Seattle Evergreen Speedway is known for its high-speed and technical layout among the Formula DRIFT courses. The venue is usually held in July, but this year will be held in late September. Seattle, which is known to enter the rainy season from September, was expected to be held in the rain before the event.
Two weeks before the event, we were in the hometown of the team, Georgia to perform a two-day machine test in Atlanta. Fortunately, I could run on both wet and dry roads with the GT Radial Champiro SX2 RS used this past year. We were also able to collect data on the driving performance and setup on wet roads.
The practice run on the first day in Seattle was half wet. Thanks to the pre-test, there were no worries about the car set up on wet roads. On dry roads, the steering trouble that occurred in the previous round, the rubble only affected the car in situations where the front load was applied at the end of the bank. I ran about 5 dry practice runs, and only 1 crossed the finish line. Everything else was difficult to control in the same corner, spinning or going off course. Adjustment around the front, the ideal line was successfully obtained on the final lap, but it was a practice run that left anxiety when running on a dry road surface.
The opponent of TOP32 was from Switzerland, rookie Yves Meyer (Team Drift Force / BMW F22 EUROFIGHTER NEXEN TIRE). It was dry until my battle was about to start. I had no time to adjust my dry settings to a wet setting. I played the leading role in the first run. Because of the rain, I carefully entered the bank. As a result of my precaution, I was slow in the entry which led to Yves hitting me. It was a heavy hit. Consequently, we both ran into the wall, which caused a great amount of damage to the front and rear suspension on the left side. I was given 15 minutes of machine repair time. Repairs were completed in the last minute, then I resumed my battle.
Although repairs were made, the undercarriage was now unaligned. This resulted in my poor performance in the chase run. I managed to cut the finish line. As a result of the deliberation, it was judged that Yves had a fault, and I advanced to the TOP16.
My opponent in the TOP16 was Dylan Hughes (Team Huddy Racing / BMW E46 Achilles Radial). The road surface at the time of the TOP16 battle was completely dry. Dylan is from Washington, and his home course is Evergreen Speedway. Last year, he had the ability to break the competition and advance to the TOP8, and it was expected that the race would be close. I led the first run. Dylan was pretty close to me from the middle of the bank, but when I turned around before the final corner, my left rear and Dylan’s right front came into contact. My car’s suspension was undamaged even by this contact, but Dylan suffered damage to the suspension and was given a 5-minute timeout for repairs. Safely, they finished the repair. It was my turn to chase. The start was successful and I entered the bank at a very good distance to the opponent’s vehicle, but Dylan’s machine missed the running line, which was a big deduction for the examination, and the game was in favor of me. I advanced to the TOP8.
The TOP8 opponent was Vaughn Gittin Jr (Team RTR Motorsports / Ford Mustang RTR Nitto tire). As a Ford Works driver for many years in the American drift scene, he has had his fair share of experience. The first run was a follow run. Since the vehicle speed was outstanding on every course, I started carefully. Although I had similar timing as the opponent vehicle, he gradually increased the distance between us. Even when he had made a mistake in his lead run, the distance was far too great. It was the first run where it was noticeable that I was stuck. At the bank, when I matched the speed of Vaughn, my vehicle was out of gear and hit the rev limiter. In my lead run, I was able to carry the machine to the finish line in very good condition in both line and angle. But he was able to follow me closely and mimic most of my lines. Vaughn had outperformed me in the Judges’ eyes. Two votes for Vaughn and one vote for “One More Time”. He won.
Round.4 (Sunday) 2020年9月27日
On the second day of the doubleheader, Rd.4 will be held all day on dry roads. Taking advantage of my experience with Rd.3, I adjusted the gear to extend in order to increase the vehicle speed in the bank. At the same time, bank running changed alignment to increase lateral grip during line. I decided not to change the spring rate after meeting with the engineer of the coil maker [Yellow Speed Racing] used this season. I made adjustments for bumps and rebump.
In the practice run, the rain from last night remained on the course. And in addition to some wet spots, the road temperature was extremely low, and crashes occurred frequently during bank running. I was at the mercy of the road surface myself, and I couldn’t finish the practice run in very good condition, and soon after I felt the response of the changed setup, I ended the practice run.
The TOP32 opponent was the Ryan Litteral team (TeamKORU WORKS / NISSAN 350Z GTRadial), who was a teammate of Tori GT Radial. The first run was my lead run.
When I ran, the course was completely dry. At the end of the bank, deceleration started at the same position as the previous day, and even though it started to go down the bank, the lateral grip of the machine was oriented. As a result of the above, the machine did not fly to the target outside Zone 2. Even though I made corrections and carried the machine off the course, the accelerator off time was long and the machine did not go the way I wanted.
As I jumped into outside Zone 3 as it was, it became quite difficult to control the machine, and while it took time to turn on the accelerator Ryan jumped into the pocket of my machine.
Even though the two cars touched each other, our postures did not change and we cut the finish line. For the first run, I gave the opponent an advantage on my first run. The chase run is essential for making a come back. From the time of entering the bank, he was on his game. However, the timing of accelerator on did not match with Ryan, and as a result it will be a situation that requires hard braking. Ryan jumped into outside Zone 2 while regaining the distance between us in the middle of the bank and keeping a good distance from the opponent. The machine sways greatly. Although it was a bubbly contact, I avoided it at the last minute and continued to chase again from around Outside Zone 3. However, Ryan’s machine in Outside Zone 2 was mostly straight, a big deduction was given, and I won. I won the GT Radial showdown and advanced to the TOP16.
TOP16 opponent was Taylor Hull (Team Asphalt Anarchy / Cadillac CTS-V Achilles Radial). Taylor, the only Cadillac CTS-V to compete in this season, was a V8 super equipped with a charger, it showed stable running on this weekend. The first run was the chase run. After entering the bank, the machine does not match the timing of the accelerator with the opponent as in the TOP 32 match. I caught up in the middle of the bank, and from there I carried the machine quite close and cut the finish line. Because there was a mistake earlier, an attack was required. In the lead of TOP32, I made a mistake at the end of the bank, so I was conscious of delaying the deceleration timing and ran. But still the deceleration position did not match yet and the running line was a little disturbed. I cut the finish line with Taylor at a distance of about one vehicle. The judge’s decided it was a OneMoreTime. It was the first rematch of this season.
I decided to change to new tires and go to the start line. Taylor wasn’t a fast player, and I had a lot of trouble adjusting the distance to him when I was chasing.
OneMoreTime1, chase run. Compared to the first follow run, the overall distance, but I made some mistakes at the key points. It was a turnaround that was not safe. Tylor declared a 5-minute time-out due to the trouble with his machine. But this time upsets our team’s circulation. When the gear ratio was set according to this mileage, tire warm-up, leading and trailing as for the second day. The tires once got cold due to the time-out of the opponent team, it would require to be warmed up again for the second tire warm up. I was worried about the life of the tires. Warm up so as not to cause excessive idling, cause only slight friction and reduce tires and the preceding run that was replaced. Even at the end of the bank where I made a mistake, the distance was perfect and I was able to run the best on the weekend. The accelerator opening was high, the vehicle speed was also high, and the angle, however, when I passed Inside Clip 1, I felt a little the limit of tire life. Looking back, the final corner. When I turned on the accelerator, there were almost no tires and I was violently crashed into the pin. As a result, my score was zero. Of course, the game will belong to Tylor. In Rd.4 TOP16, we lost, due to the failure of our tire management.