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So what do you do with a drift car that struggled to find its rightful way to the podium? You cut it up and hang it on the wall of course. Discount Tire has taken the now defunct Lexus IS350 drift car that they built in collaboration with Falken Tire for Formula Drift, cut it up in half and turned it into a wall ornament for their office.
Originally driven by Hiro Sumida and then Daijiro Yoshihara, the Discount Tire / Falken Tire Lexus IS350 was a promising project that packed plenty of custom fabricated components and was revolutionary for a drift car. Unfortunately both drivers never found their way with the car, making it a predictable sliding machine and ultimately it was scrapped after numerous run-ins with the wall.
Needless to say, Dai has found a new home in his current S13 with a chance of closing off the championship in Formula Drift’s final event at Irwindale Speedway. As much as it probably pains Discount Tire that the IS350 was scrapped, we’re sure they’re pretty content in the possibility of locking down a championship. And hey, we’re pretty jealous that they were able to decorate the wall of their office with a former race car. Sure beats getting dumped at a junkyard.
GALLERY: Discount Tire Lexus IS350 Drift Car
[Source: Wrecked Magazine]
This past weekend was Formula Drift’s fifth event of the season, taking place out in scorching Las Vegas. To combat the heat, the event actually took place late at night and was fittingly named “Round 5: After Dark.” With the championship now coming down to the wire, teams have been swapping out motors and finding new ways to gain an advantage against the more consistent teams as familiar faces such as Samuel Hubinette, Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust are barely in championship contention; with Tanner Foust being the closest in third place.
But the weekend would belong to the dedicated team from Falken Tire, once again sweeping the podium with a first, second and third finish. Sitting on top however wouldn’t be Daijiro Yoshihara or Vaughn Gittin Jr., both of which had secured event wins this season, but rather their teammate Tyler McQuarrie in the Nissan 350Z convertible. Gittin Jr. would got himself in a Mustang vs. Mustang tandem battle against Tony Brakohiapa but the skilled veteran Gittin took third place and maintain the points lead.
The final tandem battle of the night pitted McQuarrie against Yoshihara – with Yoshihara having been amazingly consistent throughout the season, while McQuarrie battled ups-and-downs but stayed persistent and optimistic. All his hard work would finally pay off as he took the win after Yoshihara’s S13 had mechanical troubles.
This is McQuarrie’s first career victory in Formula Drift and is just icing on the cake for another fantastic weekend from Falken Tires.
Official press release available after the break.
Formula Drift’s success has been overwhelming in America. Not only does the series do a great job ensuring the fans get the excitement they expect after paying the ticket price, but they do a fantastic job in taking care of their drivers, sponsors and race teams. Formula D’s TV show scheduling is about to begin on Versus and they have recently released the opening video segment that stars plenty of Formula Drift’s finest.
The intro video features coverage up to the Seattle event, and really does a good job capturing the excitement one would expect from drifting. The show will be offered in HD starting on August 30th and will air every Sunday for fourteen weeks for seven events. The time slots are 2:00PM EST, 11:00AM EST and each episode is re-aired each week following the initial airing.
More kudos to Formula Drift in teaming up with a successful television network to garner more fans and attention, keeping racers and sponsors happy around the nation.
Check out the video after the jump:
Although Diajiro Yoshihara is hardly a newcomer to the world of drifting, it was something of a surprise to see this series veteran take home the victory at Road Atlanta this past weekend given that he hadn’t won a Formula Drift event since 2007 and was driving a freshly built Discount Tire and Falken sponsored Nissan 240SX.
Making Dai’s win in Hotlanta even more impressive was his performance in the final pairing against current overall points leader Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his insanely powerful Ford Mustang GT.
The 2010 Formula Drift championship is shaping up to be the most competitive season yet, with Gittin and Yoshihara leading the standings, followed closely by three former series champions, Rhys Millen, Tanner Foust, and defending champ Chris Forsberg. The cream already appears to be rising to the top and the challenge ahead for Falken stablemates Gittin Jr. and Yoshihara is clearly a monumental one.
Still, drifting is an inherently unpredictable motorsport and with so many strong contenders among the top 32 drivers, it’s still anybody’s guess who will come out on top at season’s end. Conrad Grunewald finally finds himself in a competitive machine, the Atlanta crowd pleasing Hankook Tire sponsored Chevrolet Camaro, and after a strong weekend in the dirty south we expect to see him continue to rise through the ranks. Former champ Samuel Hubinette is also driving a new machine this year, the “love it or hate it” Dodge Challenger that seems to polarize drift fans just as strongly as his Dodge Viper and Charger did in previous years.
The quality of the drifting this season has been higher than ever too, exemplified by Tanner Foust’s amazing tail-first entry into a high speed lefthand turn at Road Atlanta, a track he’s always been among the fastest and most aggressive drivers at.
Check out the video after the jump.