Remember the halcyon year, so long ago, of 2012? I was a high schooler entering my junior year, doing my best to hide from Ho Hey by The Lumineers as it blasted through every speaker in my local shopping mall, the hos and heys echoing endlessly all the way from Brookstone to Hot Topic. I hadn’t yet read about Raphael Orlove crashing a Formula Drift car, the blog that would introduce me to the sport, and I spent my days blissfully unburdened by the knowledge that my voice would never sound like Jarod DeAnda’s.
But back in 2012, I was missing out.
In a recent late-night YouTube binge, I stumbled across some archived footage from Formula Drift competitions of years past. Specifically, videos from almost exactly a decade ago — down to the day. Each one is a fun time capsule, a look back to an era where FD cars still had front-mounted radiators and H-pattern gearboxes. A simpler time.
The cars have gotten faster, and the racing more precise, but the overall energy of Formula Drift hasn’t changed a bit, thank goodness. The laid-back, friendly attitude of the 2012 era hasn’t gone away, and no amount of money or horsepower bleeding into the sport can sully the spirits of fans trying to take home used tires as souvenirs. I promise, this is a real thing.
Many of the drivers in these videos have since retired from professional drifting, but quite a few are still around. Fredric Aasbø, Ken Gushi, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Michael Essa, Justin Pawlak, Chelsea DeNofa, Chris Forsberg, and more, can all still be found in the figure-eight at Englishtown or the House of Drift in Irwindale to this very day.