We’ve been lucky enough to start off the Formula Drift season with pretty consistent finishes. Earning multiple top three qualifying positions and avoiding Top 32 or Top 16 losses are important feats when you’re aiming for the top of the championship standings.
At the same time, up until round 4 in Seattle, we had yet to move on from the round of 8. Last year saw us get into a couple finals, and even though our focus is on the overall championship, it goes without saying that we have our eyes set pretty firm on those carbon trophies as well.
So in order to bring my driving to that next level, I did the only thing I knew: I headed back home, and took on a parallel season of straight up track hoonage: The 2013 Gatebil season.
Gatebil means street car in Norwegian, and having started off as a one day event allowing people to test out their daily drivers on track. Today, it’s become a five event circus of four day long, 24/7 automotive, party and music festivals that attract up to 45 000 spectators and 1000 race and display cars per event.
Allowing up to 100 cars on track at the same time and with very sparse track regulations, this is the ultimate when it comes to letting it all hang out.
Weaving through traffic going as fast as you can and making friends from across the world in the process is something truly unique. This year, American stars Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Ryan Tuerck mixed it up with drivers from across Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. My Speedhunters teammate Mad Mike Whiddett returned from New Zealand, and guests from Japan and Australia made the Gatebil Sweden in June and Gatebil Norway weekends in July, making it a huge come together for drift fans from across the world.
Driving wise, these events are great practice as you learn how to expect the unexpected – a skill that is definitely key to make it through alive in Formula Drift.
And as Sunday afternoon comes along, so does the Powerslide competition, which is a solo drift competition with a twist – all two wheel drive and four wheel drive participants are invited to see who can make the most smoke while hitting all the clipping points at the same time. The event runs with an elimination setup where 30 drivers qualify into the main event, which gets narrowed down to 6 drivers, then 3, before a winner is finally chosen.
When all was said and done, we were able to take our Speedhunters Toyota 86-X to back to back to wins in Sweden and in Norway. A great feat by all my buddies and partners out in Europe, who made sure the 86-X ran super strong both weekends!
Heading into Seattle with this newfound confidence was a big deal, and after qualifying second on Friday, we took it all the way to third place and a podium finish on Saturday.
We now have one of the absolutely best cars on the grid, and I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to the guys of Papadakis Racing, Scion Racing and Hankook Tire for putting together a package that continues to blow my mind.
Can’t wait for Round 6 in Texas now!!
– Fredric Aasbo