The inaugural Gymkhana Grid event turned out to be a great event. This new style of competition format was both entertaining to watch as well as to compete in. It combines aspects of drifting, autocrossing, drag racing, and time attack all into one. I believe this new style of competition could be the next big thing in motorsports.
The event started off with an interview with J-Rod which can be seen at gymkhanagrid.com.
My FD3S at the Falken Motorsport pits with event winner Dai Yoshihara. Mike Kojima of Moto IQ and the SPD Crew did an incredible job setting up the suspension on his LS2 powered S13. Congrats to the team! They were running some huge 315/30/18 Azenis RT-615K on the rear which really helped provide the grip needed. I was actually running on the older Azenis RT-615 compounds: 265 front / 275 rear sizes this event. I heard that new RT-615K’s provides a lot more grip than the older RT-615 compound. I can’t wait to try the new K’s in bigger sizes at the next Gymkhana Grid event.
The Gymkhana Grid competition format consist of 2 mirrored tracks, both individually timed from the start / finish gate. They even had a christmas tree lighting setup which made it feel like a drag race from the start. There were designated drift zones, figure 8’s and multiple 360’s around barrels throughout the course that needed to be navigated through in order to properly complete the course. Timed penalties were given for hitting a barrel or not drifting in a drift zone. This format took some practicing and memorization to get used to, but was challenging and really fun to drive in. Qualifying was held on Friday to see where you will placed in the elimination brackets for Saturday. I was able to pull off a time of 57.137 (+0.5 with a cone) on Friday which qualified me in 3rd place.
Coming out the gates. It was a drag race to the first corner.
First corner was a sweeper that was a required “drift zone.”
Which led into a figure 8 section.
The “box” section was pretty fun to get around.
It actually was not as tight as it looked, but there were a few cars that slammed into the barriers or got stuck in it during the event.
After the box there was an another drift sweeper and slalom section that you had to get through. The final section was a long straightway into the 360 spins. You would have to brake hard coming into the spins or else you would over shoot it. Surprisingly one of the most difficult sections of the course.
After completing the double 360’s, you then race through the finish gates. It was pretty fun to watch the AWD’s do the donut and drift sections. I’m sure it’s much harder to do in those cars compared to RWD’s as a lot of them were having trouble with that throughout the event.
The main event eliminations began at night time. I was able to make it to Top 8 in the eliminations and ran consistent on both sides. I ended up racing against a WRC rally driver, Kevin Abbrings, in a rally prepped 350z. He was able to gain an extra 3 seconds somehow on my race and had the top RWD time of that round. His team came from Holand and shipped their Z over here just for this one Gymkhana Grid event. Pretty crazy.
I want to thank Ben Meeker of Rotary Extreme for coming down and crewing for me. He’s been my RX-7 guru setting up my V-Mount and turbo setups. Check out his products at RotaryExtreme.com. We will be doing a new Exedy Carbon Twin clutch install soon as well. So keep an eye out that that blog posting.
I want to also thank Mint Design for helping out my race program. They just released some clean Vandal on their site www.getmints.com. Mint Design Footwear is inspired by colorful classic designs and are made of 100% recyclable EVA. Super comfortable and lightweight.
The Drift Sumi-e team was out in full effect at the Gymkhana Grid event. Check out driftsumi-e.com for current updates and promotions.