IRWINDALE, California (October 16, 2018) – Fredric Aasbo capped off a successful season in the all-new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback with a runner-up result this weekend at the Formula Drift finale at Irwindale Speedway.
With a record of six podiums, including two wins, Aasbo was the top-performing Toyota driver in the series this season, helping to lock in the 2018 Auto Cup for manufacturers.
“I’m proud of the whole team,” said Aasbo. “We’ve gone out of our comfort zone this year and to finish this well in a brand new build tells you just how good a car the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback is.”
The thundering crowd at the House of Drift was treated to some of the best drifting in series history over the weekend, with the final match between Aasbo and Vaughn Gittin Jr. so close the judges called for two One More Time re-runs. The champions put on an escalating demonstration of commitment and precision until a wall tap in the sixth and final head-to-head run forced a course correction from Aasbo. The driver finished second and ended the season just four points shy of the title.
“Of course we wanted that win but you have to hand it to all the drivers this weekend. The level of skill we saw was next level,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “The fans were the real winners here at Irwindale.”
The season saw Aasbo win the season opener in the debut event for the brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback and score a perfect event in St. Louis, claiming the top qualifying result and running the ladder all the way to the top step of the podium at a brand new track for the series. He claimed second in Atlanta and Irwindale and took third at the championship stops in Texas and Orlando. Aasbo is the most winning driver in Formula Drift history, with 12 career victories.
“To be battling for the title all the way to the final match of the final event of the season exceeded our expectations,” said Papadakis. “Working with Rockstar, Nexen, Toyota, and all of our partners gives us the equipment and support we need to be successful, Fredric’s driving record is the best in the series, and I’m proud of the whole team for their hard work this season. I’m excited for where we can take this next year.”
Key crew on the 2018 Papadakis Racing team included car chief Shawn Hillier, technicians Mario Salguero and Aldo Villagran, and logistics lead Matt Lease.
At the season-ending awards banquet Sunday night, Aasbo accepted the second-place cup in the driver’s championship. Toyota Motorsports Marketing Planner Darren Rogado accepted the manufacturer’s plaque on behalf of Toyota, while Tire partner Nexen was second in the Tire Cup. Papadakis earned the Team Manager of the Year award.
In 2018, the series continued to offer live and on-demand online coverage on the Formula Drift Livestream, averaging 1.5 million views per event. Formula Drift continues to enjoy a conventional broadcast audience through CBS Sports Network for 20 half-hour television programs. The fast-paced action featuring bracketed head-to-head match-ups anchored the coverage.
Following a successful Facebook Live event for Battle of The Shops on Monday, the team is now preparing for a trip to Las Vegas with Toyota for the annual SEMA trade show in Las Vegas.
Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world. An average of 2 million fans from around the world watched the popular live stream coverage from each round of the 2018 season. Broadcast coverage on the CBS Sports Network headlines packaged content that includes social channels Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.
Fredric Aasbo battles under the lights at Irwindale Speedway (Photo: Larry Chen / Toyota Racing)