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Venerable pro drift racer Rhys Millen got his first chance of the year to work toward becoming the next Formula DRIFT champion but came in second place.
Versus, the network that currently airs Formula Drift coverage, was recently acquired by NBC Sports. Starting on January 2nd, 2012, Versus will officially become the NBC Sports Network.
The name change will start with the coverage of the NHL Winter Classic and NBC Sports will continue to market and brand on previous-Versus programming. As part of the Versus rebrand, the NBC Sports Group will also be updating its logo, making its peacock larger and using new fonts for the NBC Sports.
It will be interesting to see if Formula Drift will continue to air on the new NBC Sports Network, which could impress potential sponsors of the drift series more so than hearing that their television coverage comes from Versus – even though they’re just the same.
Currently up on eBay is Hubinette Racing’s / NuFormz Dodge Charger SRT8 originally built for the Formula Drift competition. And while it’s a truly formidable drift machine – it captured first place in Summit Point in 2007 – it’s more about owning a piece of history if you’re a a fan of the sideways sport. The reason? It was the first domestic four-door drift machine ever built, having spent the last couple of years sitting in the NHRA Museum after Sean Carlson’s untimely passing.
The only steel piece left on this car is the roof, while all the other panels have been swapped out for carbon fiber and fiberglass counterparts. It features a fully built 6.1L HEMI engine, naturally aspirated, though the exact specs of the powerplant were not mentioned in the auction. What is mentioned however is the extensive suspension and drivetrain modifications and the car currently sits on 18-inch Intro wheels.
The starting bid is currently at $39,000 and we certainly hope whoever does end up buying it takes it back out to compete.
In the most shocking drifting-related news we’ve heard thus far in 2011, Tanner Foust will be taking a temporary retirement from the world of American drifting, announcing today that Formula DRIFT will not be on his schedule of events to attend this year. This is after hearing rumors that the new Papadakis Racing Scion tC would be one of the craziest vehicles we’ll ever see in the Formula DRIFT series.
So with Tanner Foust leaving the driver seat, who will be filling his role? None other than 2010 Formula DRIFT’s Rookie of the Year, Fredric Aasbo. Aasbo, known for aggressively piloting a Toyota Supra, will be a great fit behind the wheel of a RWD Scion tC. Stephan Papadakis Racing will also be joining forces with Team Need for Speed with the newly built Scion tC.
“No offense to Papadakis, the team, the fans or the competitors, but the thing that I will miss the most about not drifting this year is that crazy NASCAR TRD V8-powered Rockstar Scion tC,” says Foust. “It’s been an amazing two years behind the wheel of the Rockstar Scion tC. Best of luck to Aasbo and the new Need For Speed Scion tC.”
We’ll keep our eyes out, as the two-time Formula DRIFT champion will surely be missed in the series. The good news is, we’ll be seeing plenty of Foust as his schedule of events include European Rally events, X-Games and his television responsibilities. Foust’s last competition in the Rockstar / Papadakis Racing Scion tC will be at the Formula DRIFT UAE on February 25th.
Two different press releases available after the break.
There was certainly a lot of hype around Vaughn Gittin Jr’s Ford Mustang at the beginning of this year’s 2010 Formula Drift season. The newly built 2011 Ford Mustang, with help from sponsors Monster Energy Drink and Falken Tire, featured every bit of experience Gittin and his team has developed over the years of drifting American muscle. And all the hard work has finally paid off as Gittin Jr. has taken the 2010 Formula Drift championship.
This past weekend, the season finale took place at Irwindale Speedway. And while Vaughn Gittin was clearly the leader in points, Tanner Foust and teammate Daijiro Yoshihara still had an outside chance of taking the championship. But Gittin wasn’t letting off the gas anytime soon facing two-time champion Tanner Foust in the grand finale. Even with the championship locked down at that point, Gittin put on a show for the spectators, taking Foust to a one-more time battle. Ultimately the Irwindale event would belong to Foust with Gittin still taking home for the 2010 championship.
This season was a dominating one for Gittin Jr and his Falken Tire / Monster Energy Drink team. He found the podium at six of seven events showing just how much experience pays off. So a huge congratulations goes out to the Falken Tire team for finally locking down a championship and we look forward to seeing what they have in waiting for 2011.
Official press release available after the break.
Think the 3D craze is just a fad and going away silently into the night? Think again. As skeptical as we were with the whole Avatar movie craze in 3D, seeing was believing. How technology has changed over the years has seriously impacted how we enjoy our entertainment at home. With more and more sports broadcasts going towards 3D, it’s no surprise the brilliant minds over at Formula Drift have teamed up with DIRECTV to bring the first ever 3D drifting broadcast to households nationwide.
The footage will be filmed at this weekend’s season finale at Irwindale Speedway and DIRECTV couldn’t have picked a better venue. With its high speed banks and insane clipping points, Irwindale Speedway is also officially known as the “House of Drift” and will truly let viewers get a great idea of what drifting is all about. For those who have witnessed drifting at a live event, the excitement level is intense. And perhaps drifting in 3D will come as close as we can get to the excitement from our households.
Formula Drift claims that it’ll be aired before the end of the year on DIRECTV’s 3D channel, n3D. Perhaps it’ll be a sign of things to come for 2011?
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:
The perfect spectator sport, drifting’s rapid growth is also due to its drivers that have come to have their own celebrity-like status. Always overly enthusiastic and true characters of the sport, fans are quick to attach themselves to their favorite driver, much like their favorite basketball player or quarterback.
Will Roegge has been releasing some top-notch digital films centered around the automotive industry and this one is no different. He traveled to the first couple of Formula Drift events, capturing coverage of the Team Need for Speed Drift drivers Matt Powers (Nissan 240SX S14) and Mad Mike (Red Bull Mazda RX-7) along with interviews and highlights.
What this video shows the world is how each and every driver has such different driving styles and personalities on and off the track. But at the end of the day, they’re all still vying for the same championship and share the same passion and love for a growing sport.
Check out the fantastic video after the break.
[Source: Formula Drift]
Back in May, we caught wind of Rogue Status’ Drift xB that they built. Initially we were a little skeptical that it would be more of a show car and street performer, rather than a competition-ready drift machine. Would it ever go sideways on a track? No one knew or could tell, so needless to say we’re surprised and pleasantly happy when this video surfaced.
Professional Formula Drift driver Patrick Morduant headed to Willow Springs in the RWD 2JZ-Powered Scion xB to really put it to the test. The car actually does pretty well and looks wicked going sideways around Horse Thief Mile and we’re loving every second of the video. What’s also interesting is that Patrick Morduant was the one putting it to the test and not one of the Scion-sponsored drivers such as Ken Gushi or Tanner Foust. Regardless, we’re sure it was just for fun and isn’t a sign of things to come. But hey, it would be interesting to see how it would hold up in real competition wouldn’t it?
Check out the Rogue Status Scion xB drift video after the jump:
Product placement has always been a key part of any successful marketing and advertising campaigns. It all started with movies and television shows and now has even entered the realm of video games. Some campaigns are just pure tacky while others are cleverly placed to really inspire the consumer to go out and get the product. With the advent of YouTube and online videos, companies have taken their campaigns online where they can easily reach millions of viewers in a matter of minutes, literally. Viral marketing is now king and online media is the throne that it sits on.
Ever since NOS Energy Drink was acquired by the Coca-Cola company, good ‘ol corporate America has done a real strong push in bringing the product into the face of the masses. By teaming up with all facets of motorsports, NOS Energy Drink has done a great job tying their product to the right consumers. Chris Forsberg is one of the main NOS Energy Drink drivers, competing in Formula Drift and being a two-time champion. So it’s no surprise that NOS would be more than willing to spend some advertising dollars with some clever marketing.
The Bro Show consists of Jeff and Curtis, two brothers willing to do “anything” to get their own online series on Break.com. So episodes mainly consist of wild and crazy stunts and this one is no exception. The brothers headed out to Irwindale Speedway with Chris Forsberg and his NOS Energy Drink Nissan 350Z convertible to get a taste of drifting…and naturally, NOS Energy Drink.
After Forsberg did a demo lap, Jeff climbed into the passenger seat believing Curtis, his brother, was just hanging out on the track dressed in bright orange. Easy for the driver to spot and avoid…right? Well what Jeff didn’t know was that Curtis was swapped out for a dummy and Forsberg was told to crash straight into the dummy. Check out the video after the jump to see how it all unfolds.
[Source: Formula DRIFT]
Now that Luke Lonberger has gotten his hands dirty helping build Conrad Grunewald’s Hankook Drift Chevrolet Camaro, it looks like he’s interesting in getting his hands behind the wheel of his own sideways machine. A render has surfaced of a drift Chevrolet Corvette sporting Lonberger’s shop logos and full Hankook theme.
A Chevrolet Corvette seems to be a natural vehicle to campaign alongside Grunewald’s Camaro. It also helps that Grunewald use to campaign a Corvette, possibly lending Lonberger a lot of data and info on what exactly works and what doesn’t. There’s no arguing that there’s always room for another competitor and another domestic further expands drifting’s involvement and fan base.
We’ll be really interested to see if this Corvette comes to fruition and if Lonberger really will be behind the wheel. He promises that more information will be released “when the time comes,” whenever that may be. Hankook could definitely use a winning car though, with their GT-R and Camaro not quite doing what they hoped this season.
[Source: Wrecked Magazine]
If anyone ever told you video games were a waste of time, show them this article. Robert Waddell from Rock Hill, SC took home a customized 2010 Nissan 370Z, built by Chris Forsberg Racing.
Forsberg, of course, is the 2009 Formula Drift Champion, who campaigned a Nissan 350Z, sponsored by NOS energy drink. Waddell won the car by competing in a video game tournament, besting four other competitors in a game of Need For Speed: Shift. Not a bad way to get a free set of wheels.
[Source: NOS Energy Drink]
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.
All forms of motorsports – take note! Formula Drift, in association with YoParts.com has successfully launched the first ever full live streaming of their events to the world. Other sanctioning bodies have tried this in the past, but with hardly any sort of success. Needless to say when they first told us about Driftstream 2010 we were a little skeptical. Instead of jumping the gun and making a post, we decided to check it out ourselves during this past weekend’s event, then report on the quality. The verdict? Read on:
We first logged onto the Driftstream website during qualifying on Friday and were pleasantly surprised on how smooth and surprisingly lag free the video was. It was as close to real-time as we could get without driving the 40 miles to Long Beach, California. The video commentary was nicely done, and the production gets two thumbs up from us by keeping the viewer up to date with standings, points and results.
For those that are unable to attend the Formula Drift 2010 events out of their range, Driftstream is a fantastic way to catch it all. Adding to the experience, there are thousands of other fans chatting it up on the site at the same time.
We’ll admit that there’s absolutely no substitute to inhaling tire smoke and seeing the cars up close and personal, but this is by far the best second option we’ve been able to get our hands on and best of all – it’s free! We hope other forms of sanctioning bodies take notes on what Formula Drift done.
If you missed Formula Drift’s season opener at Long Beach, California, head on over to the Live Stream channel now to watch a recap of the entire event. Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next event at Road Atlanta on May 7-8th, 2010. And again, all events will be streamed live so follow Formula DRIFT’s schedule and catch all the action this season, no matter where you are.
[Source: DRIFTSTREAM 2010]
At this past weekend’s first Formula D event of 2010, motorsports video phenom Will Roegge unveiled his newest creation entitled ‘Art of Formula D: 2009 Retrospective’. The video features 2009 series champion Chris Forsberg and a linear progress through all seven rounds of the 2009 Formula Drift professional drifting championship. What better way could there be to get psyched up for the 2010 Formula D season than watching Roegge’s latest drift video?
Enjoy the 2009 recap after the jump:
Breaking into its seventh season, Formula DRIFT took to the Streets of Long Beach for its trademark season opener. This event is always a fan favorite being one of the only, if not the only, drift event that takes place on actual streets rather than a race track, course or parking lot. Many new cars made their debut at this event, some having great success while others clearly have a lot of bugs to figure out. American muscle prevailed however, as Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s new 2011 Falken Tire / Monster Energy Drink Mustang claimed the top podium spot with its debut.
Rhys Millen and his Red Bull Hyundai Genesis has clearly benefited from an off-season of thorough testing and upgrades as he finished up second place. Two-time champion Tanner Foust found himself in third with his Rockstar Energy Drink / AEM Scion tC. The threesome made for a colorful podium with three different brand of energy drinks being represented.
What made this event even more exciting was the debuts of several new drivers from all around the world seeing their first action in competitive American drifting. “With drivers from 13 nations and 12 current and former drifting champions, Formula Drift continues to grow drifting globally with the most diverse field of competitors than any other drifting series in the world,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula Drift.
Samuel Hübinette’s Dodge Challenger looks to have a few more bugs to work out, but his skill and expertise made sure he wasn’t far from a podium finish. Other new muscle cars included Conrad Grunewald in his Hankook Chevy Camaro and Tony Brakohiapa in the Sam’s Autoboy Ford Mustang. Noticeably missing, and without controversy, was Robbie Nishida’s Hankook Nissan GT-R and Eric O’Sullivan’s Subaru. Both were supposed to be big-name competitors and it must have been truly disappointing for both of these drivers flying over 10 hours to not see any competition.
Round Two of Formula Drift is scheduled to invade Road Atlanta on May 7-8th, 2010. We’ll be keeping a close eye on any testing during the break and will be sure to report on the second event of another exciting season of drifting.
GALLERY: Formula DRIFT Long Beach 2010
We broke the news last month that Samuel Hübinette would be campaigning his own two-car drift team for 2010. His new 865-hp Dodge Challenger would be campaigned with his previous championship-winning Dodge Viper, now driven by Canadian rally-star Andrew Comrie-Picard. With Formula Drift Long Beach competition starting today, the new team was out testing at Riverside, California this past week.
We spotted this video on YouTube and figured we’d share. It’s the best we can do to whet our appetite for this weekend’s competition. Things look extremely exciting with all the major teams finally making their official announcements, debuts and testing videos. We’ll be sure to report on all the results from the first event of the 2010 Formula DRIFT season. Check out the video of the Challenger swinging sideways, burning BFG rubber after the break.
GALLERY: Samuel Hubinette Testing Drift Dodge Challenger
Rhys Millen is no stranger to any form of motorsports. However, he is probably most well-known for his Red Bull stunts and his impressive drifting career. Hailing from New Zealand, Millen was one of the US pioneers of drifting, completely dominating its initial competitive seasons with his Pontiac GTO. He then moved onto the Pontiac Solstice and shocked the world last year with the announcement of moving onto Korean-manufacturer Hyundai and its new Genesis Coupe.
There’s no denying that it was a perfect opportunity for Hyundai to extend their brand image and marketing to young enthusiasts, but was it a perfect fit for Millen? Some would argue that it was an unsuccessful inaugural campaign, perhaps even leaving an ugly mark on Millen’s otherwise successful drifting career. But we all know Millen hardly backs down from a challenge. Duly noted from his attempt at flipping a truck on New Year’s Eve a couple years back.
Plus, it didn’t help that last season Millen ran the first event with a Nissan VQ35 3.5-liter V6 under the hood. He later switched to a stroked and turbocharged 4.1-liter Hyundai V6, which has been pumped up further for the 2010 season to 650-hp.
We caught a glimpse of Millen testing at the El Toro Air Force Base a few weeks back and now Millen’s official 2010 Preseason Testing video has surfaced on the Web. The Genesis Coupe looks remarkably improved this year with Millen smoothly transitioning and swinging it sideways with what seems to be little effort. Check out the video after the jump:
One of the many Camaros on display at the 2009 SEMA Show is the Formula Drift Camaro SS. Sponsored by Hankook Tire and displayed prominently at the General Motors booth, the car was built by BR Racing, Luke Lonberger and Conrad Grunewald Racing and will compete in next year’s Formula D drift championship piloted by none other than Conrad Grunewald.
In race-prepped form, the Camaro gets a GM Performance LS-A suercharger along with an AEM Universal EMS to make in excess of 600-hp at the rear wheels. The heavy beast has also been put on a diet with a striped out interior and a full cabon fiber body made by Seibon Carbon.
The car will also sport a set of custom Forgeline three-piece wheels and will (obviously) run on Hankook tires of the Ventus R-S3 variety.
GALLERY: Hankook Tire, Formula Drift Camaro SS
Formula D future uncertain for long time Mopar racer Samuel Hübinette
As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan it has announced that Mopar will cease its sponsorship of the NuFormz Racing team and driver Samuel Hübinette.
The writing has been on the wall for quite some time now as Chrysler has been seeking every area where it can cut costs. Additionally, a strong sign was when Hübinette took to the track during the first round of the Formula D series in Long Beach in a Dodge Viper – and not the Challenger (pictured above) that Mopar debuted at the 2008 SEMA Show.
“As a part of Chrysler’s comprehensive restructuring plan to revitalize our business and succeed as a stronger car company, we’re rigorously reviewing all expenditures and making tough business decisions,” said Mike Accavitti, Director of Brand Marketing and Strategy at Chrysler. “The decision to end Team Mopar’s sponsorship of NuFormz Racing was difficult because of our long-term relationship with the ream and all of the success we’ve enjoyed competing in Formula Drift.
Driving for Mopar, Hübinette won the first ever Formula D contest and holds the title of the most outright victories. He won the championship in 2004 and 2006 and was a runner up in ’05 and ’08.
“I had a great eight-year run as a member of the Team Mopar family and want to thank the company for all the great memories I’m taking away,” said NuFormz Racing team owner Shaun Carlson. “It’s a tough decision, but given the current economic environment inside and outside of racing, I certainly understand it.”
The sponsorship contract will be terminated after the next event in New Jersey on June 5/6.
Official release after the jump:
Recently we ran a story reporting that the Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Genesis Coupe that competed in the first round of the Formula D series was actually powered by (ghasp!) a Nissan motor. That won’t be the case from now-on, however, as Rhys Millen himself has just confirmed that for the second race of the season, the Hyundai drift car will in fact be powered by Hyundai, with a turbocharged version of the company’s 3.8-liter Lamdba V6.
Currently the car is making 480hp at just 4500 rpm and 570 ft-ls of torque at 3800 rpm.
The reason for the initial run with the Nissan engine was due to a timeline that proved to be too tight. Rather than forfeit the race, Millen chose to run the car with whatever motor was available.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you see things) Millen and his Nissan-powered Hyundai did not perform well, and didn’t even make it past the first round.
We’ll be watching to see if he has better luck as round two of the Formula D series visits Road Atlanta this weekend.
When Hyundai announced at the Chicago Auto Show that Rhys Millen Racing would run a new Genesis Coupe in the Formula D series, we didn’t know (nor did they it seems) that the car would be powered by Nissan.
Despite an official press release that stated the car would be powered by a 550hp stroked and turbocharged 4.1-liter version of the V6 found in the factory Genesis Coupe, the car ran the first event of the season at Long Beach, CA with a Nissan VQ35 3.5-liter V6 under the hood. (Formula D rules aren’t too picky about what engine powers a car).
Apparently the decision was a last minute one as the planned engine was not yet ready – something Hyundai USA PR boss Jim Trainor takes partial responsibility for as the company took Millen away from his regular duties to help with the launch of the factory Genesis Coupe.
Interestingly, however, Trainor had no idea of the situation as Rhys Millen Racing made the decision independently, opting to run the car in a less-than-ideal state rather than not run it at all.
As a result the car did get some exposure, although not in the actual competition as Millen and the Nissan-powered Genesis Coupe didn’t even make it through the first round.
The team is working to complete the Hyundai engine and should be ready to compete at either New Jersey on June 6th or Las Vegas on July 10th.
For move info on the Formula D series see here: