Heavy Metal Affliction -- Rob Primo Interview
This is part two of the story of Rob Primozich, aka Rob Primo—Gamertag SPONGE W0RTHY--former pro-am, and now Formula D Pro-drift driver and his Nissan S14. Read part one here.
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:
Heavy Metal Affliction: What was your first car? What is your daily driver today?
Rob Primo: My first car was a 1990 Honda Civic DX hatchback. It was stock and slow. I knew nothing about working on cars at that time. I just knew how to change my stock tires out for my studded snow tires as this was my “Billy goat” to Mount Baker. My daily driver is a perfect condition low miles 2005 BMW M3 with the 6sp. It is stock except for a few exterior accents and a bike rack. My inner car nut is wanting to modify it but priorities set in and the drift car along with tires take precedence. I have wanted a M3 for over a decade and finally I was able to find my dream car a few months ago. I built up an E46 M3 on Forza in a color and look that I liked, ironically that was the same color and wheel setup that I ended up finding.
HMA: When did you first drift a car? Did it immediately inspire a love of drifting? What got you into the sport?
RP: I first drifted a car back in 2003 at an autocross where I was driving my 1995 Nissan 240sx with a SR20DET engine (the very same car that I own today) but that was at such a low level that I didn’t really know what I was really doing. I, like many others, saw old Japanese Option videos and saw things that I thought would never be possible for me at least. I even road tripped to Irwindale Speedway in 2003 to watch the first ever D1 Grand Prix USA, where I stood on the inner wall and was covered by tire shards at the end of the day. But still not hooked. It was the first actual “drift” event that I took part in back in February of 2004. I was on four hours sleep and I drove three hours each way into Canada to drive. Upon the end of the day I had a smile on my face that I couldn’t shake the entire drive home. That is when I knew I was hooked and would do anything to drive every chance I got.
A post-race interview with Rob Primo
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?
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.
After 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:
At 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.
To 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.
Drifting 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) track.
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.