“Level Up” with Andy Hateley

Vd – Andy Hateley has been to his fair share of drifting competitions. Hateley was able to once again secure a Formula D license. Congrats on getting licensed!! Andy, what do you have lined up the 2013 season?

AH – I have not finalized my plans for 2013 yet.  I am currently searching for an ls2 to be the powerplant in my BMW E30.  I have been slowly working on the car for the last 2 years. Keeping the 350z running in the pro-ams in not cheap and I don’t have enough to build a really good car overnight.  Since I have taken so long, I have been able to add some really good stuff to the car.  The 1989 BMW E30 will be powered by the ls2 mated to a tex racing 4-speed transmission. I will be using e46 front knuckles, Pee Bee Motorsport custom lower control arms and angle kit,  and JRZ 3-way adjustable external reservoir shocks.  Stopping power will be E46 m3 front rotors/calipers and an Ireland Engineering 280mm rear brake kit. A dual caliper kit is currently in development at Ireland Engineering.  The chassis is gonna be awesome, I am in the process of tubing the rear of the car and designing some crash protection that should save the back from just about any impact I should see on the track.  Radiator will be mounted in the rear of the car and i am going to cut the stock gas tank in half and use that as an estimated 6-8 gallon fuel tank. I still have a lot left to do to get the car ready for testing. I also need some decent seat time in the car to get used to it, I am pushing the project forward as fast as I can.  If all goes well and I feel comfortable in the car, then I will compete at Formula D long beach in 2013 in the E30. Based on my performance, I will decide to run the entire season of Formula D or compete in pro-am events in 2013 to get the car and myself dialed in for Formula D.

Vd - What advice can you give the “up and coming” VegasProAm drivers?

AH – Drive as much as you can, get in the seat and stay there.  Go to every event you can and drive as much as you can.  Ask good drivers questions, why did they do that? More importantly, how did they do that? You can’t assume, you need to ask.  If you can, let them drive your car.  A lot of cars out there have bad setups that don’t allow the driver to learn properly.  Unless you let a good driver try to drive your car, you may never know how good your car can be.  Spend money on track time, tires, gas, suspension, power and other things that you need to drift.  Get cool bumpers and flashy wheels later, they don’t help your car go sideways and your just gonna mess that stuff up anyways.  Having a clean looking car will not help your chances of winning and event and/or earning a license.  If you have a ton of cash to blow on that stuff, more power to you, but I would buy tires and track time.  Find a tire you like and stick with it!  No point in going out to qualify on a tire you don’t know what to expect from.

Keep your setup consistent and make small changes.  Watch in car drifting footage from really good drivers, you have the chance to really see how it’s done.  Try to learn something new from every event, experience is the name given to our mistakes.  Every event I learn something I wish I had known before. For example, round 2 of last year I changed tires in the middle of a third one more time with Mauricio Ornelas Jr, bad idea. I forgot to get them hot and I had no grip and I spun on the first corner.  Top drift round 3 of this year I won because two drivers made the same mistake I did with Mauricio.  Tyler Wolfson and I were running neck and neck going into our one more time, he changed tires and did a small burnout and we took off.  Tyler tires were not hot enough and he slid off the track in the first turn and gave me the win for top 4.  For the final, I went against Luke Paluka who had just changed tires before our round.  Again, another small burnout from Luke and we took off, Luke spun midway through the first corner out of nowhere. Both drivers were consistent all night until then changed tires.  I ran the same tires the whole night from qualifying to the win with 3 one more times.  I kept looking at the tires all night and tread was still there, so I just kept running them.  Ambient and track temps were very low so I was not expecting a lot of tire wear, I still had enough tire to do a few laps the next day after the win.  Had I not had the knowledge I had from all my previous failures, and had two great drivers make critical setup decisions that compromised their performance, I would probably not have won that night.

Learn your sport if you want to win.  Every failure is knowledge that you can apply later, their will alway be more drift events, and their will always be more to learn.  Right after I won round 1 this year my tie rod backed itself out of the steering rack and fell to the ground, how’s that for luck?I guess that was my lucky day,  I won over 200$ on a slot machine with the 50$ that I won from Retaks that night too, and I don’t really ever gamble in Vegas, that is unless were going drifting.  By the way I check my tie rods before every event now.

V- Tell us about the VegasProAm round 4 tandem battle with Forrest Wang.

AH – Forrest went, I followed.  He initiated pretty fast and had some good angle and moderate speed passing the first clip, I came in a bit too hot and checked my speed in that area. We transitioned and heading for the first outer zone and he was going a bit slower than I had anticipated. I had to go down to third gear and this messed up my line a bit. I had been running that part of the track all day in 4th gear. Now I was in third gear chasing him down on a bad inside line as he is throttling away from me on to the 2nd outside zone. He pulled some ebrake and gets out to the outside zone pretty good and I am on a bad line but at least I will be able to get close to him so I stay hard on the throttle. Then I realize he is going a lot slower that before, not really carrying his speed to the 2nd inner clip. I was expecting him to be going a lot faster right there. The clip was a late apex and I was planning on going for max angle passing the 2nd clip before the transition to the 3rd like I had been doing all day, Forrest slowed the car down just after the 2nd outside zone. I was not expecting that so I braked hard as soon as I realized how fast I was approaching him, but slid right into him, and hard too. My Z still has the dinky stock brakes and does not stop fast. I broke a rear suspension arm and broke the lip off my rear wheel. Forrest had a bent tie rod, I offered to replace the tie rod and he said it was fine. I apologized numerous times and told him that I was not expecting him to slow down that fast and in that area of the track.  He actually made some unsportsmanlike comments on Facebook about the crash, but said nothing like that the day of the event.  Apparently, in his eyes, “my mind was clouded with thoughts of taking him out”.  Anyone who knows me, knows thats not true and never will be.  I am always respectful and nice to my fellow drivers and everyone else on the track and off.  Going on Facebook and making rude false accusations about someone you’ve beaten, after you won the event just does not make sense to me and really doesn’t show any confidence. Then again, for someone to bring a 650hp car of that stature to a pro-am event doesn’t show much confidence either. I hope Forrest the best with his driving but I don’t see the need for him to be disrespectful and I hope he changes his ways for the better.

Vd- Are you planning on competing in the Formula D All-Star Pro-Am Invitational at Irwindale?

AH – I have heard the pro-am nationals have been canceled.  If they decide to have it, I will be there for sure. I love Irwindale more than life itself.

Vd - Well Andy, congrats on your success this season!! Who would you like to thank?

AH – First off, I want to thank everyone at VegasDrift, you guys are always on point with your events, great job guys.  There is always plenty of track time and a great variety of tracks. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to compete in your events and earn my 2013 Formula D license.  Thanks to my dad for always being there encouraging me and helping with whatever I need, he is the man. Thanks to Bryant Walton coming out to the events and for taking pictures of me, the guy really knows his stuff. Thanks to Frank Siharath for figuring out my massive wiring problems that I had with the Z a few years back, and for tuning the car, helping with transmission changes and for just being Frank. Thanks to Joe Roku from Utah for always changing tires for me, he is always their for me and helped a lot after the crash at round 4 of last year, thanks dude! I owe you a case of Parrot coconut water! Thanks to Omead and his buddy’s, there always there to help and encourage me. Thanks to Amdrift.com, Wrecked magazine, everythingdrift.com and all the other people out there filming and taking photos, you guys are more dedicated than most drivers, hats off to the media guys out there.

I will miss all my friends and fellow drivers that I met doing pro-am events, but I am glad to look forward to reconnect with people at FD that I have not seen in years.  Best said by my favorite doctor.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
       -Dr. Seuss

Thanks for a great season guys!

Andy Hateley

Photo Credit

David Karey – AMDRIFT.com
Jason Sudds – AMDRIFT.com
Charles Siritho
Autovotion.com

 

 

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