Coffman Racing Kicks Off 2017 With 6th Place Finish at Formula Drift Long Beach.
After finishing the 2016 Formula D season in the Top 16, the team set the bar high for 2017. The off season gave us the opportunity to completely tear down and re-prepare the car for this season. With a new livery, a new partnership with Nexen Tire, and a new team mate, Alec Hohnadell, the team worked non stop to ensure that everything would be in order for the first event. After some preseason testing at Willow Springs, the team arrived in Long Beach. Thursday the team passed tech inspection and applied the finishing touches to the new livery.
Long Beach is different from the other rounds of Formula Drift being that the driving doesn't begin until Friday. Without Thursday practice, the drivers only get a short period of practice on Friday morning before qualifying begins on Friday afternoon. However this posed no problems for Matt as he showcased his impressive driving skills for the judges during qualifying. The judges awarded Matt a score of 90, which meant he would qualify 6th overall for the main event on Saturday.
Friday the team was visited by Oxnard Police Department’s DRAGG (Drag Racing Against Gangs and Graffiti) Team, a local youth out reach program that targets at risk youth and teaches them valuable auto mechanic skills as well as provides career guidance. Matt had the honor of playing the bad guy and driving a Coyote Powered E36 Drift Car in the DRAGG Teams recent Viral promotional film Driftsuit which has accrued over 500,000 views since it’s launch in February. After getting to experience DRAGG’s program first hand, it was awesome to be able to share the race team with the students, and let them experience Formula Drift.
Saturday the team was well prepared for Top 32. Matt would be driving against Formula Drift rookie “Rad Dan” Burkett. Matt and Dan chatted briefly before their battle in the Top 32. Dan apologized ahead of time and told Matt that he may get really close to him in tandem competition. Matt told Dan “Just don't hit my checkers” referring to the black chrome vinyl checkerboard patterns that Matt had painstakingly hand applied to the over fenders on his car prior to the event. Matt was first to lead, and Dan came sliding into Matt in the first corner. Dan avoided hitting Matt’s checkerboards, but aggressively smashed in Matt’s Seibon Carbon fiber passenger door. The team was given a moment to briefly check to make sure that the damages to the car were only cosmetic. Once the car was verified to be mechanically sound and safe, Matt went on to defeat Dan in their Top 32 Battle.
The team made some quick repairs to the car after Top 32, and the car went out on display for the Top 16 Driver intro. Matt was the last to exit after the driver intros and per Formula Drift’s request Matt put on a show for the fans as he exited, doing a massive burnout that stretched the entire grand stand. The burnout was a fan favorite, and was widely popular and talked about during the event and on social media.
Our next battle in Top 16 was against Matt Field. Matt Field and Matt Coffman are good friends, being that they have worked along side each other as judges for Golden Gate Drift. Both drivers have incredible skill and style. This made for a captivating battle as the two drivers laid down their best runs. Once the smoke cleared and the judges spoke, Matt Coffman was awarded the win.
The team moved on into the Top 8 where we were up against our former trailer mate Ryan Tuerck. Matt gave chase on the first run, and wound up going faster than Ryan through the deceleration zone and bumped into Ryan in the hair pin. Both teams quickly checked their cars for damage and then returned to the start line. With Matt in the lead this time, Ryan gave a very conservative chase, but being that Ryan made no contact with Matt, Ryan was awarded the win. This was the end of our weekend at Long Beach, but our 6th place finish is just the beginning of whats to come for 2017.
The team currently is ranked #6 in the Formula D series standings, and will next compete at Round Two of Formula D on April 28th in Orlando, Florida. Between Formula Drift events the Coffman Racing team will be competing in the Oregon Trail Rally just outside of Portland, Oregon, on April 21st in our Super Production Subaru STI Rally Car.