I got back from Charlotte a few days ago and I think I’ve recovered from all the good times! All the ASD Falken drivers would make this first test of the 2010 season, which include me, JR, DMac, and the newest Falken driver JTP. Our main goal was to get our cars ready for Long Beach, but man we had some crazy times away from testing. It defiantly set the tone as teammates for this season, and that tone is going to be CRAZY!
Over the offseason the ASD guys were expanding into a bigger shop, which was good timing since JTP was now driving the 4th ASD car. The shop is simply AMAZING! It is 14,000 sq ft and split up into different departments. They have 1250 sq. ft retail showroom, 2500 sq. ft race car final assembly area, 1250 sq. ft machine shop area, 2500 sq. ft fabrication area, 1250 sq. ft retail parts storage area above the showroom, 1500 sq. ft race team parts storage facility (second building), 3750 sq. ft (third building) for confidential product development / special projects.
In addition to running four cars for the Falken Drift team, ASD also provides turn-key capabilities for special project builds, for example the carbon fiber bodied Mustang RTR-C debuted at SEMA 2009 in the Ford Motor Company display. ASD also designs, manufactures, and sells multiple lines of performance automotive components under the ASD Motorsports and many other brands. They do 3D CAD product design and analysis (SolidWorks), manual and CNC machining for prototyping , and full component fabrication services.
With the additional car, ASD brought on more crew members to deal with the additional work. New to ASD and my car is Rick Lamber Jr. He spent 12 years as a mechanic for the Penske Indy Car Team, has four Indy 500 wins and multiple Indy Car championships under his belt. Clay Stephens returns as my engineer who is a Mechanical Design Engineer (Georgia Tech) and accomplished fabricator and CNC machinist. Last position prior to working at ASD was leading the chassis fabrication department in a well known NASCAR Cup team. Dave Gibson will continue to support all the cars with data collection and engineering support. Ian Stewart, who owns ASD, will also continue to look over all the ASD cars. He has over 25 years of motorsport experience from Australasia to Europe to the United States. Last position prior to establishing the ASD company was management in a well known NASCAR Cup team, overseeing chassis, finish fabrication, body hanging, and paint departments, with an emphasis on overseeing R&D on chassis engineering special projects. And those are the guys just on my car… The team has so much experience. Pretty cool to see the caliber of guys that works for ASD, and they really WANT to be involved in drifting.
The first test day on Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was just a shake down for all the cars. Over the offseason my car was stripped down to the chassis. The ASD guys found some more power in my motor, which brought it up to 780hp. I also got a new front bar setup to help deal with the new increase in grip that the RT 615K is giving us. My shake down went awesome and it was so nice getting back in the car because I have not been in it since Irwindale. We had a few things we wanted to try on the car, so we called it a day in order to prep my car for the test on Wednesday.
All the drivers had Tuesday off so we went to visit the MMI office in Mooresville. They manage the DA guys and also look after a lot of NASCAR guys. We spent most of our time on their $40k simulator
Darren and I started to wonder around the building and he took it upon himself to get in Jamie Mcmurry’s race winning car that is on display in the lobby. HAHA he said that he had not seen a Cup car up close so he had to get in. Damn Irish!
We ended our day off with a little in-door karting, which is always fun to punt your teammates into a stack of tires! My favorite part of karting was watching JBrad drive around! Good times.
On Wednesday we were back out at Charlotte Motor Speedway to test the changes we made on the car. My Falken Tire 350z is so much fun to drive. We spent a little time tweaking the car to get a little more lateral grip. The rest of the day I spent just getting seat time and trying different things with my driving. It was so much damn fun and I think we are ready for Long Beach. This will be the first time that I have ever returned with the same car as the previous year.
We then had a team dinner and went out for St. Patrick’s Day. We even had a real life leprechaun (DMAC) with us. I wish I could tell you more about that night… It was insane!!! So many stories from that night.
It’s safe to say that I think all the Falken cars are ready to take on Long Beach. This year is going to be the most exciting year yet in Formula D and I think Team Falken is going to do just fine. We swept the podium in NJ, I wonder if we can make it an all Falken final 4…