Driver: Mike Bolanos Photo Credit: Paul Lopez
We caught up with Mike Bolanos one of the OG’s in the Las Vegas Grassroots Drifting scene today after his 4th place victory that earned him a Co-Championship Title with Mickie Frial in the 2009 “Top Drift” Southern California Formula Drift affiliate Pro/Am series.
Vd: So Mike how does it feel to be Formula Drifts newest licensed driver?
MB: FD license… All I can say is wow! I was always been a little intimidated of even joining the pro-am series. I’m very excited yet I have no idea where to start planning… Budgeting for making my demo car an FD spec car is a big question for me right now
Vd: So you will be in a different car next year?
MB: Maybe, I have been offered a chassis from Charlie O. I ‘ll have to sit down with my dad and the team to figure things out. Right now everything is blank… But as soon as I get more info I’ll definitely let you know.
Vd: Tell us about your drifting/racing background. Is racing in your blood?
MB: it might be in the blood… My dad started his racing career early back in the Philippines… I have always enjoyed it my self. I like different forms of motor sports… Drifting, road, race and even drag racing.
MB: 1st car was is a Toyota Corolla gts (ae86) and my 1st racing event was back with the Las Vegas SCCA in 2001, and my first Drifting Event was late in 2003 with Club 4ag DD5 Driftday
Vd: What drew you to choose the ae86 corolla?
MB: It wasn’t by choice, it kinda just came along. We saw the car parked outside my dads work… Bought it and the plan was to just join the local SCCA events. Just for a father and son weekend activity. Haha. It just also happened that my dad was really familiar with Toyotas because he used to race the same car in Philippines
Vd: So you said that you were also into drag racing was that before you picked up the Corolla?
MB: No, I had the Corolla when I started drag racing. I had bought a different car for drag racing (honda crx) swapped the motor and started drag racing… Street and midnight mayhem… I was there when it 1st started… Damn, I feel so old, imagine how long ago was that already.
Vd: What made you decide to compete this year?
MB: I took a break after I transitioned from the Corolla to the s13… I have been instructing for JD for a while and have seen a lot of progression with the drivers… Maybe I wanted to gauge myself if I’ll be able to hang with different type of drivers… This sport (drifting) has excelled so much from the time I started. It will be nice to know that I can still hung with drivers like Matt Powers, Forrest Wang, Mickie Frial, Chris Mendoza, Tommy Roberts, and all the other privateer drivers that are now competing in Formula D.
Vd: So it was a 4 event series were you able to compete in all of the events?
MB: Yes I was able to compete in all of them… and every time was a challenge and definitely an experience to remember.
Vd: Tell us little about today’s comp?
MB: Nerve wracking! Even though I have been to many different amateur comps I still get butterflies inside… Maybe because todays event finalized the series for the proam nationals and the licensing that everyone wanted a piece of.
Vd: Now that you have earned your pro license looking back what small advice can you give to new drivers looking to get into the sport?
MB: I guess based on my experience and from being an instructor… I have to say that you must enjoy it 1st, dedication is key, you will constantly be learning from all events you go too and by investing in your skills it will pay off in the end.
Vd: Well it takes a lot of support to make it out to California who do you want to send shouts out to?
MB: I’d like to thank my dad who has been there since I started racing/drifting, we all know without him this won’t be even possible, he is my crew chief and major sponsor. To all my friends and my gf from the never ending support. To the JD staff of course! Charlie from keeping me motivated and intact and getting us sponsors… And to Vegasdrift! I feel like a rockstar now.
Vd: So will we be seeing you out Dec 5th for the Toys for Tots Vegasdrift 015 event?
MB: Yes indeed! My car is in one piece! I’ll be there!
Random Facts: Mike is a diehard Trekie
Years Drifting: 6
Hobbys: Drifting, Bikeing, Rc drifting, Counter Strike, War Craft
Daily Grind: AT@T Cell Phone Store Manager