Just like your neighbourhood pusherman, Drift HQ gave us our first taste of their drift events for free. And now we are hooked, fiending for our next fix willing to pay for more two day events like this.
(but all jokes aside drug addiction is a serious matter. If you know anyone showing symptoms of addiction to any schedule 1 to 5 drug you should help them contact your local drug addiction hotline)
The new neighbourhood pushermen.
I was super ecstatic for the whole weekend of Drift HQ’s two day Free.99 event! Not even remotely because I actually signed up to drive, but more importantly the fact that my homie, one of my besties, and brother type Joel Garcia was part of making this fantastic weekend a reality. Joel and I have know each other for a few years now. From Thursday nights at “Golden Squats” talking about the many ways the world is going to end, relationship stuff and the infamous dick o’clock talks. To street drifting(me mostly filming), the numerous steak n shake hangouts (once twice on the same day), the subtle appearance of savage Joel(like 5 mins tops) and a cool road trip to see our buds Spirit Street in North Carolina. It’s has been truly amazing to see the amount of progress he has made. Two fun facts about Joel. Once upon a time ago he had a “multiple personalities” disorder which was spread across about 8 variations of his miamiflimerguy handle, and two Joel does have an offbeat sense of humor that goes well with his sudden but always perfect timing “cluelessness”, especially when it came to him getting roasted. But regardless of all that jazz, from the time I’ve met Joel, he always had this “I’m going to do it, just watch” spirit! This could be seen in his dedication to filming and drifting off course.
“Sigh” As much as this is going to inflate the person’s ego I’m introducing now,(fuck…) Ricardo De La Puente can’t be left out of this. Oddly enough the man behind The #FUCKRICKY hashtag, which is more of a positive reinforcement believe it or not. For it was Rick who pressured Joel to finish his drift car and send it even when times weren’t the best for him. Rick was that catalyst that gave new life too Joel’s ambition to be amazing at everything he does drift related. Just please don’t ask Rick for relationship/life advice as you will crash burn and sadness will become you while laying naked in the shower drinking Hennessy, listening to drake songs all for Rick to have the enjoyment of saying “You played yourself”.
So, Joel as I and many other thought it was a bummer for you to move to the west coast for work, I speak for all of them that we are glad you took up the golden opportunity to join Drift HQ.
So just what is Drift HQ and why are their drift cars green? When Duarte Viana journey into the glorious life of drifting. Like most he was greeted with all the trials and errors of doing things on your own with limited knowledge. He found himself in search of help, his local tuner shops, but back in those days they didn’t have the knowledge he seek to help him get the right start. A few years after gaining some headway into the sport, he met Savio Silva and they began to drift and breaking their cars together. And along the way Duarte came up with the idea turn their duo act into a brand. Thus Drift HQ was born! However, as their business thrived around their local drift track Punta Gorda/three palms closed in 2014 (so did County Line and CFRC, 2014 suck ass for floridan drifting). They tried to keep the track open because it was vital to the business, but despite their best efforts to keep the track open in the end it closed. Sadly with drifting at a record low they decided to close the shop. In December of 2017, Duarte and Savio asked Joel to join them in reignited the vision of Drift HQ. To take the brand to new heights and become a prominent online dealer of awesome drift/racing parts. With Joel expertise in media, they are able to pump out exceptional video content to bring awareness to their brand. But what about their drift cars? They all have been painted in a signature Java green colour (I assume the colour was chosen because of Duarte and Savio’s Brazilian roots). Duarte has Formula Drift Spec beast of BMW M3 E46 with 2JZ that is a straight ripper! Savio LS powered V8 Nissan 240sx S14 can always be found creating trackside clouds as he throws the means backies and Joel has a barely street legal BMW E36 which has more pep in its step than meets the eye, but don’t let numbers fool you Joel knows how to put on a smoke show. All of these rad machine are fitted with silvers North America suspension and with all that horsepower they melt those sticky Zestino tires with the ease. But as their new ambitions grew for the company, they decided it was time to give back to community that helped them get to where they are today.
At the butt crack of the early morning when these events always take place. I found the commute on alligator alley to be an easy 2 hour drive to Immokalee Raceway. The same track that the Grand Drift held a demo in 2015. The sun rose as soon as the gates opened. I don’t know the full logistics behind how they pulled off this event, but I know DRIFT HQ wanted to make a statement that blistering hot September weekend. And that they did! The event was packed! Assuming everyone brought the highest FPS sunscreen to block out the uv rays, but little could protect us from the heat trackside! With two layouts there was more than enough track to hold the 100 plus drivers count. Barn Built Drift Team and their dark peat moss green cars were definitely in all of the party tandem trains, they always put on a show.
I finally got to see Mike Jones of UPfab Garage in his red shag mobile Cheetah print visor Toyota Celsior/Lexus LS400 finesse the track layout while the JZ engine notes made the sweetest lullaby.
I was excited to see GutterClubUSA’s Danny O’connor was on call if the tracked need to be swept. He freshly painted and refreshed his car before this event, taking this as his maiden voyage back into the drift game.
So much talent in one spot, from beginners to some very solid veterans who came out of their caves to see the light of day. And every now and then the Drift HQ boys came onto the track to leave smoke trails and make it hard for the crowd to breathe. I mean if it was your event I’m sure you would show off too. Nearly forgot to mention another game changer to this event, was food. A Double Salute to the grill master and the people working on the distributing food to hungry spectators and drivers. I honestly thought it was going to be one plate of burgers and fries, and maybe if you are lucky a second serving. I was wrong, they pulled all the stops, the food and drinks lasted for the entire two days. I was stuffed
Congratulations to the Drift HQ family for hosting your first event, which was a blast of fun times. You lot truly did it, by bring back a certain spark of awesome which the South Floridian drift community really needed. But the bigger picture is the Florida drift community we call home needed this, some new characters taking charge to bring change and variety to our scene. It will only bring good things once egos are put aside within this super small community. So it’s rare to have such a positive power house emerging out of nowhere (not really but you know what i mean) to make such an impact. Thank you lot once again. One last thing, surprise I actually drifted. Yes that is not a typo as we proofread before posting. I finally after all these years, 7 to be exact(fuck), I partook in the smoky pow wow of drifting camaraderie. And yes, allegedly I might have taking a cone or two as souvenirs but that is bound to happen when getting back to drifting. Sort of like riding a bike as they say, the old s-chassis and I shook off ages worth of rust and proved we still have it going on!(S/O Side Mission for that magictune). I only drove two laps like I said I would and committed the rest of my time to filming and gathering shoots of that event. So, if you were lucky enough to have seen those laps then good for you, if not sucks for you. Because it might be awhile before we get back on the saddle and take our sexy black pony back out to lateral dance. (that’s fake news we will be cooking up something soon).
Photo x shane prescod
Location @ Immokalee Raceway, FL