One week after the maiden voyage of the Mertzanis Racing x Fuel Culture Formula Drift collaboration with the Fuel Culture competition S13.4, we came back on the Streets of Long Beach for a full Grand Prix circuit drift event. Team Drift doesn’t count towards the championship point standings but it does allow drivers to slide around the whole Grand Prix circuit AND do it in front of 200,000 people attending the big race weekend. Team Drift consists of 2 drivers formed as a team who are judged by how they drive in tandem with one another. The guest judge was former two time Formula Drift champion and Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust.
Dennis selected Walker Wilkerson as his team which was called Team V8 S13 with Dennis running a hatchback and Walker running a coupe. The challenges you face on a whole Grand Prix circuit include tire wear and overheating due to the long period of time you are out on a circuit compared to the shorter runs involved in a Formula Drift event. Dennis monitors every element of the car’s operating system from a STACK 8100 unit and he can quickly scan the water temperature and oil temperature in his on-board unit.
Dennis Mertzanis and Walker Wilkerson share two partners with Seibon Carbon and SPL Pro Suspension parts, although they carry very different title sponsorships. It was a great learning experience and a ton of extra track time for the Fuel Culture S13.4.
All of our partners helped us step up to the toughest challenge of the 2012 season that the car will endure. The snapshot above shows us on a practice lap crossing Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach right by our favorite Irish Pub which is the Auld Dubliner! The Kenda Tire Kaiser KR20 had some of the best wear performance on the grid and our lightweight Konig Milligrams helped keep those Kenda’s spinning at optimal high wheel speeds all weekend.
After the smoke cleared from the competition, the Team V8 S13 drivers of Walker Wilkerson and Dennis Mertzanis put it on the podium with a huge 3rd place finish! This was the first time either of these guys stepped on the podium for a professional Formula Drift event in history. Walker, the FD sophomore, and Dennis, a three year FD veteran, look like they both have big things coming as the 2012 season continues.