EVENT: On the line at Formula Drift ATL

Posted by Jordan Butters on 19th May 2014

Champion_vs_champion

The startline is one of the most intense places at Formula Drift Road Atlanta. To put it subtly, it’s crazy. Teams working on cars, drivers doing burnouts, and then there’s the actual line.

Michael_Essa_helmet

In addition to all of the action, the drivers are under a lot of mental pressure while they’re waiting for the lights to go out.

Ryan_Tuerck_night_burnout

They’re preparing physically and mentally to hopefully beat the guy next to them.

Vaughn_Gittin_dirt_drop

It makes you wonder how much the little things that happen in the heads of the drivers up here can affect what happens on track. Could a bit of high nerves at the start line cause a driver to go off course and lose a battle?

Vaughn_Gittin_drift_1

Or could a perfectly balanced mental state set the tone for a perfect run?

Ryan_Tuerck_donut

Before pulling to the line, every driver warms up the tires by shredding them to pieces, but each driver does it differently. Ryan Tuerck likes to do donuts.

Charles_Ng_burnout

Charles Ng likes to do a burnout.

Conrad_Grunewald_statline

Once they’re done warming up the tires, they pull to the line and wait to be let loose.

Nate_Hamilton

This, I imagine, is the most mentally intense part of the whole run: sitting at the line next next to the guy you’re trying to beat, hoping to put down an awesome run but never knowing exactly what will happen.

Ken_Gushi_helmet

Once the lights go out, they let it rip.

Dai_Yoshihara

Since there is so much going on up here, everyone has to stay very aware at all times. No one wants to get hit by a 1000hp BRZ!

Jeff_Stoneback

Besides all of the intense things going on, the start line is actually pretty fun; the drivers have a good time up here.

Brandon_Whitnick< The guys love doing burnouts! Andy_Hately

Here’s Andy Hately in his orange BMW as happy as he can be!

Daigo_Saito

Daigo Saito usually doesn’t show much emotion. Silent ninja style.

Fredrick_Aasbo_cockpit

Sometimes I feel guilty being a media guy; I have a pass to get as close to the drivers and cars as I want to but I don’t always get to fully enjoy it because I’m looking through my viewfinder. I have all the access that any fan ever wanted but I don’t get to take full advantage of it.

Michael_Essa_windshield

Nonetheless, its cool to get up close and see the emotion on the drivers faces before they head into battle.

Michael_Essa_headlights

As the event weekend moves from practice, to qualifying, to competition, the mood at the top of the track is heightened.

Vaughn_Gittin_startline

The instant a driver comes back in, another goes out in boisterous fashion.

Danny_George

At one point during practice on Friday, the Georgia rain gods opened up, but the drivers didn’t hesitate for a second.

Ryan_Kado_off_course

But, of course, there was some carnage.

Vaughn_Gittin_drift_2

The track workers quickly towed out any cars that were off course, and the action immediately resumed.

Vaughn_Gittin_windshield

Eventually it dried up and the competition was fierce.

Fredric_Aasbo_donut

With smoke covering the track, rubber flying everywhere, and rev limiters popping constantly, the start line is chaos at Road Atlanta. And its absolutely awesome!

Champaigne_Spray

Stay tuned for a full event recap of Formula Drift round two: Road Atlanta!

Words & photos: Brad Hodgin Instagram: @bradhodgin

Written by Jordan Butters

Jordan Butters

Writer, freelance photographer and Editor of Drifted. Follow @jordanbutters on Instagram

Commentsb

  • Saito is always in his head and calm exactly like a ninja should be. I imagine the tension has to be beyond intense the silent stare down from the driver next you trying to match his speed or trying to pull away i love it ! From one fan to another don’t feel guilty bro!! If it wasn’t for you along with people like you i would have no footage and would never be able to see ATL or was able to see it due to livestream being down but no worries next event !! Only because i had you to bring me every bit of it and i thank you.

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