KENT, Wash. — (May 11, 2010) There is a simple solution for anyone who doesn’t understand the world-wide popularity of drifting, the motorsport where drivers compete by putting cars into tire-smoking slides at high speed while negotiating a marked course.
You’ve got to see it for yourself, and there is no better time than this Saturday at Pacific Grand Prix Motorsports Park in Kent, Wash., when 16 of the best drifters in the Pacific Northwest showcase their skills on the .82-mile asphalt track. Gates open at 3 p.m. with drifting slated to run from 4-8 p.m. Admission is $15 and there will be a beer garden for guests 21 and over.
“The event was my idea,” said Rob Primozich, a Formula Drift Pro-Am driver from Anacortes, Wash. “I have been tired of the limited drift courses for us in the Northwest. There are a number of great tracks but some aren’t willing — or aren’t willing anymore — to allow drifting. I contacted (Pacific GP owner) Paul Zalud with the idea of holding an event. He was very interested and completely into the idea.”
Formula Drift started seven years ago as the first professional drifting series in North America, and its professional and Pro-Am drivers compete in events throughout the United States including at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. Drifting originated in Japan more than 15 years ago and is now one of that country’s most-attended motorsports. The freestyle nature of drifting helped fuel a worldwide explosion in popularity and there are now professional and amateur drifting series in Europe, North America, Australia and other parts of Asia.
Drifting has been compared to freestyle skiing or figure skating, sports where both showmanship and completing required technical elements are important to winning. Drivers must stay on a predetermined line — changing direction where necessary — while maintaining their slide, or drift, and trying to get as close as possible to preset points.
“Drifting at Pacific Grand Prix is slower than Evergreen Speedway but considering the amount of turns (14 compared to three at Evergreen) it makes drifting the course very busy,” Primozich said. “As a driver you are constantly on your toes and trying to get that perfect line to link every corner. Considering that PGP is a very small road course it makes the track extremely technical and not a beginner’s track at all.”
Competitors are judged on speed — both on entry at the first corner and throughout the course — their line and the angle of the car through a pass. A final category, overall impression, rewards flair and execution. Because of the difficulty level, Primozich hand-picked the drivers for Saturday’s event, with many Formula Drift regulars on the list (see below).
Fans attending Saturday’s event will have no trouble following the action as Pacific Grand Prix is set within a valley where 1.8 million cubic yards of earth were removed, dropping 20 acres by 50 feet and creating a true velodrome where spectators look down on every corner.
What better way to find out what drifting is all about than to watch the region’s best drifters competing on a challenging state-of-the-art track where every seat is the best in the house?
“The cars are very well modified and are amazing machines,” Primozich said. “This first PGP event is going to be one for the ages. This track brings something special and different to Northwest drifting.”
Driver list for Saturday’s Drifting Event at Pacific Grand Prix
Rob Primo, Anacortes, Wash., Formula Drift Pro-AM driver
Roland Gallaghe, Bothell, Wash., Formula Drift professional driver
Victor Moore, Port Orchard, Wash., Formula Drift professional driver
Nikolay Konstantinov, Lynnwood, Wash., Formula Drift professional Driver
Trent Stromkins, British Columbia, Formula Drift Pro-AM driver
Ian Fournier, Abbotsford, B.C., Formula D professional driver
Mike Lukomsky, Marysville, Wash.
Gleb Antonov, Mukilteo, Wash., Formula Drift/ XDC Pro-AM driver
Walker Wilkerson, Snohomish, Wash., Formula Drift Pro-AM driver
Darren McCardel, Woodinville, Wash.
Gerard De Paralta, British Columbia
Kevin Petersen, British Columbia
Nathan Feigon, Vancouver, Wash.
Mike Phillips, Seattle, Formula Drift Pro-AM driver
Matt Panic, Seattle
Chris Scremin, British Columbia, Formula Drift Pro-AM driver
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About Pacific Grand Prix
Pacific Grand Prix is the Northwest’s premier multipurpose racing facility and is located in close proximity to the greater Seattle metropolitan area. The track is easy to get to and inexpensive to utilize, making PGP a rare combination of top-level racing excitement and affordability. For more information on PGP events and services, visit www.pacificgp.com or call (253) 639-7223.