We are just hours away from the 2023 Formula Drift season opener in Long Beach, California. That would be the main event, as yesterday we saw the qualifying round, where YouTuber Adam LZ unfortunately crashed his 2024 Mustang RTR drift car.
Adam LZ is sharing one of Team RTR’s three brand-new S650 Mustangs with team owner Vaughn Gittin Jr. for this season. However, in one of the practice runs, Adam exited the first outside zone and, after making the transition into zone two, he overshot the maneuver and ended up spinning.
Despite going all out on the uber-wide steering and dipping into the 1,300 hp of the nitrous-fed, V8-animated 2024 Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD, the driver couldn’t save the car. As such, the vehicle slid into the tire wall on the side of the track—the posterior made contact first, with the front end also hitting the rubber.
As you can see in the Instagram video Adam LZ published below, which contains in-car footage, the impact was on the driver’s side. Fortunately, Adam, who calls this one of his worst crashes, wasn’t hurt, but the car took some serious damage—the exterior shot of the hit vehicle that you can find in the gallery comes from photographer Caleb Moore (@calebmoore530).
Even so, the driver gathered his strength and after the team managed to fix the car in record time, returned to qualifying. In fact, you can see Vaughn Gittin Jr. congratulating the YouTuber for his post-accident boldness in the comments section of the Instagram post below.
How the Knockout Qualifying Format in Formula Drift works
A total of 32 drivers entered Round 1 of qualifying, with this involving a knockout format to prepare the competition schedule for today. The Knockout Qualifying Format (KQF) means the bottom eight qualifiers need to do a second run, with this applying to any athlete who didn’t manage to score on the first run.
However, anybody completing a successful run gets a place on the grid. And, out of eight drivers who went into KQF, Adam LZ included, only American Kyle Mohan and Brazilian Joao Barion didn’t make it.
Adam LZ has a less-than-easy case on his hands, though. So, once he earned his spot, he drew a battle that will see him going door to door with fellow RTR driver Chelsea DeNofa. We wish them both the best of luck and remind you Formula D is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
And you’ll be able to watch the live feed for Formula Drift 2023 Long Beach in the official YouTube clip below.
Formula Drift Long Beach main battle live feed:
Update: Adam LZ talks about his 2024 Mustang RTR drift car crash at Long Beach in a 40-minute video that sees him covering the entire event. The most important new information is the feedback on the 2024 Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD coming from the other two drivers of the team, both of which are more experienced than Adam.
Chelsea DeNofa and James Deane concluded that the new-generation drift car’s most significant difference is that it no longer offers maximum grip during full throttle slides, which means drivers can modulate the gas pedal to get the most out of the capable pony.
It appears that the more experienced drivers needed less time to adjust to the said chance and we can see Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the role of team leader (remember, he shares this car with Adam LZ) at the 18:54 point of the video below, explaining the changes the YouTuber can make to adapt to the new car. The crash itself awaits you at the 5:33 point and if that Pink Ferrari F40 at the 21:48 timestamp pushes your curiosity button, keep in mind we covered the machine in depth when it was unveiled at the 2022 SEMA show.