Michael Essa BMW E46 on Enkei RS05RR drifting at Formula Drift Orlando Race Track

We started with Thursday practice where the car was feeling down on power and struggled on initiation to mid-bank. Data showed boost was down 50% of the target. We finished practice as we couldn’t find any issues and dialed the suspension and tire pressure. After practice ended we found a crack in the intercooler end tank and were able to weld it up. 

Friday practice we managed to get in 4 laps before qualifying and continue to dial the car in with our increased power levels. Went into our single qualifying lap and scored a 90-point run, securing 9th place. 

Saturday pre-competition practice we once again managed to get in 4 laps in the 2-hour session. The venue was packed with fans to capacity, and we met and conversed with many of them at our paddock with the car on display. 

Just before the top 32, the rain came. We hadn’t driven in the rain at all this event, so we put our wet setup on the car and went into battle with Ryan Litteral. Having the higher qualifying position, I led first and put down a great lead lap. In the chase position, I was able to stay close and be aggressive, but not push too hard and force myself into a mistake. We got the win and went into the top 16. 

Top 16 battle was with Kazua Taguchi. The track was now almost completely dry, so we put the dry setup back on the car. He led first as he out-qualified me by one position. I stayed close and pushed hard. My lead was on point and he made a few big mistakes, so we got the win and moved on to the great 8. 

Great 8 was with Fredric Aasbo, so we knew it would be a tough battle. We added a bit more grip to the car and pushed 100% to stick with him, even bumped his door with my front wheel coming off the bank. The Enkei RS05RR wheel was unfazed by the contact so we didn’t need to call our 5 min to do any repairs and went straight into my lead run. I had a killer lead, but Aasbo stayed close, although he cheated the line to do so. The judges give him the win in a somewhat controversial call, and our weekend came to an end. 

Overall we felt that it was a good weekend, the car performed well and my team worked hard. Got to meet and interact with many fans and promote our sponsors! Looking forward to the next event in New Jersey in just a few weeks.  – Essa