Aasbo Finishes Third at Wild 2022 Formula DRIFT Orlando, 9th for Whiteman
It was thunderbolts and lightning, perhaps a little bit frightening… but most of all, the 2022 Formula DRIFT Orlando event was an extremely exciting round of drifting for Team ENEOS!
In the PRO competition, defending champ Fredric Aasbo qualified first and used his driving finesse in the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra to skillfully navigate extremely wet conditions to finish third.
The PROSPEC Championship kicked off its first round at Orlando Speedworld, and ENEOS driver Rich Whiteman qualified second in his Freedom Motorsportz Toyota JZX100, but was ultimately eliminated from the Top 16.
As the rain started to come down during the Top 32, Aasbo defeated local favorite Adam LZ, who spun out. He then advanced past Jeff Jones in the Top 16 before meeting Michael Essa in the Great 8, where the Norwegian Hammer put down one of the best chase runs of the weekend to take the win.
Aasbo’s weekend ended in the Final 4 against Chris Forsberg, a battle of champions. They had matched up in the finals during the previous round in Atlanta where Aasbo triumphed, but this time Forsberg moved on, leaving Aasbo to settle for third place.
“Between the heat and rain, Orlando was wild,” Aasbo said. “A big thanks to the fans who braved the weather to stay with us to the end of the night, and to Papadakis Racing to keep me set up properly for the changing conditions.”
Whiteman debuted his refreshed Freedom Motorsportz Toyota JZX100 for the first round of PROSPEC competition, not only with a new livery but also a new 1.5JZ engine and loads of updates.
Orlando would be the first event to stress-test the new setup, and despite the heat and minor mechanical issues, the JZX100 looked at home on the track, setting the pace as one of the fastest cars in the PROSPEC field.
Having set a very high benchmark in qualifying, Whiteman held the top position until Andy Hateley eventually beat his score. But earning P2 was a remarkable feat considering it was only the second time Whiteman had driven the new competition car.
Going into the Top 32 competition heats, Whiteman took an easy pass into the Top 16 after Carlos Arrieta experienced engine failure and couldn’t make their battle. Next, he faced Nate Chen, and while it was an excellent lead run that filled each zone without lifting the throttle, the chase run proved challenging as Whiteman’s tires weren’t able to keep up, taking him out of the competition but putting him in a very respectable 9th place overall.
“Despite not making the podium, this event was a huge success,” said Whiteman. “We proved the JZX100 is a threat to our competitors and I’m driving with confidence and precision, especially in this weather. We’re learning a lot about tire consumption, which we’ll take with us to our home track: Englishtown at the next round!”
Aasbo and Whiteman head to Formula DRIFT Round 4: The Gauntlet, in Englishtown, New Jersey from June 9-11, 2022.