SEMA 2023: Drift Cars

Drifting has been a huge part of my history and hopefully future.

It all started with being a fan of the British Drift Championship and Drift Allstars (or JDM All stars as it was known when I got into drifting.) When I was 18 I even took myself out to Atlanta for a round of Formula Drift.

I then got into RC drifting – I did some competitions with an organisation called D1RC. Around that time I got ill and started a company called Garage-R, through which I imported body shells and bits for RC cars along with doing vinyl graphics as I couldn’t work a normal job at that time.

Then this blog came to be. It started with RC drifting, then I did regular write ups of my local drifting competition, King of the Ring, at the banger racing track Arena Essex (RIP).

In 2019 I felt well enough to go back to the States. I went back to Atlanta for Formula Drift and then the same year I attended my first SEMA Show.

You can read about most of my exploits through the ‘Drifting’ catagory on this website which can be found here:

It’s always nice to see some of my favourite drivers and cars at the SEMA show.

SEMA this year had an area called Shell Performance Unbound (full blog post on that area coming soon and will be linked here). The drivers from RTR Vehicles were doing drift demos throughout the week.

This is team leader Vaughn Gittin Jr’s Mustang. Vaughn took a year away from competing at Formula Drift to manage the team. The drivers this year were Chelsea DeNofa, Adam LZ and James Deane. It was great to see him driving at this event!

This is James Deane’s car. James has an injured arm from a crash at Irwindale so he was sharing the driving with Adam LZ.

The 2023 Formula Drift season champion Chelsea DeNofa. He has ended on a high as he has decided to step away from Formula Drift. I’m excited to see what the future holds for him!

Justin Pawlak’s iconic Falken liveried Mustang was over by the Bronze Lot. I only saw the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational Challenge on the Bronze Lot, but I believe there were also drift demos over there too as there were a number of drift cars in the area.

Chris Forsberg’s Altimaniac based very loosely on a Nissan Altima. I agree with Chris, FD need to bend the rule book a bit to make this competition legal haha!

It was really cool to see Tanner Foust’s VW Passat drift car in person! I know it was quite controversial at the time as it was originally a front wheel drive platform. I think the car is an incredible bit of engineering and is really cool!

It’s always great to see Kelsey Rowlings. She’s a great driver and a great personality in the U.S drift scene.

Over on the Hoonigan section (again, blog post coming soon!) was Chris Forsberg’s competition Nissan Z. Nissan, please let us have these in the U.K!

There was also Ben Hobson’s Bakchis Motorsport 240sx.

Inside the Convention Center itself was Nate Hamilton’s freshly built Toyota GR86.

Dylan Hughes Toyota 2JZ powered BMW E46.

Finally we have Adam Knapik’s S14.

There were Formula Drift demos at SEMA Fest, which came after the main SEMA Show. There will be a post coming about that soon which will be linked here!

Thanks for reading!

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By Richard Francis

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