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Streets of Long Beach (longbeach)

Streets of Long Beach (longbeach)

Last week, we announced the debut of Behind The Smoke Season 2 , as we watched Dai and the Falken team get ready for the upcoming Formula D season, after Dai took home the championship last year. Episode 2 just hit the web over at GT Channel and we have the video (above) here for you.

In this episode, Dai is getting ready to take on qualifying for the first race of the season at the Streets of Long Beach circuit. His first run, netted Dai about an 81, which was where he wanted to be. On the second run, Dai pulled out a 90.5, which allowed him to qualify 6th for the upcoming race.

In all, this episode is chock-full of all types of sideways action with tons of beautiful tire smoke. What’s really sweet is these guys put a camera inside the car, facing the front, so you can really see what Dai sees as he whips his 240SX around the track. You get some real kick-ass audio of the engine working away in those shots too. We also found out that even the reigning champ of Formula D gets scared sometimes.

While you’re watching, keep an eye out for three quick cameos by the bearded and fearless drift fan , Bil Baldwin. Let us know in the comments if you see him and the times that he appears on the screen.

Crank up those speakers and click "Play" on the above video. It’s 11 minutes of smoke and squeals that you won’t regret seeing!

When we start digging into racing, drifting in particular, the fans really don’t garner much of our attention. That is until we meet the Santa Claus of drift fans that has both an awesome white beard and a brass set of ball bearings.

This bearded fellow, named Bil Baldwin, has made quite a name for himself at Long Beach Formula DRIFT events. He is not famous for running onto the track in just his Fruit of the Looms or anything like that. He’s famous for not fearing these speeding drifters, regardless of the fact that they are sliding just inches from his legs.

Yup, this long-bearded fellow stands at the edge of the wall coming out of a turn and allows the cars to get within six inches of his legs. Sometimes, as you can see in the above video, the cars even smash into the wall just before they reach him, sending debris flying toward this brave man. Like a well-trained boxer, Bil bobs and weaves out of the way of the soaring debris, then quickly looks back to the track so he doesn’t miss a second of the action.

He clearly is a brave soul and Formula D seems to be accommodating to his fame, allowing him to continue standing in this dangerous position, regardless of the safety issue. We all love racing and we are particularly enthusiastic about drifting, but none of us would put ourselves there.

So here’s to Mr. Baldwin and his white beard and overall jeans flowing in the draft from passing drifters. It’s only a matter of time before Formula D decides that it’s a little too dangerous for him to be there. Until then, enjoy the hell out of it, Bil.

It’s funny to think how drifting morphed from something teenagers used to do in vacant parking lots to look cool to one of the most popular racing series in the world. Formula DRIFT, or Formula D as most know it, is just getting its ninth season ramped up after Daijiro Yoshihara dominated the series last year, taking home the overall points championship. We even got a behind the scenes peak at how he did it via the Behind the Smoke series on GT Channel.

The ninth season of Formula D started earlier this month, so as expected, Dai and the guys are back for season 2 of their Behind the Smoke series. Episode 1 (posted above) gives us an inside look on the testing process Dai and his drifting machine, a 1993 Nissan 240SX , go through in getting ready for the season.

There’s tons of sideways and smoky action throughout the video, and even a little brotherly taunting between team members. Ultimately, Dai and his team must have gotten something right, as they pulled in a nice second place finish at the debut Formula D race this season, which was held at the Streets of Long Beach circuit.

There is not much that’s more adrenaline pumping than watching a nearly 3,000-pound machine careening sideways down a track only to have the driver flick it back under his control, using careful throttle control and counter-steering. So skip the coffee this morning, folks, and crank up the speakers for this one.

Also you get to see that even professional drivers forget the most basic items, as Dai breaks a cardinal rule of driving a manual transmission at the 7:35 mark. The car dies and he has no idea what happened. Watch as the guys all get a good laugh at this professional driver’s expense.


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