Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by Jos Roder


Formula Drift Australia – Preview


For the first time ever, Formula Drift Asia (FDA) makes its way to Australia. On April 27th and 28th at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway, the top drifters in the world will face off against each other to find out who is crowned winner of the 1st round of the the 2013 Formula Drift Asia Championship. This is a huge moment for drift in Australia and will hopefully provide a springboard to further solidify the sports credentials and at the same time reinvigorate the national championship (ADGP) for 2013 and beyond.

It is safe to say that this event is shaping up to be the biggest event in Australian drift history, with a truly amazing driver line up heading down under. A line up that includes arguably the best drifter in the world, Daigo Saito. Saito’s drift resume says it all. He is the  2011 and 2012 Formula Drift Asia Champion, 2012 Formula Drift USA Champion and was also the 2008 D1GP Champion in Japan.

Daigo will be using his Formula Drift Asia Lexus IS250 at the event. It is the most powerful car that has ever competed in an Australian drift competition. With 1200hp on tap and bulk grip, this car will be monstering anyone who Saito ends up battling.

In addition to Saito, hugely popular Norweigan Formula Drift star and 2010 Formula Drift USA Rookie of the Year Fredric Aasbo will be in town.

Aasbo will be driving his highly anticipated and only recently finished TRD Nascar powered Toyota FT-86 prepared by RS-R. This machine is a beast and like the IS250 is just one of many amazing vehicles that will be competing at the event. Aasbo has not had much testing time in the car apart from the day at Suzuka Twin recently (check the epic clip here), so will be coming into the event as an underdog, despite the car’s potential and his driving talent. The team will no doubt be working hard with Aasbo’s feedback, to setup the car to his liking for the event throughout practice.

Many other international stars will be attending from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia and this will create a great vibe to the event no doubt.

A three strong New Zealand contingent will be heading across the Tasman and includes:

Mad Mike in the Red Bull Mazda FD RX-7. If you have not heard this car live, the admission price is justified solely for the eargasm you will experience hearing a quad rotor scream all the way to red line. For a teaser, check out this raw foot cam/outside camera video clip of the FD in action in NZ recently. Turn the speakers to 11, here.

Hugo McLean in the rotary powered Toyota AE86.

and Daynom Templeman in the NAC Insurance Mazda FD RX-7.

Not to be out done, the Australian representatives will be doing their best to satisfy the local crowd cheering them on.

Josh Boettcher is debuting his new look GT Radial/Tyreright S15. Boettcher achieved a solid 7th place overall in the 2012 FDA championship and is looking to move up the leaderboard in 2013.

Boettcher is a good bloke and is renting his newly setup SIL80 to his Indonesian team mate for the event.

jake jones
Jake Jones makes his Formula Drift Asia debut in his freshened up Advan/Yokohama S13 and is pumped about competing against some of the best drivers in the world.

Round 2 of the Australian Drift Grand Prix, Calder Park, Melbourne
Photo:JRM Photography

Rob Whyte may have lost his Monster sponsorship for 2013 after the brand pulled out of all Motorsport in Australia,  but the 2012 Australian Drifting Grand Prix Champion has picked up Achilles and retained Motul as major sponsors for the year. Whyte is a talented, consistent performer and is the reigning champion at the Thunder dome having won the 2012 ADGP event at Calder Park against Luke Fink.

Alex Kantarovski will be making a return to Formula Drift Asia in the Speedtek S13. Kantarovski has previously competed in the early years of FDA in Thailand and has been testing recently to dial his car in for the event.

There is further good news for Australian fans, with the top six drivers from Saturday’s Australian Drifting Grand Prix top 32 gaining wildcard entries into the FDA field for Sunday’s main event! For more info on the Australian Drifting Grand Prix component of the event, head to the offical ADGP website for all the latest.

The Calder Park Thunder dome is a pretty unique venue in Australia and will provide a great ampitheatre for the sights and the sounds of the event.

In the good old days, the Calder Park Thunder dome was a pretty amazing facility and attracted incredible crowds as this photo shows. Unfortunately all the outside seating has been removed, but grand stands will be installed in the in field to enable great viewing of the judged section.

Speaking of the judged section, a new layout for the event has also been revealed.

The traditional layout is being reversed in direction and a new corner added. The final turn is quite tight as there is concrete barriers either side so it will certainly provide a spectacle and allow drivers to close in under brakes as they finish their run. The run up on the banked front straight to start the judged section should provide some interesting conditions for the drivers to contend with as it slopes downward toward the first right hander and could certainly unsettle the cars. so suspension setup will prove an important piece of the puzzle. Keeping the rear of the car high with the bank through an outside clipping zone using the rear of the car would be a trickier proposition than if it was flat so perhaps judges may employ something like this for qualifying to further critique the drivers in what will be a competitive affair.

Although perhaps a predictable bet, it is hard to look past Saito as the winner at this event. Barring a mistake, Saito has the experience, the class and the vehicle to get the job done in Melbourne. I am sure an Australian driver will make the top 4 and if Beau Yates (AE86) can make the top 6 from Saturday’s ADGP Exhibition event,  he may be the one to watch in the FDA main event as far as the Australian’s go, as it is a tightening section of track and should favour the lighter cars under braking particularly.

 Drift Life is excited that this great event has been put together and credit has to go to the work the ADGP team has put in with the Formula Drift Asia crew to organise an event of this magnitude for us to enjoy.

For ticket information and to book head to Ticketmaster  .



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About the Author

Jos Roder

is the owner of Drift Life and delves deeper into drifting culture. Jos started drifting more than 10 years ago after discovering a sport existed that captured his favourite motoring endeavour, going sideways! Jos works full-time in the automotive/motorsport field as a PR Manager and Advanced Driving Instructor and currently owns a JDM S15 Nissan Silvia for drift/track/hillclimb duties.

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