Achilles Formula Drift Singapore 2012 : Different Formula, Same Results : Burnt Rubber, Race Queens and one wild experience!

Yawns! Admittedly I woke up after a whole night of blogging. Yes! One entire night blogging about the Gardens by the Bay. And yes I was told by good ‘ol SISTIC to arrive one hour before the event starts, which is 9am (because official schedule states the starting time to be 10am). So yea, blurry-eyed me and XL reached the Changi Exhibition Centre early, but lo and behold, the organisers told us to collect the tickets only at 10am. Boo Boo to you Sistic, one more hour more could’ve given yours truly much more sleep, but given that we were far too enthusiastic about the event than to nitpick, we began snapping away. (Just note this fact that, future event organized by Sistic, it might NOT be required to reach event venues earlier than their starting times.)

My very own Race Queen

Anyway, we could already smell the smoke from burning rubber caused by the drifting, and speaking of burning rubber, stand close enough and you literally can get rubber particles stuck on your clothing as the cars drift past!

Some background info before we proceed beyond this point. Yours truly’s one and only drift experience was during the screening of the Initial D movie some years back, and yup, as much as the movie seems a tad unrealistic, it has brought about ample interest for me to see some real live action! Standing right outside, a perfect resonance of engine screech with the blaring background music ala The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, serenades my senses. Ok not exactly a serenade, but somehow as a car-loving dude, it is symphonic indeed. Senses awaken after a sleep-deprived night, we’re ready to roll!

Yea! Upon entrance, the new Toyota 86 greets us with a smile, actually more like a gnarl given that it is supposed to be Toyota’s new RWD sports car. Something really nice given the fact that Toyota has been focusing on the hybrids and Uncle-mobils (read Vios, Altis, Camry) for some time, and the last bombshell was the Celica. The 86 might have been late, given that it’s jointly developed clone, the Subaru BRZ had already made its grand appearance some months back, but hey, better late than never!

Toyota 86 on display!

The Subaru BRZ, spot the difference.

Back to the 86, back to back.

Race Queen strikes back, this time at the wheel *SHUDDERS*

pleasedontdriveitpleasedontdriveitpleasedontdriveit

On the left hand side, there are some static displays of some tuned cars, some of them being the Honda Civic EG, Mazda RX8, Skyline GTR R34, Nissan Silvia S13 and S14 as well as a Toyota Supra.

Mazda RX 8

Nissan Silvia

Hey the event states that it is time for Practice drifting. Actually it is the qualifying day which we signed up for, so those racers are actually competing to qualify for Sunday’s finals to determine the winner!

The main competitors!

Event chart

And so we had our ‘first-nose’ close up experience of the burnt rubber smell. Ehh, it actually stinks pretty bad, though purists might argue that it is the smell that gives the ‘drift experience’. No arguments about that though, but note that rubber particles do get stuck on you once the smokescreen clears!

The next event that followed was a marketing segment by Toyota , and yep, Toyota is a major sponsor of this event, and they were actually promoting their 86 RWD car. Earlier on, the 86 was driven around the walkabout area but did not make a foray into the track. So they actually had their drivers drift a stock (which means unmodified) specimen of the 86 in the track area to wow the audience. To be perfectly honest, the car has got some real promise, and it wouldn’t be surprising if modified versions will be spotted in future drift events. Non-drifting fans like myself, just enjoy the nice curves of the car and appreciate that Toyota is not giving up on their sportscar segment entirely.

Drifting in…..

….and drifting out

While we were walking around, we spotted this unique looking Lexus IS250-C drift car. The first thought was ‘woah! Bad boy!’ Whenever drift events are mentioned, the usual suspects like the GTR34, RX7, Supra etc etc is being mentioned. But a Lexus? Shouldn’t it be a luxury executive convertible instead?

‘Bad boy’ Lexus IS-C. C for Cool.

The drifter. Meeting Daigo for the first time.

Curiosity piqued us, and (heng ah!) curiosity in this case indeed did not kill the cat. We found the face rather familiar, and OMG! He’s actually the grand champion of the previous year’s FD Singapore, Daigo Saito. Being non-drift enthusiasts, we were of course not familiar with that name. But he’s just got that perfect look and charisma to be a drift king. We also discovered that he started drifting at the age of 16, and he just got the Lexus not too long ago. Another interesting tidbit about Daigo is that his father did not want him to drift when he got his driver’s licence, so he got him a Mini Cooper instead. Daigo tried to drift it but yea, it was a futile attempt and he got himself a Nissan Silvia S13. His first practice session lasted a whole 36hrs, stopping only for food and fuel, but he totaled the car just weeks after.

And yes Daigo did sign for us as well! YAY! ( sorry for sounding like a Korean fanboy )

Your’s truly with THE Lexus.

Interior of Daigo’s self-constructed machine.

I happened to chance upon the blog one of the drifters in yesterday’s events, Josh Boettcher. You can read more on his take of the entire event here. http://joshboettcher.com.au/

Josh the man

Next up came one of the most highly anticipated moments, the autograph sessions. This is where all the drivers, and their race race-queens lined up to sign autographs on memorabilia like caps and posters (which were given out free! WOOHOO! HAHA) Yup and so we began our queue, like how all good Singaporeans enjoy their favourite pastime. Being bored, I chanced upon this lady in her red dress, and decided that, well, her clothes seem to fit nicely with the backdrop of the sponsor’s tent. Wasting no time, I hijacked her to get her to post for this shot. Yee Haw! Nice right? 😛

Lady in Red that got ‘hijacked’ by Yours Truly

And the queue for autographs begins!

Huat Ahhhh!

Wah!!! Free Cap!!!! *Auntie mode on*

The only female drifter there, Hiromi Kajikuma 🙂 Respect!

HER machine. Pink, how apt indeed!

XL getting autographs from Ken Gushi, another hotshot from the drifting arena

Ken Gushi!

The amount of posters they gave out was MASSIVE! And with our loot in hand, we headed out exploring the different booths, and tadah, while walking we couldn’t help but spot the elusive McLaren MP4-12C! Ehh I would trade a whole garage of drift cars for one of these automobile candies.

YES! Mclaren MP4-12C is mine! ALL MINE!

Unbeknownst to us before the event, the walkabout area is actually very open. It consists of not only the sponsors’ areas and booths, but also the place where the cars are parked before and after they leave the track. So you totally get up close and personal with the drivers, their cars and their crew. Awesomely cool!

Inception Level 2

Ken Gushi!

9tro Race Queens

They gave me this mag, I just couldn’t reject them…. because the mag costs $5 outside!

XL with Supra

Alvin and the Chipmunks! Singaporean too! HAHA

Part of Alvin’s entourage. Notice the ‘A’ insignia on her.

The rest of his entourage! Go 555!

nice piece of collage, drifters are damn artistic 🙂

Racequeen fussing over the baby

Nissan Cefiro A31

Non-competition models

Supra’s sexy back

Daigo’s Lexus’ back. Love those spoilers.

Civic EG, display model

XL with Silvia

Epik RX 7, love this rotary classic!

Skyline R34, one of my personal favourite. Former Gozilla of the race tracks

engine bay of skyline R34

cute decal

Lexus IS 250 C Engine Bay

Yours truly helping to market the 9tro mag

When he’s not drifting, he’s soaring!

XL the race queen

Next up is the main event, the qualifying race sequences. Basically, the competitors are grade for Style, Angle, Line and Speed. There were a few Zero-pointers at the start, and we (being drift noobs) did not know why. And of course, when the results were out, it was none too surprising that reigning champion Daigo came in tops for the qualifying at 94 points.

While watching the qualifying round, I can’t help but agree that people are paying for the vicarious pleasure of seeing the competitors do something dangerous. There were some near misses and they were the ones that gathered the most attention. Otherwise, the crowd was basically more pre-occupied toggling their cameras and stuff. Even when they commentator tried to rally the crowd by saying ‘Make some noise!’, all was silent. This was what captured our attention at the start, since we were not well-informed about the drifting scene, and naturally did not have much interest prior to today’s event. It was a good eye opener for those who prefer motor-sports, but do not like the crowd and hype surrounding Formula 1. What we really enjoyed was the opportunity to get up close and personal with the cars, drivers and race queens. However, do prepare some sunblock if you wanna protect your SK II embellished skins because one would be exposed under the Sun for extended periods.

Look at this guy’s skin turning bright red. So protect yourselves if you want your fairer than fair skins!

Photography buffs would also enjoy a field trip to this event, as there were plenty of photo opportunities to hone your skills and test your new toys. There is some room for improvement, which should have been in place if the event organisers would like to entice new drift enthusiasts. Firstly, it would be helpful putting up some posters informing the public on how the scoring system worked, as well as the sequence of the race, as we were left puzzled as to why certain competitors were given ‘zero’ scores at the start. This would invariably increase the level of audience involvement. Secondly, more attention could be given to explaining the difference cars on display. This would naturally pique the interest of car enthusiasts like myself, maybe some information about car modifications?

That concludes our Formula Drift even for this weekend, though the Grand Finals was held today, we did not have sufficient moolah to attend the event twice, so there. At $30 for a whole day of activities, some freebies and the exposure to the world of motor drifting, it might be value for money for some of you, but do note that there might be initial period where you have to wait for the events to begin. So there is no need to come so early. Our recommended time to arrive would be around 1pm thereabouts, just after your lunch time. So ya, we have gained some new insights and made new forays into the field of motor drifting and will be back for next year’s event again! So till then, ciao!

Updates: Daigo Saito won this year’s Formula Drift Singapore

The Good

  • Value for money event, given  that you spend the entire weekend here, but do note that parking charges are $8.entry and the location is very inaccessible if you do not have a car.
  • Great exposure for people who do not know about drifting and are interested in the sport

The Bad

  • Inaccessible by public transport (you have to walk very far in to get to the Changi Exhibition Center)
  • Lack of other activities there. (Important note for parents who want to bring their children along: There is NO other activities besides the drift event
  • The sport of drifting might not appeal to everyone, especially due to the loud noises and smokey air of burnt rubber.

elson

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