Wednesday – Load In/Tech
Our first road trip of the 2022 Formula DRIFT PROSPEC season was a 14-hour drive to Orlando Speed World for Round 1. My team and I arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Entering our third year of Formula DRIFT, the SC300 was up to par with all the rules and passed tech quickly.
We are happy to announce that we pitted with Alex Lichliter and will continue to for the rest of the season. Alex and I have known each other for quite some time now, beginning from our grassroots days. It is amazing to see how we climbed up the ranks and are now competing together in one of the biggest platforms in drifting.
Thursday – Practice/Qualifying
Going into practice, my team made adjustments to the car prior to arriving based on last year’s experiences and data. After our first 3-hour practice session, the car was set up to my driving and I felt confident going into qualifying, which was under the lights! Right before qualifying, we had a 2-hour warm up session and I noticed the steering wheel getting harder after every run. The team decided to give the car a break and address the steering issues. During my first qualifying run, the car snapped on me from the steering wheel locking up off the bank, which led to a 0. I still had one more chance to qualify, but we did not have sufficient time to address the power steering issues. Thanks to my team, I was able to complete one decent pass, qualifying in the Top 32.
Friday – Top 32
The morning of Top 32, my team was able to fix the power steering issues and we were ready for my battle against Rich Whiteman. During the autograph session, it started to rain, which heavily affected practice. Thankfully, I was able to complete a couple of runs in the rain to grasp an idea on how the car would react. Working on and off the wet track conditions, I went out for my last practice lap. Coming off the bank, I heard a loud bang in the engine bay area. Immediately, I noticed the car lost power, but I was able to complete the run. Knowing that I lost a cylinder, my team tried to fix the problem right before battles. Unfortunately, the motor lost compression in cylinder 6. As I could not risk any more damages, my team and I made the difficult decision to withdraw from my Top 32 battle. It was a devasting and challenging start to the season, but I overcame numerous hurdles. I knew that my team would have my car ready for Round 2 in New Jersey, just three weeks later.
WORDS: Carlos Arrieta
PHOTOS: Scott Paul @swooshatimages | Robert Goodwin @robgoodwinphotos