I had the chance to meet Formula Drift driver Walker Wilkerson at the season opener in Long Beach, California back in April after a phenomenal top 32 battle which landed him in 11th place. After a long hot day on the track he gave me the opportunity to ask him a few questions, so lets get them started shall we?
We’ve heard phrases like rookie of the year, and the rolling pinata. How do you feel?
I am super excited for the rest of the FD events! The stoker SR rebuilt by Garage Autohero and tuned by Intec Racing was running superb and making great power. Also with my new APEXi S1 Damper coil overs in conjunction with my Falken RT615K tires we were getting tons of grip. It allowed me to be able to flick the car super hard on transfers and hold big angle!
What goals have you set for yourself this season?
The goals I have set for myself this year would be to attend all 7 rounds of Formula Drift, earn Rookie of the Year title, and hopefully get picked up by a professional race team for the 2012 season.
How long have you been drifting, and what got you started?
I’ve been drifting now for about three years now and one year competitively. The 2011 FD season will be my second year drifting competitively. What got me started was when I was about 16 I came across an Option D1GP video on YouTube. Seeing the sight of two cars sliding at such a fast speed and so close together was unlike anything I’d seen before. I knew I had to get involved and started attending Evergreen Speedway drift events as a spectator. After about a year of spectating I finally got a 89 Nissan 240sx hatch and started hitting up the track!
I’ve seen plenty of videos of you drifting at Evergreen speedway, how does this compare when it comes to the level of competition compared to previous events?
Well of course the level of competition in FD is going to be much tougher then any of the other ProAM events I’ve competed in. But I enjoy driving with people who are better then me because it allows me to push myself harder and progress more as a driver.
A lot of the drifters have big HP, big torque V8′s in their cars, how do you personally feel drifting side by side with them?
It kinda sucks sometimes but there is not a whole lot I can do about it except for try my very best to keep up and not let my car fall out of boost! Luckily however Tony Angelo and the rest of the Formula D staff have done a great job trying to accommodate for less HP and non V8 cars. The judges are great and understand the difficulty of driving a high HP 4 cylinder turbo car compared to the ease of driving a V8.
What is the new engine setup for this year?
The new engine setup this year is a 2.3L stroker S14 SR20DET built by Ray at Garage Autohero. The engine has a BC stroker crankshaft, CP Pistons, Carillo Rods, ACL Race Bearings, Custom Port and Polished Head, APEXi Headgasket, BC Valves/Spings/Retainers, BC 272 Camshafts, DOC Race Turbo manifold, Garrett GT3076R Turbo, Tial 44mm MVR Wastegate, Tial BOV, Garage Autohero Custom Intercooler Piping, APEXi Power FC D-Jetro and APEXi AVC-R. The car is tuned by Lawrence at Intec Racing making 480WHP and 436TQ.
Who are your sponsors you would like to shout out?
I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to all of my sponsors for their help and support. As well as my Dad Rick Wilkerson. My sponsors are: Fatlace, Garage Autohero, Faken Tire, Intec Racing, APEXi, NorthwestNissans.com, AW Films, Seibon, EastInde Records, SGear Gauges, ShaftMasters, SPL, Exedy, Koyo, 326 Power, Factory 83, YAER Productions, KAAZ.
Walker is currently in 14th position and with the next round being his “home turf” we hope and wish him the best of luck this season and many more seasons to come!