Given the opportunity to work with an up and coming drift-racing
driver is not something to take lightly. I met Rob Primo at his sponsor’s shop
Garage Autohero, photographed his car, and got to know him. The following
weekend we met at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA for the final NW Pro-Am
Drift event of the season—where Primo collected enough points to earn his pro
license for the 2013 Formula D season. Primo got me into the pits and offered
me a chance to ride with him in the S14 on a couple practice runs.
I also conducted an interview with Primo to find out a
little more about him. Here’s what he had to say:
HMA: How long
have you been playing Forza? What is your favorite car and track in Forza? Now
that you’re drifting in Forza, how does it compare to real life drifting?
RP: I have been playing Forza since 2006 when
I started playing Forza Motorsport 2. My favorite car for racing in Forza
Motorsport 4 is the Ferrari 458 Italia. That car is amazing with slicks
on! My favorite car for drifting is probably the Top Secret Supra or my
own personal S14. My favorite track for drifting is the Iberian
International Circuit Mini. Forza drifting is actually pretty
accurate. In fact this game is a staple in the drifting community
including Formula D drivers who need to get some good simulation practice
during the off season. It’s cool how you use real world adjustments with
your e-brake, clutch, brakes, and throttle to drift well in Forza.
HMA: Now that you have your Formula D Pro license what will you focus
on as you step into those shoes?
RP: I really just want to focus on enjoying
the amazing opportunity of competing in Formula D. I have been working
very hard to get to this stage and I don’t want to lose sight of why I got into
this sport in the first place. Plain and simple it’s fun and brings a
smile to my face every time. Plus I know I’ll put a ton of pressure on
myself and if I keep that “this is fun” mindset I will drive better.
obviously very busy with work, tuning and racing, but what do you do when you
have some free time, or does that novelty even exist?
RP: I don’t have much free time these days
but when I do I enjoy spending time with friends, snowboarding, mountain
biking, and playing video games
HMA: You are a
full foot taller than me does your neck get sore having to look down so far to
make eye contact?
: I stretch a lot to avoid neck pain from
looking down. Probably the best part about being tall and drifting is when
people seriously ask me if I drive from the back seat.
Johniwanna and Rob Primo chillin' at the track
HMA: People say
you are a really nice guy, and I’ve heard you called a NW favorite. Why do you
think that is?
RP: If I’m considered a NW favorite then
that’s a great honor considering there are a lot of great drivers and awesome
people within the NW drift community. I just try to showcase my individuality
and I think that comes through. Additionally I like to give back to the
sport, so I’m always looking for ways to help the sport grow and get additional
tracks and venues open to the idea of drifting.
HMA: Did you play
an active part in the livery design of your S14? What about the overall tune
and set up?
RP: In regards to the design of my livery I
told Factory 83 some parameters to work with (I like water and love the color
green), but he freestyled a vinyl scheme that would turn heads. I can’t
take credit for his genius. That car was vinyled for 19 hours straight
from noon on a Saturday to 7 a.m. on a Sunday. At 7 a.m. we promptly
loaded the car and headed for the track.
Regarding the engine and
overall setup. I have some great help and advice from Garage Autohero,
John Reed Racing, and Portland Speed Industries in regards to setup,
fabrication, engine building, tuning, and prep. But a lot of the assembly
and tear down is done by myself and my father. I’m proud to say that I
have taken the car apart and put it back together a few times.
HMA: Will you keep this car for the 2013 season?
RP: Right now the plan is to keep this
car. However if someone were to come along and provide me with a full car
or a new chassis I would consider changing. If I could keep one thing I
would keep my 2JZGTE engine. Something that I kind of thought would be
cool would to swap my engine, wheels, and anything else into a Lexus IS300 4-door
and make that my competition car. However those are just my wild
HMA: Thanks a ton
for your time and for being a Heavy Metal Affliction story!
RP: Thanks for the opportunity! I
need to thank my awesome sponsors Garage Autohero, John Reed Racing, Ten
Gun, Era 1, NOS Energy Drink, Falken Tire, Factory 83, The Hoonigans, Keep
Drifting Fun, Northwest Riders, Portland Speed Industries, Northwest Nissans,
Kaaz USA, and Hell Yeah Custom Coating. I also want to that David Sullivan
of Sully Life for the amazing video series this season! Thanks to the
awesome photographers and videographers Sit Titus, Yoshi Shindo, Tandem of Die,
Yaer Productions, AW Films, and Blat Blat Pew Pew. Lastly I want to thank
my family and friends for all the amazing support over the years.
the interview and watching Primo and his dad swap out a squeaky belt, we hit
the track. Check out the amazing video from the roof of the car and my in-car
footage to hear me absolutely loving it! It also gave me a new understanding of
the draw of the sport, as Primo told me it would.
Rooftop video of my ride along:
In car footage of my ride along:
Evergreen Speedway there are two tracks. A 3/8 mile track and a 5/8 mile track,
they both run a similar drift course but the speed carried through the banked
turn they initiate on is vastly different. The power it takes to drift at
higher speeds is relative to the increased risk.
drift awesomely you must have grip. That sounds contradictory but the fact is
drift racers want to run with as much rubber as they can and run very low
pressure. This contributes to the awesome display of tire smoke and flying tire
bits, but it’s really about traction.
is also all about control, flow, and style. As a judged event, drivers need to
maintain drift, manage the maximum angle possible, and do so with style and
grace. Grace even includes kissing the wall with the tail of the car. A light
scrape on the rear bumper is a sign of greatness and a scuff to be savored like
a trophy. Such a mark often means a winning run. Primo’s S14 has several.
Check out these practice runs Primo did on the big boy (5/8)
Follow Rob Primo on his Facebook page to keep up with his
latest events. He also shares a lot of pictures via his Instagram- @robprimo
If this story has whetted your appetite for drifting why not
take advantage of an opportunity to compete against Rob Primo,--Gamertag SPONGE W0RTHY in the “Primo Drift” Monthly
Rivals event. Talk some smack in the Primo Drift
thread then go lay some rubber. Unicorns will be gifted to posters in the
thread and randomly among all who compete in the Rivals event.