There’s drama in Formula Drift now that a new challenger has appeared in Pro2, Youtuber Adam_LZ has allegedly skipped the Pro-Am series angering some.
It was brought to the greater drift community’s attention earlier today (Apr. 10,2019) that a new name popped up on Formula Drift Pro2’s driver lineup, one Adam Lizotte-Zeisler A.K.A. @Adam_LZ, a popular Youtuber, wrencher, and self-made drifter whose made a name for himself coming up from near obscurity through his videos. A few fans of Formula Drift and several armchair experts are upset that he’s skipped the Pro-Am feeder series altogether while others argue that his presence and performance might be for the greater good of Formula Drift.
Check out a screenshot of his profile on Formula Drift’s official website below.
Technically, skipping the feeder series is allowed and has been done before in Formula Drift, at least at the Pro level. Daigo Saito is probably one of the more memorable drivers that petitioned in with his extensive drifting history and it clearly paid off with a title win in 2012. More than a handful of drifters from Europe have also skipped feeder series in the past to great Pro success, too.
Formula Drift is pretty transparent about petitioning in. Here’s their rule from the rulebook below.
“Option 2: PETITION
A driver that believes that he/she is qualified to compete in Formula DRIFT PRO2 Championship on a competitive level but chooses to not to compete in a Formula DRIFT licensing series may submit a petition to Formula DRIFT for review. The petition application format may be obtained by contacting the Formula DRIFT office. After a reasonable review period, Formula DRIFT will notify the driver on the status of their request. Driver’s with insufficient experience or credentials based on a predetermined formula will not be considered and will be notified that they must obtain a license through Formula DRIFT licensing series. Petitions are accepted from June 1st to September 1st and will be reviewed by the Formula DRIFT Competition Director.”
Those who’ve expressed criticism and anger at Formula Drift over their decision to let Adam_LZ skip Pro-Am say that the feeder series is a right of passage that even Formula Drift put into place to prepare drivers for a potential Pro appearance. Before Pro2, drivers hopped into Pro straight from a Pro-Am feeder series. This proved to be a recipe for disaster for some drivers as there was chasm in the level of competition between Pro and Pro-Am. To better get drivers acclimated to the level of competition they’d face, an intermediate Pro2 series was born.
You can read what most of the armchair critics said on Formula Derp’s post below.
Having watched a handful of drivers myself jump through the hurdles of a Pro-Am season, there’s some merit and experience going through a full Pro-Am season you just can’t any other way. In Pro-Am, you learn to tandem with drivers of similar skill level, how to maintain your drift cars to last an entire season given a limited budget, and you more importantly put in the seat time that’s necessary to compete at a higher level.
Then again, it looks like Adam_LZ has the skill to make it in Pro2. Admittedly watching more of Cleetus McFarland than Adam_LZ, I’m not fully aware of all the drifting he’s done but from the handful of videos I’ve seen, the man can certainly chuck it. As per one commentator in the know
“He’s run Lonestar with us before, winning one TXSL event. And did very well in a 40+ car field in Pro-Am. I know he won king of OSW beating pro 2 licensed dudes, a final bout win also. His driving speaks for itself honestly, all they would have to do is watch some clips of him in that S15.”
Someone also dropped this gem in the comments that was probably brought into the discussion of his Pro2 petition.
At a glance, LZ has:
2,445,910 YouTube subscribers
973,000 Instagram followers
470,142 Facebook page likes.
Formula Drift has:
116,154 YouTube subscribers
896,000 Instagram followers,
2,264,284 Facebook page likes.
There’s no denying that Adam_LZ will bring in a lot of new fans to the sport from his Youtube videos which has to be a good thing overall.
Pro 2 is a four-event series that starts out, coincidentally, in Florida, home of Adam_LZ, later this April.
I’ll be curious to see if Adam_LZ makes it to the other three rounds in Missouri, Georgia, and Texas and this isn’t a one round thing. Perhaps his performance in Florida will shed some light on that.
Anyways, welcome to Pro2 Adam_LZ, and best of luck in Round 1!