This past weekend Stratotech Park hosted Round 3 of the Driftwest Professional Championship. Sadly, this would be the last drifting event at Stratotech Park as they will be closing their gates for good at the end of this year.
That being said, the lineup to get inside started bright and early (well, more cloudy and early I guess) with drivers, crew members, and members of the media, all waiting anxiously for what would be the last chance to see cars going sideways on one of Alberta’s last racetracks.
Mind you, there was still plenty to look at while waiting in line.
Paul Harrison’s 1972 Toyota Corolla showing some battle scars.
The Boss Imports JZX100 looking good on the trailer. I would later find out that it’s sporting an LS3 swap under the hood as it screams down the track!
Once inside, all the teams wasted no time as there were still many last minute checks and tweaks to do.
A better view of Devin Horsley’s 1UZ powered AE86 from the opening shot. Yes, his tow rig is a slammed Toyota Cressida Wagon which is also powered by a 1UZ!
This R32 Skyline from Grande Prairie seemed to be having issues all morning as the car shut down suddenly during its first practice run.
Some of you might recognize this orange FD RX-7 as Conroy Ganson’s old Team AMR/Yokohama Canada drift car. Although still very much involved with the team, Conroy has taken a break from driving for the year and his old car is now part of the Grande Tire team!
One of my favorite cars of the day would definitely be the S13 Silvia of Northwest Drift Society. Despite the amount of battle damage throughout the car, I think it just oozes style!
The Drift Farm Mustang looking almost show car clean here.
One by one, each one of the cars lined up for the all-important tech inspection. This is to make sure that all cars will be safe to run out on the track, even though they’ll be going sideways at over 80KMPH. That in itself doesn’t sound safe, but who said drifters were sane?!
After going over the course layout during the drivers meeting…
…and a quick walk on the track itself…
…it was time for practice!
A little too close for comfort!
I was quite digging the new livery on Normand Burwash’s S13 of Team BSR.
His teammate, Chad Sager, wasn’t looking too bad himself either!
Shawn Hawley throwing it down during practice in the Clarion/Certified Radio LS powered Chaser.
The Mango is always a contender at Driftwest events and was running as strong as ever during practice.
Travis Clark sliding in style with the top down in his S13 Vert!
Like I said back at the Speedway Performance TAC , I absolutely LOVE the sound of high revving Rotaries!
The Boss Imports JZX100 slowly damaging my hearing with that roaring LS3.
It seems that LS-Swaps are becoming the popular choice as Aaron Day of Team ACC Drift was also rocking one in his S13.
He was pushing it hard that day and was the first to smoke his way through the entire course during practice!
Yet another LS powered car, this S14 was losing some body parts!
The Drift Farm Mustang got off to a rocky start (no pun intended) as it would find its way to the gravel trap during its first outing, demolishing the front bumper in the process.
That didn’t seem to slow down the team one bit however as they got the car back out right away!
Running very aggressively during practice, the Northwest Drift Society S13 sure wasn’t afraid of the new layout here at Stratotech Park…
…but it seemed to be having a few issues in finding the right combination.
I was glad to see that a few trips to the gravel traps didn’t discourage the driver one bit…
…as practice is the time to test your limits!
In the end, this would be the last time we saw this S13 running that day as it would later suffer turbo issues and was unable to make it into qualifying. Maybe next time!
Of course running at the limit does have its risks as one of the media guys soon found out. This car lost control and slid off the track, and while the photographer himself was able to get out of the way in time, his camera bag wasn’t as lucky as it was run over by the car. Ouch.
It was pretty neat seeing this S13 “Drift Truck” out, but unfortunately he was one of the many people that were having issues all day.
Even though they seemed to be plagued with problems all morning, this R32 did manage to squeeze in a few runs.
Another look at Normand Burwash’s S13, this time featuring Pac Man!
Louren Sansregret has been part of the Alberta drift community for a long time. Interestingly enough, his car looks almost the same as it does when I first saw it years ago.
The last time I was at Stratotech for a Driftwest event, Jon Schildwachter was able to climb to the top of the podium. Will he be able to have a repeat performance this time around?
Devin Horsley was running very well in his practice sessions. I’m still getting used to hearing the sound of a V8 coming from the little Hachi!
Aaron Day in hot pursuit of Shawn Hawley while avoiding his bumper in the process!
For those who aren’t familiar, during a tandem run, the lead car tries to get as far away as possible from their opponent behind them. The chase car tries to get as close as possible, all done while drifting of course.
Chad Simpson of Team ACC Drift was looking pretty solid during his practice runs.
The Grande Tire RX-7 going a little off-road. It would later find itself sliding off course towards three media members who all had to run for their lives! (coverage from CBC TV starts at 7:07)
Stay tuned for more coverage from Driftwest Round 3 when the competition gets underway!
Part TWO of Driftwest Round 3.
Click HERE to view the full photo set on Flickr.