September 13th, 2009 by carl
Ok boys and girls, after having done two Formula D events, we took a great step forward in my 3rd ever Formula D event which was Las Vegas, by qualifying 7th(!). I think we can be pretty proud over how fast this small team, with great support from friends and sponsors, has gotten a whole lot of things right with the car.
It was a truly eventful weekend again, just like at Long Beach when everything was new but made top 32 first time in FD, and at Atlanta when the gearbox was completely gone by qualifying (I was lucky to pull it off anyway with some creative driving to make top 32). That time we swapped the gearbox until 5 in the morning and made some good tandem runs against Darren MacNamara who went on to podium.
By the time Las Vegas came around, we had developed and setup the car to a level where it was finally like it should be to drive. We had an amazing team effort just before qualifying, as the rear camber and toe arms snapped when I was scrubbing off the tires for my first qualifying run. Just like that. Wow. Glad that didn’t happen during a run on the course.
To fix it before qualifying run 2, evveryone went in different directions to get stuff or get hold of people. Not easy with almost everyone out on the grid! Forsberg offered up one arm, we got a welding machine from Rene’s Motorsports, but where is any sufficient power to run it??? Dynamics came to the rescue on that one. Now, who can weld aluminum..! Rene himself showed up, clock ticking fast now. Most cars had done qualifying run number 1… With express speed our super tech Oskar got the arms on, I barely had time to get the helmet and seatbelts sorted out. In my head - one shot only, zone out everything else.
Like mentioned, with the APR and AIT parts and a well needed diet on the car, I was finally able to make full use of the grippy and smoky Hankook RS3-tires we run on, and drive like I wanted to in Vegas, not just trying to overcome difficult car behavior. This was also a new track layout - for everyone! This gave equal chances to all newcomers in FD when the teams and drivers who have been in FD many seasons before had no setups to get a head start with, or any previous track experience here.
Didn’t take long for the qualifying score summary to come up and there we go, 87.5p! This was a big reward for all the work so far, finally. Now we know. For SURE.
Here’s a video of the second half of the qualifying (if someone has a full video from qualifying including the 86mph entry let me know and I will post it up).
Later; ran some practice, followed a slow car who lost the drift, later lined up with Dai. Left some space, but grip had rapidly disappeared and still being close to the edge, I tapped the tire wall. The team got some work on their hands but car was fine for warm-up.
Next day - warmup. Now it was pretty well known it was getting slippery out there, many cars had brushed or hit the wall. This fact and rememering the close call last night I took it easy, lower revs and initated really early… but believe me I was seriously surprised over literally no grip at all, not just low grip, really really no grip. Couldn’t get speed to scrub off enough. A mix of factors left me needing an additional 2 car lengths, this would have been enough to avoid hitting the wall…
Very sad moment, no chance to get the car fixed fast enough to make the competition rounds, to be able to follow up on a very good qualifying and car setup, so that was our end of that FD event.
Moving forward, we brought home some pretty cool statistics after only my 3rd ever FD competition, a pretty nice reward for the work done to make the car competitive;
Qualify in top 8 - Check.
Qualify ahead of reigning World Champion - Check.
Qualify ahead of reigning Formula D Champion - Check.
Qualify ahead of a 2-time Formula D Champion - Check.
Qualify ahead of 2009 points leader - Check.
Qualifying speed full points - Check.
These facts bring some pretty solid determination to our upcoming efforts and expectations. You can easily say we have raised the bar and from here on drift life with the City Tire / Kallusive Clothing Formula Drift Team will get even more exciting.
Next stop and season finale is: Irwindale Speedway! To this round we will come armed with a new open lightweight straight single pipe exhaust (another 50lbs lost on the car), raw engine sound and more torque. Don’t miss it!!!!