Formula DRIFT 14th Championship Kicked Off Streets Of Long Beach

Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras kicked off the 14th season with an exciting day of action at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. Irish driver James Deane returns to the Series and gets the win in the Worthhouse Drift Team / Falken Tire Nissan S15.

“What a way to start the season,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “With not only a capacity crowd, record numbers on the Livestream, but proof that Formula Drift is truly an international series where the best of the best come to compete.”

The first event of the season commenced on the Grand Prix of Long Beach Street Course. The highly anticipated event was action packed from start to finish and the capacity crowd witnessed many competitive battles throughout the day. The event also introduced new drivers to the field including Georgy Chivchyan from Russia and Piotr Wiecek from Poland and marked the return of Irish driver, James Deane. The event broke records with the Livestream with over 1 million viewers tuning in from around the world over the two-day event weekend making for the largest viewership for a single event in Formula DRIFT history

Deane returned to Formula DRIFT after a seven year hiatus from the Series in dramatic fashion. Deane proved to be a contender after qualifying in second position and making his way through to the finals by defeating both former champion Michael Essa and the reigning and 3-time champion, Chris Forsberg. Deane met with Ryan Tuerck in the Gumout / Nameless Performance / Hankook Toyota 86 in the semi-finals and with consistent driving all-day and a solid chase run he was able to advance to the Finals. On the other side of the bracket in the semi-finals, Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in the Falken Tire / Drifz Wheels / Ark Performance Nissan 240SX faced off against Alex Heilbrunn in the IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3. After a hard fought battle that was too close to call, the drivers met in a One More Time battle and while chasing Heilbrunn, Bakchis made an error entering the hairpin giving Heilbrunn the win to put him in the Finals. Deane’s consistency and technical driving was no match for Heilbrunn in the Finals and Deane won his first Formula DRIFT victory to take the lead in the chase for the championship.

“Man, what a way to start back in Formula DRIFT after missing out on the last seven years,” said James Deane, winner of Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. “I owe a lot to my good friend and teammate, Piotr Wiecek, who came up with this whole idea to come back to the Series as a two-car team. To come out with the win is just mind blowing. What a feeling!

For more information visit, and find Formula DRIFT on Instagram @formulad, Facebook, Twitter @FormulaDrift, and Snapchat – formula_drift. Tune into Formula DRIFT on CBS Sports and check your local listings for airtimes.

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Event Results

1. Deane, James

Worthouse Drift Team / Falken Tire Nissan 240


2. Heilbrunn, Alex

IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3

2nd Place

3. Tuerck, Ryan

Gumout / Nameless Performance / Hankook Toyota 86

3rd Place

4. Bakchis, Aurimas

Falken Tires / Drifz Wheels / ARK Performance Nissan 240

4th Place

5. Aasbo, Fredric

Rockstar Energy / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla iM

5th Place

6. Coffman, Matt

Nexen Tire / Coffman Racing Nissan 240

6th Place

7. Forsberg, Chris

NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z

7th Place

8. Kearney, Dean

Oracle Lighting Dodgle Viper

8th Place

9. Gittin, Vaughn

Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR

9th Place

10. Wiecek, Piotr

Worthouse Drift Team / Falken Tire Nissan 240

10th Place

11. Gushi, Ken

GReddy Racing / Nexen Tire Toyota Racing 86

11th Place

12. Field, Matt

Falken Tire / Vapetasia / ARK Performance Nissan 240

12th Place

13. Rintanen, Juha

STR Racing / Nexen Tire Nissan 240

13th Place

14. Bluss, Kristaps

HGK / Mast / Motul / Wisefab BMW E46

14th Place

15. Pawlak, Justin

Roush Performance Ford Mustang

15th Place

16. Essa, Michael

Achilles Tire / Essa Autosport BMW M3

16th Place

2017 Formula DRIFT Black Magic Championship Presented by BlackVue Standings After 1 Event

1. Deane, James

Worthouse Drift Team / Falken Tire Nissan 240

106.00 Points

2. Heilbrunn, Alex

IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3

84.00 Points

3. Tuerck, Ryan

Gumout / Nameless Performance / Hankook Toyota 86

69.00 Points

2017 Manufacturer Championship Standings After 1 Event

1. Toyota

121.00 Points

2. Ford

74.00 Points

3. Nissan

52.00 Points

4. Dodge

51.00 Points

5. BMW

35.00 Points

6. Infiniti 18.00 Points

2017 Tire Championship Standings After 1 Event

1. Falken

174.00 Points

2. Nitto

123.00 Points

3. Hankook

121.00 Points

4. Nexen

104.00 Points

5. Achilles

86.00 Points