I was just looking at the Formula Drift passes I’ve accumulated over the past years, some of which I unearthed during spring cleaning for Chinese New Year, and I could not help feeling a pang of nostalgia. It’s been six years since Formula Drift first came to Asia, hitting the shores of our homeland in 2008. Marcus Lim was the man – assisted by Jason Chew his right-hand man – who saw the potential and bravely dug into his own pockets to make it happen the first time.
Marcus did get it right and the series started to attract more fans, sponsors, teams, drivers and ESPN STAR Sports Event Management came onboard. Formula Drift Asia was a hit in Asia and over the next five years, it expanded to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and to Japan for the first time this July. History was also created when the Top 16 battles were aired ‘live’ on STAR Sports and the latest round had livestream on the internet.
I was only 21 when I went for my first Formula Drift ever at Changi Exhibition Centre. I saw videos of drifting on the internet but it’s not the same as watching it ‘live’ for yourself – the feeling is amazing, though you get lots of tyre dust in your hair and clothes after that. I covered the event for a magazine, so I had a media pass and had the chance to meet some of the drivers. Somewhere along the way, I got to know Marcus and his Driftpac team better, eventually joining their team.
It has been nothing but positive throughout the journey and although I’m the only female in the team, they refer to me as “Bro”, making me feel part of them. We just had Formula Drift Thailand in January this year – the last round to 2013 and the first round for 2014 – and that was pretty much the last Formula Drift Asia round that Driftpac is actively involved in.
Moving forward, the USA office will take over the ground work as operations for both USA and Asia will be merged. The main office remains at Long Beach, whilst a regional office will be based in Singapore, as they prepare for a World Championship in 2015. Resources will be centralised at the Long Beach headquarters so that all teams round the world will follow the same structure and format. Henceforth, Driftpac will take on a more strategic and advisory role. Next year, there will be a Formula Drift World Championship where some of the events from both the USA and Asia calendars will count towards the points.
I really enjoyed being in Driftpac and we have gone through quite a lot – experiencing different cultures in the different countries we have taken the series to, flooding the WhatsApp group chats with reminders of what needs to be done, splitting the stuff (such as the printer, gifts for the media, merchandise) between us that we need to take up and more. I was just lugging a 40kg bag to Bangkok for the recent round with all the things needed at the press conference!
I remember moments like helping competition director Jeremy Soh with the registration and handing out passes and car decals to drivers, seeing drivers cry when they win or get frustrated when their car fails on them. One thing that will never change, are the friendships forged.
Well, it’s good to see the series progress to more professional levels and I will still go to the Formula Drift Asia rounds! Each round is like a gathering and it’s always nice to see familiar faces from around the world, all getting together for the same passion for drifting. This marks no end to the passion by the way – it will only keep going, sideways of course!
*This article was first published in Rev.