To date, 2009 has been a blur for Doug Van Den Brink and his D’Vanz Motorsports crew. It’s only May, but already they’ve had their turbocharged Mustang out of its stall 5 times this year at various events. The car has a new look thanks to John Yu and his crew at AIT Racing. Gone are the factory steel body panels as the car now sports an all new full composite body giving it a wider and lighter stance. The recognizable red & black colors are held over from 08’ but everything else is all-new for 09’.
After a brief pre-season “shake-down”, the Doug Nagy lead crew headed off to Long Beach for the Formula D season opener in April. This year the famed Grand Prix street circuit would not be kind to Doug as the teams new bodywork received a bit harder “break-in” period than they would have liked.
“I’m normally not one to make excuses but we really had the deck stacked against us at Long Beach this year.” DVM’s driver Doug Van Den Brink said. “With some very late arriving parts and some atlernate rule interpretations by the new Formula D tech officials, we had just enough time to get everything done, except sleep. I don’t think I’ve ever been more exhausted getting into a race car. At Long Beach you have to be razor sharp and thread the needle between all the concrete walls and unfortunately, I was anything but…. and the end result was proof of that….”
The team’s premature exit from “the beach” gave them an early start making repairs (in no small part “again” from the crew at AIT Racing) and readying the car for it’s long, yet speedy trip back east. Not only did the car’s “cosmetics” need a bit of freshening but Doug, doubling as the “truck driver” had to have the car in Birmingham Alabama by the following Wednesday, so he could join his fellow-Mustang driver Vaughn Gittin, Jr. as the two were slated to be the first drivers ever to drift on the pristine Barber Motorsports track for the 45th Anniversary Mustang bash.
With over 3500 Mustangs and their owners in attendance, the 4-day event exposed a new group of folks to the exciting sport of drifting. Similar to the “demo’s that Doug and “JR” perform at the Barrett-Jackson Shows, the two drivers would again demonstrate their skills at maneuvering their “steeds” with amazing precision. This time, however, the 50-yd square “corral” that the two usually work in at Barrett-Jackson would give way to Barbers rolling 2.5-mile world-class road course. Gone would be the tight “skidpad” maneuvers and in came 100+mph slides that would leave the Alabama circuit in a haze of Falken rubber for 5-minutes after their two-lap runs were concluded. Click here for link to short video from the weekend.
“Drifting this race track was an amazing experience.” Doug said. “At first we had to prove to Mr. Barber that we could drift AND stay off his “country club” quality grass. Barber MS Park is without doubt one of the most beautiful racetracks I have ever seen and they are very keen to keep it that way (which we fully respect and understand). In fact, no one had ever been allowed to drift this circuit before. I think Mr. Barber thought drifting was just people doing donuts in old clapped-out cars. He now realizes that professional “drifters” are respectful drivers that appreciate a great race circuit as much as traditional racers and that the level of ability is only surpassed by the level of excitement they bring to the crowd. I’m not saying that Mr. Barber is going to put a drift car into his amazing “on site” museum but I do know how much he enjoyed the crowd excitement and the screams that erupted every time we came sliding by.” Doug added.
After a short, but well deserved rest, it was on to Virginia to one of Doug’s favorite practice spots. VIR is always a fun place and their Patriot circuit lends itself very well to drifting. Besides getting the opportunity to turn laps of his own, Doug was given the honor to help judge the “grassroots” US Drift competition. “It’s always fun to be at these events and judging for me, puts a new perspective on things.” Doug said.
Please see part two of this update for more info on DVM activities and to read how much fun Doug and the boys had down in Atlanta…