Ireland's Eric O'Sullivan Slides Into The U.S. Drifting Scene!
Transitions are often a difficult part of change for people. Relate it to your own experiences and you'll see that change almost always brings a challenge to the table. Some people shy away from challenges, some welcome it. In the case of Eric O'Sullivan, he's the type of person that not only welcomes challenges, but also typically excels when faced with them.
Settling for the 2nd place on the podium, Eric O'Sullivan took home a strong finish. Photo by Wrecked Magazine.
Drift racer Eric O'Sullivan in action. Photo by Wrecked Magazine.
Eric O'Sullivan drives a North American spec Subaru Impreza STI. Photo by Wrecked Magazine.
If you track Eric's life back to a year ago, he was a national drifting champion in a professional European drifting series. He loved traveling Europe, racing, and meeting new people. When Eric was presented with an opportunity to expand his racing career to North America however, he didn't think twice before packing his bags and taking on a new challenge.
Before his arrival to the states, Eric had established relationships with various companies that backed his racing endeavors. In addition to the companies that were on board with Eric's racing program, he picked up a few more sponsors such as AEM, Dynamic Autosports and Hankook Tires. For his rookie year in the '09 Formula Drift Championship series, Eric had a huge transition ahead of him.
One of the more prominent differences in Eric's drifting campaign happens to be his car. Formerly, Eric piloted a right-hand-drive AE86. Upon joining the Dynamic Autosports / Hankook Tires / Rockstar Energy Drink team however, he was placed behind the wheel of a North American spec Subaru Impreza STI. The STI is of the left-hand-drive variety and converted to rear-wheel drive. It took Eric a couple competitions to warm up to the new vehicle. However, Eric has overcome many obstacles along the way and set himself up for the coveted Formula D Rookie Of The Year Award.
It was at Formula D's fifth round of racing that Eric climbed through the competition to really prove his drifting mastery in the states. The fifth round of racing in the Formula D series was held at the Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington on August 7th and 8th. The Hankook Tires team did exceptionally well as all members qualified into the Top 16.
As eliminations began, Eric was pitted against veteran Formula D driver Kenji Yamanaka. The initial tandem run had Eric leading with Kenji giving chase. Eric took a high line along the high-speed bank of the Evergreen Speedway. Gaining momentum against the bank caused a substantial gap between the two competitors, giving a strong finish to Eric. On the second tandem run, Yamanaka led and Eric stayed door to door with his competitor, the judges called it and Eric moved onto the Top 16. During these eliminations, Eric's teammates Robbie Nishida in his Nissan 350Z and Ryuji Miki in his RX-7 moved onto the Top 16 as well.
In the Top 16 race, Eric raced Drift Emporium's Jodin Lejeune in his supercharged-V8 Infiniti G35. Since a smaller-displacement four-cylinder engine powers the Dynamic Autosport's Subaru, Eric knew he had to utilize the bank maneuver once more to gain a lead against Jodin. Eric dove into the bank and maintained his distance. In the following run, Eric chased Jodin and drew an aggressive line to take the win and secure his position in the Great 8 elimination.
The Great 8 competition was a much closer race than the previous bouts. Running against Tony Brakiohiapa, Eric turned up the pressure and chased Tony closely in the first run. With Eric leading, Tony did the same and the race was too close to call. The judges demanded a "One More Time" to determine the winner. During the OMT race (One More Time), Tony pitched his car too wide on the inner corner and Eric passed. On the next tandem run, Eric ran a high line along the bank, pulling far away from Tony. The judges called the round in favor of Eric, which moved him into the Final 4.
Lining up against Falken Tire's Vaughn Gitten Jr. in the Semi Final proved Eric's place to run with the top contenders. Gitten led in the first run with a strong line, however Eric did well by staying close behind. On the 2nd run, Eric led but there was a major impact between the two racers. The judges deliberated over the cause of the crash and ruled in favor of Eric. Even though this decision forwarded Eric into the final, the damage to his vehicle was too great to compete. Settling for the 2nd place on the podium, Eric took home a strong finish.
With two more rounds of racing left in the Formula D championship series, Eric plans to land another podium finish before the final. With the amount of ambition that Eric possesses, we don't doubt that we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the future.