Panic Grand Prix 2023 – The Best Corolla Event in the US?

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I was supposed to have written this post about a week ago… but life happens…  I won’t make this post too long (I lied) since I have to catch up with a bunch of video editing projects so bear with me on the lack of writing (I’m not even good at it lol).


Panic Grand Prix 2023…

What is the Panic Grand Prix??
The Panic Grand Prix is a customer appreciation event for Panic customers and friends with the support of Link ECU.  It was held at the Affinity Circuit in Medford, Oregon, about 4.5 hours away from Portland.

Who or what is Panic?
They’re two brothers, Matt and Mark Panic, that help support the Toyota/Lexus tuners with swap parts and wiring solutions.  My beams AE86 swap harness was actually made by Mark Panic awhile back in 2018.  Since then, I’ve watched their company grow from just making harnesses to providing custom swap parts such as axles, itb kits, ECU’s, etc.

The event was Saturday and Sunday so I arrived Friday afternoon at Portland International Airport (PDX) and drove down to Medford… if only I had knew there were closer connecting flights to Medford, I probably would’ve saved money on gas… but it wasn’t bad because I used Turo to get a 2023 Toyota Prius AWD.  Not gonna lie, that thing would be the ultimate daily with 55mpg.

Wasn’t the cheapest option on Turo, but I did want to try the new 2023 Prius…


It was a brand new 2023 Toyota Prius with about 300 miles on the odometer….

 


After stopping mid way of the trip for some coffee, I was back on the road again….


The drive to Medford was a good change in scenery compared to Houston’s flat urban/surburban views…

The Panic Grand Prix consisted of a bunch of AE86 guys that have been driving for over a decade in the PNW area.  I kinda wish it was like that here in Texas but everyone’s motivation dies down real quick when the cars break down or it’s too f*cking hot… or there’s no push for Corolla owners to get out and drive.


Arrived next morning to Affinity Circuit and this was one of the first Corollas I saw at the event… Drew Brinster’s LSX powered Coupe with ITB’s….


Unfortunately the coupe was running on a couple of cylinders only, but Drew was able to drive a couple of light laps on track…


The organizers of the event, Matt Panic, Manuel, and Angela chatting a bit before the event starts…

Schedule of events for the Panic Grand Prix…


This event wasn’t just exclusive to Corollas/AE86’s, but was open to friends and customers of Panic…. It’s been awhile but finally got to meet AJ Gillett in person, owner of the two tone JZX100… I started following him during the Flickr photo days prob 10+ years ago… 


I rarely see manual IS250’s let alone any on the track… I did like the look of this one…


Matt’s paint refresh looks so good in the sun….


The interior cockpit view of Matt Panic’s Beams Swapped Celica…


Next to Matt’s Celica, was Angela’s Beams swapped coupe on classic wats….


Imagine your Doctor is a drifter on the weekends… so awesome lol


Next to Angela’s coupe, was Tango’s Beams swapped coupe with rose livery…


Most, if not all, of the cars were beams swapped and what set them apart was the style… 

@tsunamislyfe / Joseph’s refresh with BN Sports Levin Kit looks gooooood….

While everyone was getting prepped for track, they’d come around with the Panic tech pass sticker….


Everybody started rolling in around 8AM…


The drivers meeting was pretty thorough at Affinity Circuit… Manuel did a good job through out the day with help from the staff… 


I continued my walk around the pit as everyone was at the driver’s meeting….

1JZ powered S13… I’m willing to guess harness was from Mark Panic…


The Goon Squad NW / @goonsquad.nw

Julio Losh / @wholeo S13 coupe


Mark Panic’s MR2 Spyder… 


You don’t see many of these Cresta’s around, but I have a feeling they are going to pop up more….


This FB RX7 was tearing it up on the track…


I think this was the only boosted Beams set up (Jeff Lim / @bjlim4343) at the Panic Grand Prix…


These crazy guys made the drive all the way from SoCal but they split it up into 2-3 trips so it wasn’t too bad… I’ll post a video of their trip down below….


Kelvin Arreola’s TE72 Coupe with which engine? You guessed it… 3sge Beams…


Jason Balthazar and Kelvin actually drove their cars from SoCal to Affinity Circuit… too hardcore lol…


 Caught Jason doing a little prep… Full interior Corollas are a flex nowadays… 


The boosted beams earlier and this SR powered AE86 (David Honey / @honeysr86) trailered their cars from Idaho…


All smiles after a few laps of driving…. (From left: Jeff Lim, David Honey, Jon Ziegler, Kelvin Arreola, and Jason Balthazar)

The Tire Guys were out there if you needed someone to mount tires…


This IS300 (Haydn Kuhnhausen / @haydn_kuhnhausen) was definitely made to go… 


Even though everyone is beams swapped, everyone’s style or setup was different in a way…

Ian / @ifyoushowernakeyouraslut FB RX-7 on smoll wheels look good…


There were so many cars out there I couldn’t cover them all!  I think these guys came from Arizona… technically further than the guys from SoCal… 


Jordan / @scrape_or_die’s coupe was one of the freshest coupes at the Panic Grand Prix… that fresh paint with I’m guessing ceramic coating makes it look wet…. and he actually slides it out at the track!

Jared Kaiser / (lowbeams86) beams swapped coupe…. nice welded on art on the exhaust tips…

A lot of these guys have been drifting together forever… (From right: Danny Ziegler (@danzieg), Danny (@corollagts), Caleb Freeze (@bluepanda3286) 


Justin Lucas (@nappywookie) has been driving this SR5 Corolla around for awhile now… 

Mitch’s (@mitch__pleease) hatch

I did sign up as media to shoot on track and had my vest on me, but it was more fun to sit outside (and shoot) and hangout with some of the guys.  I forgot that my Sony 70-200 lens at 200mm hates filters or any zoom telephoto lenses for that matter so images were soft or even out of focus.  Maybe I just suck… lol.  It was actually kinda hot, but not Texas hot where its also humid.  I shot what I could from far away while staying cool….


Of course when you’re drifting, something always goes wrong…

@teddyandreyka from the @uz_mafia_driftteam


I got to meet Dennis (@dennisthemenace2society666)… the hypeman at all the popular drift events…


I didn’t get to meet Landin (@squeeze.86) but seeing his car in person is super rad… hope he has footage of the Panic Grand Prix! If you haven’t checked out his videos, his editing skills are wild!

There were a couple of media guys out there… they all seemed to know each other I think…


2jz no shit….

@spk.fox SR powered coupe view from above


The Panic Grand Prix wasn’t just a drift event… there were several Time Attack grip sessions to see who could get the fastest times…


Angela brought out her Prius to see how slow it would be…

Josh Bowen (@medium_josh) had the quickest times at Affinity Circuit in his 20v 4age that revs to 9300rpm…


MarkPanic’s Spyder had to tap out because of an engine problem… hopefully he got the car back home safely!

Glad I wasn’t the only one from Texas… Thaison (right), Samantha, Laine, (not in picture) Juan and his fiance Anne, from Austin were spectating as well… I didn’t know until a couple of weeks before…

Meal Team best team… 

Kelvin is pretty happy getting over 50 laps in his TE72 coupe…

Probably one of the coolest event’s I’ve been to in awhile…

Overall, the event was chill and everyone had lots of seat time… shout out to the Horchata ladies and the taco truck guys (some of the best tacos I’ve had in awhile).  Maybe when I get enough seat time, I’ll make the trek with a Texas team for the next Panic Grand Prix…. until then, thanks if you actually read through all that.

Link to photo gallery: https://www.danhphan.com/Cars/Panic-Grand-Prix-2023-Affinity-Circuit/

Link to raw video: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/733fngce5om1whd3purxk/h?rlkey=h9d18r5fpt55gwqh9sr0ka5ge&dl=0

  • Danh
    IG // @dtphan aka @beams_sr5
    maydaydphan@gmail.com

Check out Kelvin’s Youtube video of the event below and don’t forget to check out his other videos!

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