Formula DRIFT is an edge-of-your-seat kind of sport, but it’s not just all fun and games. In fact, with the amount of technical driving required and the strain on the vehicles, Formula DRIFT can mean a lot of hardship for competitors as it did for rookie driver Luke Lonberger. Behind the wheel of the Blu808 Corvette, Lonberger had a problem-plagued season in 2011. Check out the Vimeo video above for an in-depth look at Lonberger’s struggles in Formula DRIFT.
According to Lonberger, his team jumped “head first into a pool with no water” when it came to Forumla DRIFT this year. Backed by LG Motorsports as his main sponsor, Lonberger felt the pressures of Formula DRIFT right away.
At the first round of the series in Long Beach, California, Lonberger’s Corvette had a braking issue and ended up throwing him into a tire wall in the qualifying round, ending his race weekend early. At the next round of the series in Atlanta, Georgia, Lonberger and his team battled a lack of power from the car and later a severe drop in oil pressure. The oil pressure drop was so bad that the car was pushed to the starting line. Running on zero oil pressure, Lonberger qualified 33rd for a field of 32 competitors to move on, once again ending his race weekend early.
Because of the problems they were having, Lonberger and his team towed the car to LG Motorsports in Texas where the Corvette received a new engine. Lonberger then drove 27 hours straight from Texas to Palm Beach, Florida to compete in the next round, finally qualifying well enough to run in the main competition.
Just as things were looking up, they came crashing down again. In New Jersey at the fourth round of the Formula DRIFT series, Lonberger misjudged a maneuver and sent his Corvette nose first into a wall. After staying up late to fix the damage, the oil pressure dropped again in qualifying the next day and the engine let go as Lonberger was crossing the finish line. A new motor was put in and Lonberger managed to complete the fifth round in Seattle, Washington without issue.
Going into the sixth round in Las Vegas, the Corvette was having some mechanical issues. Although Lonberger and his team were able to figure out the problem, the team was unable to qualify for the main competition.
Although Lonberger had had so many issues, he was excited about competing in the last round in Irwindale, California. With an oval track ahead of it, the Corvette developed tuning issues that were later fixed. In the qualifying round, Lonberger qualified 14th, his highest qualifying placement. That put him in a good position for the evening competition where Lonberger finished in the top 16 that night – giving the team a good ending to a problem-plagued season.
Even with all the troubles Lonberger encountered in his 2011 season, he seems to be in good spirits about next year’s races. If nothing else, the 2011 season was a learning experience for both Lonberger and his team. We look forward to an even more potent Blu808 Corvette next year and a much better race season for Lonberger and his crew.