I got word that Matt Field was close to firing the 2014 version of his Formula Drift LS powered Nissan S14. So I packed up the camera gear late last night and made the hour long drive down to San Jose, which lies at the Southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area.
When I walked through the door at “Drift Cave” I was greeted by Matt and his car just behind him, which looked as though it was definitely farther along than the condition I saw in January, but not necessarily ready to be on the road to Southern California any time soon. Certainly not by Tuesday, when they are expected to participate in the Formula Drift Media day on the temporary circuit set up on the streets of Long Beach.
Matt and his team have been working late nights – and when I say late, I mean early the next morning…like 5AM early. They had been pulling this schedule for the past few weeks, and you could tell that the team was growing weary, however it was clear that they would continue to push on and be sure the car was completed before the quickly approaching deadline.
Since I knew there was no way I was going to make it to the early AM window when the engine would fire, I spent time taking in the details of the still under construction car, and asking Matt and is crew a few questions about the upcoming season. These guys are great to talk to, and I know from past conversations that they would be honest and open with their thoughts and opinions. Always good stuff.
There have been several changes, and even more upgrades to the car this year, and with that, Matt feels he can be more competitive. When I asked, considering all the changes, what Matt would consider a successful season, he told me that anything less than contending for the championship going into the finals at Irwindale would be considered a failure. The team members all push each other extremely hard. I asked if that caused some conflict during the long season, and they told me in no uncertain terms, “yes it does…but because we air our shit right away, it forces us to deal with it right away. By the end of the night we’ve discussed it, worked it out and moved on. We don’t take it personally and we do it because we want to see the others guys on the team be successful.” These guys genuinely hate to lose, and they make no bones about it.
Considering the fact that they finished in seventh place overall last year on a truly shoestring budget I’d have to say that these guys are legitimate contenders to take the overall this year. Keep an eye out. This small team from San Jose might just surprise you.