Orlando Speedworld is a motorsport complex in Bithlo, Orange County in Florida. They have a drag strip, a small oval track with a sort of figure 8 section on the inside of it and a dirt course for bikes. By the looks of it from Google maps some grassroots drift events are also held there in a flat, open area.
Formula Drift would make use of the oval track. The course laid out is fast and wide with some interesting gradient changes. A different challenge to that offered by Long Beach but a challenge none the less!
The cars would start on the back straight of the oval and initiate into the first corner; a long sweeping right hand turn that makes use of the tracks banking. they would then drop from the banking onto the infield, navigating the harsh bump from the back tracked to the flat, where they would continue the right turn into one of the straight sections of the figure of 8 that slices across the inside of the oval. Once onto that straight they transition into a long left hand that runs in the shadow of the banked oval. There are two rear clipping points here so the banking is in effect being judged as a wall.
The top 5 qualifiers would get a by run through the top 32 into the top 16. These drivers were Michael Essa in the Essa Autosport BMW E36 in 5th.
James Deane in the Worthouse Nissan S15 in 4th
Ryan Tuerck in the Gumout Toyota GT86 in 3rd
Fredric Aasbo in the Rockstar Toyota Corolla iM in 2nd
Dai Yoshihara in the Turn 14 Subaru BRZ in 1st.
Nate Hamilton vs Dai Yoshihara
This is the first time Nate Hamilton has made it through the top 32 in his tie in pro. He drew an unfortunate battle against 2010 Formula Drift champion and veteran drifter Dai Yoshihara. Nate pushed hard but made a couple of errors in his chase run and Dai was able to maintain a better proximity in his chase run.
Dean Kearney vs Piotr Wiecek
Piotr absolutely stuck his Worthouse S15 to the door of the Oracle Lighting Viper and really put the pressure onto Dean. Coming through the left hand turn the pressure got too much and Dean spun. Piotr was following so closely that he slammed head first into the Viper! The judges put the fault to Dean and gave Piotr some time to get his car sorted out.
Piotr then went out and got his car caught on the wall on the outside of the first corner, dragging his car back to straight and throwing him totally off course. His advantage from the first run was now nullified and the judges had to make them go one more time.
Piotr unfortunately took damage to his car which could not be fixed in the allocated time so Dean went through to the great 8.
James Deane vs Jhonnattan Castro
The first set of runs were both spectacular and the judges unanimously decided that the battle should go to one more time.
If you watch any part of Formula Drift Orlando you have to watch the one more time run between these two. Castro’s chase run of Deane was simply run of the century. Literally centimetres separated the two cars! Deane did his best to return and his chase run would have normally won him the battle but Castro’s run was just out of this world
Michael Essa vs Kristaps Bluss
A fair fight as both are driving 900hp BMW E46s, this was a difficult battle to judge in my eyes as well. Both had very aggressive lead runs and both were unable to maintain a particularly close proximity in their chase runs. I think Kristaps made a few minor corrections in his chase run which meant Michael Essa took the place in the great 8.
Fredric Aasbo vs Matt Field
Sadly a battle cut short. Matt Field debeaded a tyre at the end of the first run and had too retire, giving Aasbo an easy victory.
Cameron Moore vs Alec Hohnadell
Truth be told, both had fairly scrappy runs. Cameron spun in the first battle though which gave Alec the immediate advantage and then in the second battle Cameron was unable to keep up with Alec.
Ryan Tuerck vs Chris Forsberg
Both of these guys have been in Formula Drift since the early days, both are a part of Drift Alliance and both have cars prepared by Nameless Performance. This was a battle between two giants and did not disappoint. The judges unanimously said that Ryan Tuerck took the win which is fair. Tuerck had the better proximity and Forsberg did have to make a couple of corrections throughout the battle.
Kyle Mohan vs Vaughn Gittin Jr
Vaughn Gittin Jr took his Mustang to the great 8 with a safe run following a spin from Kyle Mohan.
Dai Yoshihara vs Dean Kearney
Both had amazing runs but Dai was the more aggressive of the two and the judges unanimously gave him the victory.
Michael Essa vs Jhonnattan Castro
Another great set of runs. The only real differing factor was Castro went a little wide through the left hand corner in his chase run and took one of his wheels off course. Gutting as his top 16 run was just outstanding.
Fredric Aasbo vs Alec Hohnadell
Alec Hohnadell made a couple of big corrections in his chase run which gave Aasbo the advantage and ultimately the win.
Vaughn Gittin Jr vs Ryan Tuerck
Ryan Tuerck would once again have to face on of his Drift Alliance brothers and another veteran of the sport; Vaughn Gittin Jr. The first set of battles were super close and two of three judges decided to run the battles one more time.
The first battle of the second set was just as close. Vaughn was all over Tuerck throughout the track and when they changed places it looked as if Tuerck would strike back just as hard! Unfortunately in the last corner Ryan pulled off with mechanical failure giving Vaughn the win!
Dai Yoshihara vs Mike Essa
Yoshihara gave two great runs but Essa was more aggressive in his lead run and was able to mirror Yoshihara’s actions better in chase.
Since Ryan Tuerck suffered mechanical failure Yoshihara automatically takes third place and Essa goes through to the final.
Fredric Aasbo vs Vaughn Gittin Jr
Aasbo just simply dominated this battle. There is no other way to describe it, he pulled away from Gittin in the lead position and then was pretty much sitting inside Gittin’s RTR Mustang in the chase run. Superb performance from Aasbo
Fredric Aasbo vs Michael Essa
This wasn’t as clear cut as the battle between Aasbo and Gittin. Essa certainly fought back hard and it wasn’t clear which one would come out on top. It was Aasbo who took the victory though! It’s incredible that Papadakis Racing have been able to put together such an amazing drift car out of such an obscure shell and it’s also amazing that Fredric has been able to bond with it so quickly!
So in conclusion Dai Yoshihara came third, Michael Essa second and your Formula Drift Orlando winner is Fredric Aasbo!
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