Photos and Words by Colton Mantolino
With the Formula Drift series kicking off a few weeks ago, amateur drivers around the U.S. are battling it out in the Pro-Am circuit for a chance to drive with the pros. Aspiring drivers from all over the southwest compete in the Southwest Drift Series which is a 5 event Pro-Am circuit where the top 3 drivers are awarded their Formula Drift Pro 2 license. Even though these amateur drivers aren’t at the pro level yet, it doesn’t mean that they should be taken lightly! I’ve been shooting the Southwest Drift Series (recently known as Vegas Drift Pro-Am) for about two years now and I’ve had the pleasure of watching a good friend of mine, Blake Olsen compete. One of the younger guys in the circuit, Blake has definitely given other drivers a good fight for the top.
As the drifting community grows larger every season, the competition in the Pro-Am series never disappoints with the amount of talent shown. Whenever I get the chance to see Blake compete, he reminds me a lot of Forumla Drift driver, Forrest Wang back in the day when he was driving the S14 on Work Vs-kf’s. Like Forrest Wang, Blake has captured the best of both worlds in drifting, style and great driving. The world of motorsports is nothing new for Blake. Being a multi-champion in dirt track racing, the world of drifting was something that always captured his attention. When I was given the chance to interview Blake about what sparked his interest in drifting, he simply said, “What got me into the sport was watching videos of grass roots drifting in Japan, small events in the states to Formula Drift competitions. Coming from dirt track racing, the sliding aspect was second nature to me, so I thought it would be fun to mess around with.” From there, everything fell into place and Blake found himself building his very first car to compete in.
Blake is the owner of this beautiful 1991 Nissan S13 coupe and seeing this car parked in the pit is truly a spectacle, but watching this car go sideways on the track is a whole different story. Blake has captured what a lot of people aspire to build into their cars, lots of style with out compromising its function on the track. Unlike most drift cars we see competing, this car is low to the ground, but this car is no show queen. Blake picked every part for this car to not only look show quality, but to able to hold up to the intense beating on the track. His s13 is powered by an LS3 V8 with a t56 transmission making 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft of torque to the wheels. With a fleet of wheels consisting of Work Vs-Kf, Work Rezax 2, Wed LXZ and Cerberus 2 wrapped in Falken Azeni tires, putting all that power to the ground is something this car doesn’t have any trouble doing. The styling for the car is brought to life by BN type 2 aero, a Dmax vented hood, custom light bar front lights, and a low mount Big Country Labs wing with custom end plates. 35mm Origin Labo type 3 front fenders and 50mm Dmax rear fenders give the car a widened, aggressive stance. A full custom cage, Sparco Evo 2 seats and an Impact 3″ five point harness is found inside to keep things safe. Being a part of Drift Team Animal Style, Blake decided to paint the s13 a simple glossy red to pull everything together.
At the end of the day, Blake aspires to finish a Pro-Am series with a few podium finishes and to ultimately get his Pro 2 license. Every event he pushes his car and driving ability at 110% and continues to grow as a driver. Drifting is a fast growing sport, and Blake definitely has a spot with some of the top drivers we all know. He would like to thank his parents, his girlfriend Bonnie, and all his sponsors (Butch’s Speed Shop, Patrick’s Signs, Falken Tire, Troy Lee Designs, VR Wheels, Racing Optics, and Hoonigan) for all the love and support. Also a big shout out to Nick Dizon and Charlie Ongsinco who run each series and help the community grow, Drift Team Animal Style, and all the friends I’ve [Blake] made along the way!