Matt Coffman Racing Pulls Double Duty in Formula Drift and Rally Racing

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Matt Coffman and his Coffman Racing team.

After two races into the Formula Drift season, Matt Coffman and his Coffman Racing team, backed by K&N Filters, are in 25th place in the Pro standings.

Matt Coffman was excited about the first event on the Formula Drift schedule. It was on the Streets of Long Beach, one of his favorite circuits. He maneuvered his K&N Filters backed Nissan through the course during qualifying on the Friday before the race with tremendous confidence. It was raining and Coffman was in his element.

Matt Coffman lost in the first round in the Formula Drift season opener at the Streets of Long Beach

Matt Coffman lost in the first round in the Formula Drift season opener at the Streets of Long Beach, in California. He lost in the first round at the Formula Drift event at Road Atlanta, in Georgia.

“I feel like I’m the only professional out there when it rains,” Coffman said. But the online comments he read after qualifying were not flattering. They were extremely critical. Drivers were crashing and spinning out. Coffman was one of the few drivers who did not have any problems. He said the people making online comments were talking nonsense about Formula Drift. “I have been trying to tell people don’t drag me down with them,” he said, “I’m not like them.”

It has been a bit of a slow start for the Coffman Racing team. Coffman is 25th in the Formula Drift Pro standings after two events. Vaughn Gittin Jr. leads the pro standings with 155 points. After two races into the Formula Drift season, Coffman entered a rally race in Washington. It gave him a little diversion from the Formula Drift scene. Plus, it gave Coffman a chance to compete in the form of racing he really loves.

Coffman lost in the first round battle to Forrest Wang at the event on the Long Beach Grand Prix Street Course in California in April. Wang advanced to the quarterfinals and lost to Kenshiro Gushi. In addition to the rain and slippery track, Coffman said his emotions took over in his first-round battle against Wang.

“The first round was good for us because it rained substantially,” Coffman said. “All the other drivers were wrecking and they were changing tire pressures, they were jumping around on the suspension changes, all sorts of stuff. They were still crashing and still laying down terrible runs. We were going out there and absolutely killing every run consistently.”

When it came time to race, Coffman was already running on high gear. He couldn’t wait to get on the track. Because his emotions were running so high, he made some mistakes. Looking back, Coffman said he wished he dialed it down a bit before his first run.

“Something in my mind will tell me to go 1,000 percent more,” Coffman said. “It cost me to mess up on that round, unfortunately. That round, I can’t blame the car, I can’t blame anything except for myself on that one. That was me just pushing 10 times harder than I needed to.”

Coffman admits Wang took advantage of his mistakes. Wang didn’t overdrive the course and kept his car and his emotions under control.

Matt Coffman Formula Drift

In addition to racing in Formula Drift, Matt Coffman entered a rally race in Washington. He is headed to Orlando, Fla., next week for another Formula Drift event.

“Forrest was actually doing pretty decent,” Coffman said. “When I went against Forrest, he did a lot better than I thought he was going to. I didn’t take the line that I should have. It was my mistake.”

“Forrest was actually doing pretty decent,” Coffman said. “When I went against Forrest, he did a lot better than I thought he was going to. I didn’t take the line that I should have. It was my mistake.”

“He really did run away faster than I thought he was going to,” Coffman said about his first-round race against Stoneback. “If you talk to anybody, it was a very evenly matched run. He just had more distance on me than I had on him. But as far as mess ups, there weren’t mess ups on either side. It was a very even battle.”

The next Formula Drift event is in Orlando, Fla., at Orlando Speedworld from June 3-4. Coffman said he is looking forward to competing on a wide-open, fast track, like Orlando, as opposed to the tight, choking tracks at Road Atlanta and Long Beach.

“It is the only track where I legitimately have to modulate throttle toward the end of my second run otherwise I will run out of tire,” Coffman said. “I like really high-speed tracks.”

In addition to starting the Formula Drift season, Coffman and his team entered a rally race in Washington. He recently competed in the Olympus Regional Rally, a three-day event in the Pacific Northwest. Driving with Michael Kulawiak, the team finished in 18th place overall in their 2008 Subaru Impreza STI in the first of two North West Regional Rally races at the event. The team ran into trouble on the course on the second day and did not finish. Coffman and Kulawiak were entered in the Super Production class and was the runner-up in the division.

 “Whenever we kind of get a little bored of drifting, we are all like maybe we should probably go back to a rally race,” Coffman said. “Rally racing is almost like a confident knowledge that we win every single time.”

While Coffman said he doesn’t know when he will enter another rally race, he prefers it over Formula Drift for a number of reasons. If anything, it helps improve his devotion to auto racing and motorsports.

“In rally racing, I can just get out of the car and I can turn around and I am just in this gorgeous valley or forest,” Coffman said. “It really has become a spiritual thing for me, rally racing. It is something very special to me.”

The K&N Filters his team uses in his Formula Drift cars really make a difference on the track. Coffman said before he started using K&N air filters, his team had a hard time creating decent air flow through the cars.

“Our engines would be nothing if they couldn’t breathe,” Coffman said. “There was nothing we could find that wouldn’t suffocate the motor or take away from something at one point. They were the only company that offered us a box that made it perform perfectly.”

But Coffman said he notices a big difference using K&N filters in his rally cars. The K&N air filters have to be efficient in all types of environments, from high-altitude forests to swamps and valley riverbeds.

“With our rally car, we have to keep three-quarters of a ton of dirt out of the air box,” Coffman said. “The only thing standing between that and the motor is the K&N filter really.”


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