Matt Coffman Rises to Top-10 Standings in Formula D Through Persistence

Formula Drift driver Matt Coffman in Montreal, Canada Photo by 9NINE2

Matt Coffman greets the crowd as his name is announced during Opening Ceremonies in Montreal

The Matt Coffman Racing Nissan S13 is one of the oldest chassis on the Formula Drift grid. Coffman, a tall lanky figure with flowing blonde hair, wears a smile as his name is called in front of the Formula Drift Montreal crowd for Top 16 driver introductions. Hearing his name called in front of the capacity crowd in Montreal for the fourth time this season and the eighth time this year was an amazing feeling. Coffman knew that his hard work and dedication over the past five years of drifting is finally culminating in consistent results and the current Top 10 standings in the championship. For a kid growing up in a small town in Oregon, being competitive with the world’s best on a stage like this is something he could have never imagined.

Formula Drift driver Matt Coffman drifting his Nissan S13 in Montreal, Canada Photo by 9NINE2

Matt Coffman qualified 15th at Formula Drift Montreal, and currently sits in 9th overall

Coffman purchased a Nissan S13 back in 2011 and started drifting it at a regional drifting series in Southern Oregon soon after. The following year, Coffman began competing in the Thunderdrift ProAm series based out of Northern California where he honed his tandem skills. In 2013, Coffman competed all over the West Coast, competing in series in Washington, Northern California, and Southern California. Coffman earned his Formula Drift Pro license via his placing in the Golden Gate Drift series, but also found success in select events in both the Evergreen Drift and Top Drift series as well. Coffman’s 2013 ProAm car was a Nissan S13 with an LS7 engine, but a brand new chassis was sourced and built prior to his 2014 Formula Drift Pro debut.

The Coffman Racing Nissan S13 that was debuted back in 2014 is still the same chassis he uses today. Coffman struggled in his rookie season, failing to qualify in his first two events and never making it out of the Top 32 round in four appearances. In 2015, Coffman earned a pair of Top 16 appearances, but also failed to qualify at two events and finished in 30th position out of nearly 40 drivers. Never discouraged, Coffman and his team continued to focus on keeping the car reliable and driving the car as frequently as possible feeling that the results would come with enough seat time.

FD driver Matt Coffman competing against Kristaps Bluss in Montreal, Canada Photo by 9NINE2

Matt Coffman put down a strong lead run against Kristaps Bluss at Formula Drift Montreal

The Montreal round of Formula Drift in 2016 was a major turning point for Coffman and his team as he earned a Top 8 appearance, his first time earning a pair of tandem wins in the same weekend. Just a few weeks later, Coffman earned a top 4 appearance at Evergreen Speedway, which served as validation that Coffman truly could compete with the top drivers in the series. Coffman finished the season 16th in points, and the team carried the strong momentum into the 2017 season.

FD driver Matt Coffman competing against Kristaps Bluss in Montreal, Canada Photo by 9NINE2

Matt Coffman narrowly lost to Kristaps Bluss in the Top 16 round at Formula Drift Montreal

In the first four events of 2017, Coffman already had matched the total number of tandem wins in all of 2016. Entering the same Montreal track that served as a breakout event for him last season, Coffman was excited to recreate the success and results. Coffman would qualify 15th and have to face his teammate Alec Hohnadell in the first round of tandem, a less-than-ideal situation for both drivers. When a broken part would require Hohnadell to call his competition timeout, members from both Hohnadell’s team and Coffman’s team would converge in an attempt to fix the car. Hohnadell was unable to repair the damage in time, which would give Coffman the win, but the camaraderie and teamwork from the Coffman Racing team showed that results weren’t the only focus on the weekend.

Formula Drift driver Matt Coffman smiling for the camera in Montreal, Canada Photo by 9NINE2

Despite not always earning the results he wants, Matt Coffman can always be spotted with a smile

While Coffman would fall to Kristaps Bluss in the Round of 16, the team is still very satisfied knowing that they currently sit in 9th place in the championship standings. The Coffman Racing Nissan S13 has performed nearly flawlessly all season long and is a testament that the old adage of “keeping it simple” can prove to be beneficial over the long haul of a full season of racing. Coffman still approaches every weekend of racing as a new chance to prove himself, but still can be spotted with a smile on his face anytime he has his helmet removed.