Feal Race Team finishes P2 and P3 at the 2024 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship opening round at the Streets of Long Beach.

Simen Olsen and Odi Bakchis Podium at 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

Following an incredible, action-packed 20th anniversary Formula DRIFT season, Team ENEOS kicked off Round1 of the 2024 PRO Championship on the Streets of Long Beach in fine form, as both Feal Race Team members — Simen Olsen and Odi Bakchis — reached the podium, taking P2 and P3 respectively.

Feal Race Team: Simen Olsen (left) and Odi Bakchis (right), 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach
Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra with a fresh, California-inspired livery, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

The biggest competition change was the elimination of single-run qualifying in both PRO and PROSPEC Championships, allowing FD fans to enjoy tandem-only competition from the first runs on Friday to the winner’s podium on Saturday and giving new/emerging drivers a chance to compete at each round versus elimination after solo qualifying runs. (For additional series changes, visit here)

Odi Bakchis, FD Media Day, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach
Simen Olsen piloting the Feal Suspension Nissan S14.9, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

Mixed weather conditions brought additional challenges to an already difficult Long Beach drift course, challenging drivers to navigate across varying surfaces as they maneuvered through Turns 9, 10 and 11, not to mention the unforgiving track walls of the tight Grand Prix street circuit.


With the new Seeding Bracket replacing the former solo qualifying runs, fans watched 16 drivers battle it out on Friday to secure one of the remaining eight places in Saturday’s competition heats.

Under this new system, the top 24 positions in the competition bracket will be determined by the finishing positions from the previous round. Being the season opener, Long Beach was based on the 2023 Championship standings. Moving forward, the ranking for Round 2 will be based on the finishing results of Round 1 (and so on).

Feal Race Team at the opening ceremonies, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

Ranked first was Odi Bakchis, leading the competition bracket with his second place finish in the 2023 season; he was promoted to first after the 2023 Champion Chelsea DeNofa left the series. Simen Olsen was also bumped up from fourth to third, while Fredric Aasbo shifted from sixth to fifth.


Aasbo debuted a new livery for his Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra, designed by automotive artist Jon Sibal and inspired by Southern California’s beaches. Qualifying fifth, he faced Dan Burkett and Trent Beechum before pairing up against fellow three-time FD Champion James Deane in his right-hand drive AutoZone Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD, who came back from a catastrophic fire during FD Media Day to battle like a true warrior.

Fredric Aasbo glides through the rain in the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach
Party like a Rockstar, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

Though both are highly skilled at driving in rainy conditions, Aasbo and Deane went to a One More Time (OMT) after their first match was deemed too close to call; Deane won the OMT and became the eventual winner of the Long Beach round.

Smoke show, Fredric Aasbo, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

Long Beach is a hodgepodge of a track,” Aasbo said. “Partial parking lot and freeway concrete, when the rain started it was like driving on soap. Even though we didn’t get on the box, we’re off to a good start.

Bakchis had his work cut out for him, taking down Jeff Jones, Branden Sorensen and the sensational newcomer in the Great 8, 14-year-old Hiroya Minowa, winner of the Seeding Bracket, who’s said to have driven 10,000 laps in his practice sim before driving the actual Long Beach course in the Enjuku Racing / Cusco / Jerry Yang Racing Toyota GT86. But real-world experience and skill prevailed, as Bakchis the FD veteran advanced to the Final 4 to face Deane, who took down fellow ENEOS teammate Aasbo in the Great 8.

Feal Suspension / GT Radial Nissan S15, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

The rain continued to come down, causing the track to become more treacherous as the drivers grappled for traction. Against Deane (and the downpour), Bakchis made a small mistake, hitting the wall in OZ1 in the chase position, causing him to over-rotate slightly and drop back; the proximity loss gave Deane the win. With his higher qualifying position, Bakchis secured third on the podium.

Both cars on the podium, protected by ENEOS and I couldn’t be happier,” Bakchis said. “As team owner and driver, backed by a great driver [Simen] who pushed me to put up results for the team.

Pushing the limits, Simen Olsen, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

For the finals, Olsen met Deane at the starting line during a torrential storm, and in FD, drifters don’t stop for rain. This is where the Norwegian and Irishman showed their prowess on the wet. Olsen set a deep line through the turns, with Deane sticking close throughout the run. Deane ran deeper into the Zones on his lead run while Olsen struggled to match his angle and duration of proximity. It was a close call but the win went to Deane.

Olsen versus James Deane, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach
Simen Olsen chases James Deane during the Finals, 2024 Formula DRIFT Long Beach

I’m stoked for this double podium with Odi!” Olsen exclaimed. “The car’s running better than ever, especially with ENEOS.

Olsen’s second place equaled his best result in Englishtown last season, continuing the success he achieved since joining the Feal Race Team. And with captain Bakchis in third, you can be sure they’ll be gunning for glory.


Aasbo, Bakchis and Olsen take on Round 2 of the PRO Championship from May 9-11, 2024 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Faruk Kugay begins his PROSPEC Championship season with the ENEOS / DEVSPEED Nissan S14 the same weekend.