"Odi" Bakchis & Holley EFI Dominate Formula Drift Series!

By: Todd Veney | 08/12/2016 < Back to Motor Life Home
With perfect technique for the course, masterful car control round after round, and his own unique driving style, Aurimas Bakchis picked up the second Formula Drift victory of his still-young career and first with his latest creation, a new Hyundai Genesis Coupe. “Odi,” as he's known to fans and his fellow drivers, figured out the all-new layout of Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., faster than far more experienced drivers and dominated Round 6 of the 2016 Formula Drift season. "I've had podiums before, but nothing takes the place of winning," said Bakchis, who broke through for his first major win last year in Round 2 of the Formula Drift World Championship series at the famous Road Atlanta course. "This a completely different car, a whole different platform." Bakchis scored at Road Atlanta and finished second at Long Beach and Japan last year in a Nissan 240SX S14 with Holley EFI. His latest triumph came at the wheel of a Hyundai Genesis powered by a blown 440 cubic-inch LS7 with a complete Holley EFI system. "We had to learn the chassis to make it work for all kinds of different tracks," Bakchis said. "We had to learn how to tune this new, bigger engine, too – it needed a completely different air-fuel ratio – but that turned out to be a lot easier. It was super-quick to dial in the Holley EFI and get the engine to be responsive." Bakchis proved equally responsive in adapting to the track's unfamiliar configuration, which includes a new banked outside zone and a narrower finish, and earned his biggest win to date in a career that began with a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2011. Bakchis, a native of Kaunas, Lithuania, sailed through the tandem rounds, outdriving Chelsea Denofa, Forrest Wang, Frederic Aasbo, Ken Gushi, and, in the event finals, Chris Forsberg. After a precise, error-free lead run while Forsberg made contact with Bakchis' car and spun in the infield, Bakchis kept close to Forsberg throughout his chase-position run and avoided contact for a unanimous win. "With a centrifugal supercharger, we lack bottom-end power," Bakchis said. "If we didn't have EFI and just ran the blower on its own, we couldn't have won. It really didn't take long to configure the ECU and make the nitrous spray exactly when we want it to, and by progressively controlling the nitrous at all times, the engine made good power at every rpm." With two races left in the Formula Drift season, Bakchis has put himself in contention for the overall series championship, and not just as a long shot. He's only 54 points out of first place. "It's still mathematically possible," said "Odi," who's only been driving for six years now. "I'm hoping to land in the top three, minimum."
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