fantastic weekend.
Meeting the drivers was inspiring for the fans in line waiting for autographs on t-shirts, tires, hats, and even camera lenses. Possibly the most inspiring for me was Dai Yoshihara. Dai introduced stickers for purchase to those in line in favor of Japan’s recent natural disaster. I spoke with Dai personally and he strives to hit $100,000 by the end of the season! The best part is, Dai isn’t the only driver in support of his fund… it seemed every driver had their mind on Japan that day. Seeing their support for the country their sport originated in revealed that they have much more interest in what they do than just money.
After meeting the drivers, I couldn’t wait to see them on the track. Just the thought of ripping my e-brake and counter steering made me realize that the 100mph entry on turn 1 is true insanity. Once a driver would commit to their drift, it was evident how expressive they were in the driver seat. Formula D drivers each carry their own style of grinding through the horseshoe. Drivers that landed in the gravel got right back up to the grid to run again. Aggressive angles, pure white smoke, and tight lines make this sport more than just your average 500-mile oval run.
Road Atlanta’s fantastic car culture plays well for the Formula Drift series. Anyone and everyone will admit that after this event that they will be hooked for the rest of the season and continue to follow in the future. Round two is sure to leave a footprint on drifting much like the Georgia red clay footprint you bring home with you that night. Round 2 has done one main thing for me, and that’s my decision to attend Round 3 this June in hope to experience this all over again.
:. Colin Perschbacher