The beast that is Southern California car culture has been slow to wake from its “winter” (who are we kidding, it’s like 3 weeks) slumber. Motorsports and even car shows at this early stage are few and far between, and even fewer informal meets and takeovers have been slow to amass, mainly because we’ve actually had winter weather (i.e. rain, and lots of it) this year. People are just waiting until it gets nice enough outdoors to flex their rides – behavior we expect from folk in the Midwest and Northeast, but not from spoiled Southern Californians.
Helping rustle enthusiasts from their hibernation is The Drift League, one of the area’s two Formula DRIFT-licensing pro-am series. In its second season, the burgeoning sanctioning body closed out its inaugural year with Rome Charpentier capping off a dominant 2018 in his BMW E36, taking the win at the season finale (one of many podiums over the course of the season) to seal TDL’s first championship as well as a Formula D Pro 2 license – his second of the year, as he earned a license from Top Drift as well, SoCal’s other FD pro-am series. For 2019, Drift League is still based out of Irwindale Speedway, and still four rounds, but unlike year one this season will play out on Saturdays instead of Fridays, hoping to fill the stands a little more and certainly making it easier for everyone to not miss the events.
In advance of Round 1 on March 2nd, The Drift League held its Tech Day at MotoIQ headquarters to give drivers a chance to get competition vehicle scrutineering out of the way instead of doing it onsite at the opener. About a dozen competitors turned up at the inspection, most of them with BMW oddly enough, including Charpentier’s We Are Lions teammate Daryl Priyono and his E36, Amir Falahi and his E30, and Margaritis Katsanidis and Micah Diaz in their respective E46, the latter leaving the event with a truly epic burnout (see the video). We also spied Jon Shaffer’s Nissan S14, and got to meet Danny Panzone’s Mazda NA Miata, which we are a bit smitten with.
Few passed tech – many failed for items like improperly installed kill switches or lack of a driveshaft loop, etc. – but with a couple weeks left to go before Round 1 there’s time to get things up to snuff. We will be at Irwindale capturing all the action of Round 1 on the 2nd, as well as Round 2 on June 1st, Round 3 on August 3rd, and the season ender on September 7th. In the meantime, dip into the gallery and indulge in some sights from The Drift League’s second annual tech day.