After winning the 2013 Formula DRIFT Championship Series, Michael Essa knew it would be difficult to repeat the same result again this year. As the series embarks into the fifth round, it’s clear this year’s competition is fiercer than ever, with more skilled drivers behind the wheels of seemingly faster cars. Everyone knows Essa is the man to beat and they’re not making it easy on him.
“The last three events, we were unable to keep up with the 1000 horsepower cars, and that caused us to get knocked out of competition early. Even with a third place qualifying effort in New Jersey, we were still ‘beat’ by a faster car.”
Essa’s BMW M3 is no slouch. With a finely-tuned 750 horsepower engine, he’s been able to perfect his drifting technique into an art form that is unrivaled in the series. But this year’s judges seem to be more concerned about proximity and are not placing much emphasis on driver style, line and angle. To combat this, Essa has come up with a plan: upgrade his car with the help of Newegg Automotive.
Major upgrades to the M3 have allowed Essa to push out an additional 150 horsepower on the car’s six-cylinder S54 Garrett Turbo engine. But as any drift fan knows, horsepower isn’t the only thing to help you get around the track faster. Other upgrades include new rear radiator ducting and a new electric water pump to improve the vehicle’s cooling system, along with re-worked shocks to get a better grip on the track. Essa says he’s been able to see improvements in the car and believes he has what it takes to “stay competitive with all top teams running in excess of 1000 horsepower.”
When I interviewed Essa earlier this year, he explained how he wanted to prove his championship wasn’t a fluke and that his self-built car could win again. It’s this enthusiastic do-it-yourself attitude that has helped him stay competitive this season (ranked 13th overall) despite not standing on the podium the last three races. It won’t be an easy task, but with a souped-up BMW and a can-do mindset, Essa hopes he can dominate the second half of the season and win the championship once again.
Round 5, nicknamed “Throwdown,” will take place on July 18th and 19th in Monroe, Washington. Held at the oldest track on the circuit, Evergreen Speedway is widely considered by many to be just as good as the original Irwindale “House of Drift”. The Pacific Northwest is also home to some of the most die-hard drift fans in the nation and Round 5 promises to live up to its moniker. Essa is not only anxious to get on the track, he’s ready to win.
“With more power and some testing, I hope to finish the season off strong!”
Newegg Automotive is giving away a pair of tickets to Round 5 of the Formula DRIFT Championship Series so you can catch Michael Essa in action! To enter, click here to “like” Newegg Marketplace on Facebook.