Forsberg ran away with the first round of competition, beating out second-place finisher Kenneth Moen and his Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX in the head-to-head final. In third place was 2013 championship winner Michael Essa and his Yokohama BMW M3, who beat out Justin Pawlak for the final podium spot thanks to his top scoring qualifying run.
In the manufacturers' title, Nissan took an early lead with 122 points, which isn't a huge surprise considering five of the top ten drifters were piloting either a Z or a product of the brand's S platform. Ford, which had two drivers (Justin Pawlak and Vaughn Gittin, Jr.) in the top ten, took home second place, while BMW is currently third in the manufacturers' standings.
While Forsberg, who finished second in the overall standings in 2013, has pulled out to an early lead, there are still six more events in this year's championship. The next contest is set for May 9th and 10th at Road Atlanta. You can check out the entire Formula Drift schedule at the series' homepage.
We had photographer Drew Phillips on hand for the Long Beach contest. Take a look at his gallery of smoking tires and sideways cars at the top of the page. You can also scroll down for the complete results right from Long Beach.
Round 1: Streets of Long Beach started off the eleventh season of Formula DRIFT to a sell out crowd. Over 20,000 fans gathered to experience the drifting action and excitement on the famous Streets of Long Beach Grand Prix course. The Dailymotion Livestream partnership saw over 230,000 unique viewers watch the Driftstream over the event weekend with over 1 million views in a 24 hour period.
"It is truly a fantastic feeling to see not only the live event attendance grow steadily year after year, but also the global Driftstream audience," says Jim Liaw, President of Formula DRIFT. "We pride ourselves in being able to provide entertainment to such a young, engaged and tech-savvy audience."
Consistent driving helped propel Chris Forsberg to the top of the podium to earn the season's first victory and championship points lead. Forsberg faced Norway's Kenny Moen in the Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX in the final battle and after a close decision the judges awarded Forsberg the win. The top qualifier and 2013 defending champion, Michael Essa in the Essa Autosport / Yokohama Tire BMW M3 rounded out the podium with third place.
"It feels amazing to be on top of the podium, especially here at the first round of the eleventh season of Formula DRIFT," said Chris Forsberg, winner of Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. "We will try to keep the momentum with our new changes and take the championship home."
The 2014 Formula DRIFT season continues with Round 2: Road to the Championship on May 9-10 at Road Atlanta. For more information visit: www.formuladrift.com and find Formula DRIFT on Instagram @formulad, Facebook www.facebook.com/formuladrift and Twitter @FormulaD.
|Formula DRIFT Championship Presented by GoPro 2014 Standings After One Round|
|1. Forsberg, Chris||Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z||104.50 Points|
|2. Moen, Kenneth||Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX||84.50 Points|
|3. Essa, Michael||Essa Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3||74.00 Points|
|4. Pawlak, Justin||Falken Tire Ford Mustang||68.50 Points|
|5. Aasbo, Fredric||Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC||52.50 Points|
|6. Wang, Forrest||Get Nuts Lab / Hankook Tire / STR Racing Nissan S14||51.00 Points|
|7. Bakchis, Aurimas||Feal Suspension / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX||51.00 Points|
|8. McNamara, Darren||Falken Tire Nissan S14||51.00 Points|
|9. Gittin Jr., Vaughn||Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR||39.50 Points|
|10. McQuarrie, Tyler||GoPro / Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro||38.00 Points|
|11. Goodin, Pat||Enjuku Racing Nissan 240SX||35.00 Points|
|12. Tuerck, Ryan||Retaks / Maxxis Tires / Air Force Scion FR-S||35.00 Points|
|12. Grunewald, Conrad||Megan Racing / Top 1 Oil / BRE Chevrolet Camaro||35.00 Points|
|13. Mohan, Kyle||GT Radial / Energy-X Mazdatrix RX-8||35.00 Points|
|15. Baribeau, Mats||Gold in the Net Toyota Mark II||33.50 Points|
|16. Mertzanis, Dennis||Hyundai Genesis Legato AR1||33.50 Points|
|17. DeNofa, Chelsea||BC Racing / Nitto Tire BMW 3-Series||20.50 Points|
|18. Mordaunt, Patrick||Hyundai Genesis Legato AR7||19.00 Points|
|19. Kearney, Dean||ORACLE Lighting SRT Viper||17.50 Points|
|20. Gushi, Ken||GReddy Performance / Scion Racing Drift FR-S V2||17.50 Points|
|21. Nishida, Robbie||Achilles Radial / Bridges Racing Lexus SC300||17.50 Points|
|22. Castro, Jhonnattan||Progreso Nissan 370Z||17.50 Points|
|23. Hohnadell, Alec||Enjuku Racing Nissan S14||17.50 Points|
|24. Saito, Daigo||Achilles Radial Lexus SC430||17.50 Points|
|25. Rydquist, Carl||Road Race Engineering / Berk Nissan 350Z||17.50 Points|
|26. Yoshihara, Daijiro||Falken Tire / Discount Tire Subaru BRZ||17.50 Points|
|27. Jones, Jeff||CX Racing Nissan S14||17.50 Points|
|28. Landreville, Marc||Marc Landreville Racing Nissan S14||17.50 Points|
|29. Stoneback, Geoff||GSR Nissan S14||17.50 Points|
|30. Angelo, Tony||Tangelo Racing Scion FR-S||17.50 Points|
|31. Briggs, Dave||Achilles Radial / Turbo by Garrett Nissan S14||17.50 Points|
|32. Richter, Jeremy||Jeremy Richter Racing Nissan S13||17.50 Points|
|Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Event Results|
|1. Forsberg, Chris||Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z||Winner|
|2. Moen, Kenneth||Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX||2nd Place|
|3. Essa, Michael||Essa Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3||3rd Place|
|Manufacturers Championship Standings After One Round|
|1. Nissan||122.00 Points|
|2. Ford||108.00 Points|
|3. BMW||94.50 Points|
|4. Scion||87.50 Points|
|5. Chevrolet||73.00 Points|
|6. Lexus||35.00 Points|
|6. Mazda||35.00 Points|
|8. Toyota||33.50 Points|
|9. Hyundai||19.00 Points|
|10. Dodge||17.50 Points|
|Tire Championship Standings After One Round|
|1. Hankook||157.00 Points|
|2. Falken||119.50 Points|
|3. Achilles||102.00 Points|
|4. Nitto||90.50 Points|
|5. Yokohama||74.00 Points|
|6. Kenda||52.50 Points|
|7. GT Radial||35.00 Points|
|7. Maxxis||35.00 Points|