Rain and shine, drift driver Schulte knows he must adapt

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Entering the 2019 season of Formula Drift Pro2 with a chassis tested only a handful of times really pushed Andrew Schulte to an unexpected place.  Frustrations ran high when the rain came down and made a familiar track almost unpredictable. 

Schulte, who is sponsored on the drift circuit this year by ClassicCars.com, had competed before at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, in Gridlife 2018, so he expected to finally feel more in his element. 

Schulte faced many challenges at Road Atlanta | Rebecca Nguyen photo

“Right from the start of practice we starting to deal with a lot of steering bind issues that were really hampering our ability to enter into Turn One,” he said.

Schulte noticed that after lowering the front of the car for the previous round, in Orlando, Florida, when counter steering full lock to the right at Atlanta, the front tires were making contact with brackets in the wheel well,  effectively inducing front-wheel braking that caused the car to lose momentum, or to over rotate, forcing him to re-initiate into the next turn and ending his run in an incomplete. Read more on qualifying: In-depth look at how Formula Drift qualifying works.

In addition to the mechanical challenges, heavy rain came down between his qualifying runs, meaning one qualifying run was on a dry track and the next on a wet one.

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One of the lessons taken home from the track was the need to listen to the car and then to communicate to the team what is needed. There is a spotter who watches the car on the track, but it’s the driver’s responsibility to make sure the crew knows how the car is responding so adjustments can be made.

That sort of relationship only develops with more seat time than Schulte had available in the early-season events.

With all of that in mind, Schulte is looking ahead to the Gridlife event in Michigan May 30-June 2 and some solid seat time to prepare him for Round 3, scheduled for August 9-10 in St. Louis. “I’m looking forward to learning how to communicate with this car and listening to what it’s telling me and communicating with it better,” he said.

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An experienced automotive motorsports photographer and enthusiast of all things with wheels, Rebecca Nguyen is the Marketing Manager of ClassicCars.com. Former Marketing and Project Coordinator for Voodoo13 and Ksport USA, Rebecca has a unique perspective developed from being on several different sides of the automotive world. From developing innovative automotive products to doing her own DIY modifications on her 2003 Subaru WRX and 2014 Ducati Monster, Rebecca’s passion for the hobby brings fresh ideas to The Journal. In addition, she has spent many years publishing event coverage for events like SEMA, Formula Drift, and Global RallyCross while coordinating the annual Future Collector Car Show in Scottsdale Arizona.

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