A lot of hype has been surrounding a young man out of San Jose, California ever since October 13th, 2012. That was the night Matt Field made a lasting impression on Formula Drift. After 4 intense runs against one of the world’s most widely known drifters, Daigo Saito, Matt was defeated. But, the crowd at Irwindale Speedway and the internet went wild for days, even weeks after. It still gets brought up to this day how the privateer out of Nor-Cal almost took out one of the toughest competitors Formula Drift has ever seen.
One thing I find really cool about drifting besides the cars and the smoke and the tandems, are the places they’re built. Now that I have a camera, I find absolutely no problem with barging into a shop to take some photos of the vehicles being prepped for carnage, provided I know the people of course. That took me out to North Hollywood to see my buddy Jef Groff. I met this cool dude in Top Drift this year and absolutely fell in love with his car. Working around a BMW all year sort of gave me a soft spot for them, and for good reason too!
Joe Tardiff is a man amongst men. It was Top Drift round 3 when I met him, and from then, on it has been great knowing him. Whenever I see him, he’s never upset. Not once have I seen the guy get mad at anything at the track. Calm. Cool. Collected. Smiles. These are only a few of the many words that come to mind when I think of him. I had the opportunity to get a quick interview with Joe on his lunch break, and I must say that it was a pleasure.
In the first 2 articles of “What It Takes”, we visited the subjects of the cars and also the behind the scenes work. So, at the FD finale, I went around and basically asked some questions that I could use to bring this series of articles to a soft landing. I feel we’ve learned a lot in the first 2 articles, and I hope that by reading these, any driver looking to enter Formula Drift can say that it helped them prepare for the big stage.
Drifting is about making your mark. You have to find a way to set yourself apart from all the other drivers and cars. 2 guys that manage to do just that, are Rapper Dan Savage and James Evans from the Sikky Manufacturing camp, who both came into Formula Drift this year with 2 cars that you definitely cannot miss. These guys saw success in the Pro 2 series with James taking a podium in Texas, and Dan taking home the Pro 2 overall championship. Besides the setup, which would obviously be tailored to either Dan or James, the cars are extremely similar.
As we learned in the last article, a beast of a machine under your foot is required to run Formula Drift. Formula D isn’t a place where your 500whp car can make it, unless you have some serious skill or a beefy setup with enough grip that allows you to change the Earth’s rotation at any given time. But, it’s not just the car that makes you successful in Formula D, you have to know everything behind the scenes. It’s more than just hopping in the car and driving. As a follow up to the first “What It Takes” article, I decided to go deeper with the drivers and show a little more behind the scenes, and how dedicated you have to be in order to run a season of Formula Drift.