As the reigning Formula Drift World Champion, it’s safe to say Chris Forsberg knows his way around a drift track. (His overflowing trophy case can attest to that, too.) But his love for automobiles knows no limits off the track. We sat down with Chris to discuss cross-country motorcycle trips, road trip playlists, and how he taught himself to drift.
Q: How old were you when you first learned how to drive, and what car did you learn with?
A: I first learned how to drive in my friend’s 1991 Honda CRX. I was 14 years old, and I was driving around my parents’ backyard learning how to shift a manual.
Q: What was the first car you ever owned?
A: The first car that I owned was a 1988 Mazda RX7 Turbo II.
Q: How did you get into racing?
A: I got into racing by teaching myself how to drift, because it was a fun thing to do with my rear-wheel-drive car. From there, I learned that I was quite good at it, and I entered a few competitions to see how I could do.
Q: When was the first time you drifted?
A: The first time I ever drifted was in 1999 in my friend’s Toyota Supra. It was completely intentional—We went into an empty parking lot with some cones and created a “turn” to try to slide through.
Q: What attracted you to the Formula Drift Series versus other types of racing?
A: Drifting has always been my passion with motorsports. I feel that it is the most fun you can have with four wheels. I was doing a few drift competitions when Formula Drift was announced back in 2003. I made sure to be at the first race and I have not missed once since.
Q: When you’re on long drives, what’s your soundtrack? Podcast, playlist, or radio?
A: That depends on how I’m feeling too. I like a good podcast if I’m doing a long, mindless drive to occupy my mind. Sometimes I will drive with no radio on at all to sit with my thoughts and feel the road. But there is always a time and place for a good playlist when you are jamming in the car.
Q: Off the track, are you a speed demon or a Sunday driver?
A: I am quite the Sunday driver off the track. I suppose I get enough time behind the wheel to cool me down!
Q: What do you drive when you’re away from the track?
A: I have a couple street vehicles depending on how I’m feeling. I have a 2016 Nissan Titan XD truck that is modified with some off-road suspension parts, as well as my 1975 Datsun 280Z that has a Skyline engine in it making almost 500hp.
Q: What does a typical pit stop look like for you on long drives? Candy, chips, soda?
A: I like to grab a coffee before a long drive to be able to sip while I cruise.
Q: What’s one roadside restaurant you always pull over for?
A: I don’t know if I would classify it as a restaurant, but I always hit a Wawa when I’m on the East Coast!
Q: What’s the best road trip you’ve ever been on?
A: The best road trip I’ve ever been on was a cross-country motorcycle trip with 12 other friends for 4,200 miles.
Q: What’s one road trip that you still want to make?
A: I’d like to take Highway 1 all the way up the West Coast. I have driven that road from Los Angeles to San Francisco and would love to go all the way.
Q: What’s your most unusual driving habit?
A: That’d have to be driving extremely long distances without the radio on and not even realizing it. Just cruising with my own thoughts.
Q: If you could change one rule of the road, what would it be?
A: That’s a tough one! Maybe labeled drift turns if you want to cut loose? Haha.
Q: Would you rather fix up an old beater or drive a new car straight off the lot?
A: I would rather fix up an old beater. I enjoy rebuilding cars with my hands.
Q: If you could bring any celebrity or historical figure along as a copilot, who would it be?
A: I would take Dwayne Johnson. I would love to show him a true drifting experience.
Q: If you weren’t a racecar driver, what would you do for a living?
A: I would probably be working on cars in a garage whether it was my space or someone else’s.
Q: What’s your dream car?
A: A Ferrari F40. They are so raw and they look incredible.