Round 3 of the 2022 Formula DRIFT series weathered the storm in Orlando, Florida. The track presented a unique challenge with a figure-8 configuration for this event, but the rain, thunder, lightning, and tornado threat were the biggest wild card of the weekend. Drift racers whose equipment was protected with STEEL-IT® Brand Coatings seemed to have been the most prepared and well-equipped. Dylan Hughes captured his first PRO victory. Chris Forsberg took 2nd overall making it a back-to-back podium and top 2 PRO Formula D finish for STEEL-IT.
"After a wet and wild weekend in Orlando, we came out with the win," an elated Hughes stated. "Usually, these cars do not get this wet and dirty. Luckily for us, STEEL-IT has us covered, and we no longer worry about chassis corrosion. The car looks great inside and out, and I am confident it will stay that way even in the harshest conditions. We are super excited and cannot wait to do it again at the next event. We will see everyone in New Jersey!"
The field was double-sized, with the series schedule bringing in the PROSPEC competitors for their first round of the season. Formula Drift runs a limited four-weekend schedule allowing the ECU PROSPEC teams to minimize the cost but access the big stage. Andy Hateley, another up-and-coming talent running STEEL-IT, took the 1st place victory.
He started on the top, debuting his Hateley Motorsports BMW E46 on the pole as the number one qualifier. He scored 92 points, significantly higher than any other driver and received three PROSPEC Championship points for his effort and is currently leading the series.
In the PRO division, Hughes, a 2019 graduate from the PROSPEC ranks, climbed the ladder for the win in Orlando. Dylan set up his Royal Purple / Falken Tire BMW to score 91-points in the qualifying session. This effort put him in 6th position. He jumped from the Top 32, beating out his opponent Federico Sceriffo in his V-12 Ferrari 599 GTB.
Going into the Top 16, Dylan’s competitor Darren Kelly retired before ever starting handing over a free pass. Now lining up in the Top 8, a Tornado warning forced the competitors back to the pits for a brief delay. Officials eventually set the drifters loose, and Hughes emerged on top.
In the Top 4, Hughes faced off against and defeated his mentor Chris Forsberg. It was an exciting and dramatic finish for the drifters. It was Dylan's first PRO victory and only his third podium. Hughes attributed much of his success to Forsberg as he began working for him in 2014.
"I worked for Chris Forsberg for a long time and he taught me pretty much everything I know about drift," Dylan shared. "To battle him in the Final was sick and I am super happy with the result. With slippery half-wet half-dry conditions, chassis setup was incredibly difficult. With the weather being unpredictable and changing so fast, we did not have time to swap over to our wet setup. Consistency, I think, is what got us to the top this round. Driving in the rain requires great patience as we are racing and want to go fast, but there is a very fine line with too much throttle during wet conditions. Having patience was the hardest part for me."
Chris Forsberg was also super excited about earning another consecutive podium finish. "Back-to-Back podiums in the NOS Energy Drink all-new Nissan Z this weekend at Formula D Orlando!
It was absolutely insane. Full wet conditions, we had some dry but mostly wet. We went all the way to the finals for 2nd overall. I have to say that we have no concerns about corrosion or rust on the chassis because we have it fully covered with STEEL-IT polyurethane coating inside and out.
This thing is drenched, but the car is perfect and beautiful still at the end of the day. We have been working hard to stay at the top. We had some great battles with our Formula D competitors. Thank you to all of the crew and the die-hard drift fans who stayed until the finals despite the lightning and tornados!!"
Hughes climbs to fifth in the FD PRO Championship standings, while Forsberg is in third overall. Formula Drift Round 4 is set for June 9th – 11th at the legendary Old Bridge Township Raceway in Englishtown, New Jersey.