Micheal Essa to drive BMW 335i in 2010

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GSR Autosport and Michael Essa to Campaign a BMW 335i in the

2010 Formula Drift Championship Series

LOS ANGELES, Calif., October 30, 2009 – GSR Autosport and Michael Essa have partnered to campaign a 2008 BMW 335i sport coupe in the upcoming 2010 Formula Drift Championship Series. It will be the first BMW 3 Series, powered by a turbocharged BMW M3 engine, to campaign in a national drifting series.

“The BMW 335i is a powerful rear-engine sports coupe with a rock-solid chassis leaving us plenty of room for aftermarket development—the platform will easily handle the 550-hp turbocharged 3.2-liter M3 powerplant which we are finishing development on. Michael Essa was the natural choice to drive this innovative new drift car. Not only does he have a strong motorsport racing background, but he possesses the demanding drifting creativity and competitiveness necessary to win,” says Nick Richards, President of GSR Autosport.

Entering its sixth season, Formula DRIFT is recognized as the North American professional drifting championship series. As the first official series in North America, Formula DRIFT has taken competitive motorsports to the extreme, attracting fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life. This high-skilled, high-powered motor sport where drivers intentionally maneuver their cars into well executed, controlled sideways slides at high speeds through a marked course, has more than 60 professional drivers competing in all seven competitions this year. Judged on execution and style, rather than who finishes the course in the fastest time, drifting is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and is often compared to the freestyle nature of skateboarding and motocross. Formula DRIFT and the drivers serve as ambassadors for the sport of drifting bringing exhibitions to traditional/mainstream motor sports events across the country which have included: multiple Champ Car World Series races, American Le Mans, USAC, NASCAR Busch North & Featherlite Southwest and the SPEED World Challenge, among others.

Residing in Los Angeles, Michael Essa has been racing cars since he was seventeen. He has always focused on the machine and the track, building a solid foundation to create a legacy in global motorsports. He has held positions as Crew Chief and Lead Tech Inspector building and developing his talent from the ground up. Essa not only worships racing but supports the community by offering driving instruction for both Porsche racers and drift drivers. Essa opened Tech Trix Motorsports in Anaheim, California, in the Spring of 2001. The company supplies custom fabrication, specialized maintenance, optimization and management of privately owned Porsche racecars. He and his expert team maintain an average of 20 cars annually and are significant players on the P.O.C. and P.C.A. circuits. Essa campaigned a Mazda in the 2009 Formula Drift Championship Series where he was runner-up for the 2009 Rookie of the Year.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, GSR Autosport is a multi-facetted professional automotive racing business. Founded and operated by genuine racing enthusiasts, GSR Autosport is a race car manufacturer that designs, develops, and builds turn-key vehicles, competitive automotive components, and race safety equipment in various facilities around the country. GSR Autosport is also the parent company to GoSpecRacing.com, a retail race parts supplier, and SpecBoxster.com, a club-level record-holding Porsche Boxster racing team.

Autoweek Article on Formula DRIFT from SEMA

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SEMA Show: Formula Drift stays course
by Mark Vaughn

Like many enterprises, making a living sliding cars sideways around racetracks was not easy in 2009. But . . .

“We survived,” said Formula Drift president and cofounder Jim Liaw, speaking at SEMA of his series’ 2009 season. “Sponsorship amounts were down, but we had an increase in ticket sales and an increase in fan support.”

For next year, Formula Drift will return to the same seven tracks it ran in 2009, and there will be a separate Asian series. There also will be 32-car brackets, which Liaw says will be exciting for fans and challenging for teams, “pushing the limits of car reliabiltiy and driver stamina.”

Some new cars will be on the grid, including a BMW M3, at least one new Camaro and the Dynamic Autosports Team Skyline GT-R R35.

Liaw also is looking at online branding and TV exposure.

“It helps us analyze what we’re doing and where we’re going,” he said. “Our Twitter, MySpace and Facebook pages are constantly being updated. Our fans are young, motivated and have disposable income. And we use different products and methods to create new series value and exposure.”

For instance, last year, there were 2.5 billion impressions, or instances where a fan saw a Formula D car or driver in the media.

Liaw said that “2.5 billion impressions for a little series like ours is pretty good. That trickles down to everybody, especially the teams.”

Formula Drift will continue to be shown on the Versus network, the same channel that carries NHL and college football games and the IndyCar series, not to mention the pro bull-riding tour.

“Drifting is a viable sport and a viable investment,” said Liaw. “Maybe Formula Drift is the best bang for the buck in sports.”

For more information, see www.formulad.com.

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20091105/SEMA/911059996#ixzz0W6v0mBRB

Autoblog coverage of the Finals

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Formula Drift 2009 season wraps up in Irwindale, California
by Merritt Johnson


The sixth season of the Formula Drift series wound to a close in Irwindale, California this weekend, and the finale certainly lived up to the host venue’s ‘House of Drift’ reputation. The high speeds and excessive angle required to navigate the speedway’s bank required a “go big or go home” attitude in order for drivers to move through the rounds, and there was no playing it safe for seasoned veterans.

The 2009 Formula Drift season began with the debut of a slew of radical new platforms. It was anyone’s guess as to what methodology would win out come October. Driver Chris Forsberg proved that the tried and true ride, with a few years of service under its belt, was the key to securing a championship. Forsberg powered his V8-equipped Nissan 350Z to the top 16, earning him enough points to take the 2009 Formula Drift Championship title. Nipping right at Forsberg’s heals in the point race was fellow Drift Alliance member, Ryan Tuerck. Tuerck showed that Pontiac is still well and alive by sliding his Solstice GXP to the top of the event podium. Hit the jump to get all the results and a rundown on the season finale.

Check out the rest of the article and the image gallery HERE

Formula DRIFT 2009 Champion Crowned

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Formula DRIFT 2009 Champion Crowned and Round 7: Judgment Day Results;
Ryan Tuerck takes the event victory and Chris Forsberg wins the championship title


Long Beach, Calif. – October 17, 2009 – Formula DRIFT entered the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for the final event of the season. Ryan Tuerck takes the Round 7: Judgment Day victory, while Chris Forsberg takes the overall championship and the Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize.

The Toyota Speedway at Irwindale hosted the final event of the 6th season of Formula DRIFT. The sold out crowd was not disappointed as the drivers provided non-stop action throughout the event weekend. The event also provided plenty of additional entertainment for the fans including the Jtuned Auto Gallery, Famous Stars and Straps stunt bike demo, and a performance by the “Far East Movement.”

“Given the state of the current economy, Formula DRIFT and the sport of drifting have continued to make strides forward,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “This has been made evident tonight and a great way to cap the season to a sold out venue.”

The final event of the season lived up to all the high expectations with the drivers putting it all on the line to win the coveted championship. 2-time Formula DRIFT champion Tanner Foust met rookie and privateer Matt Powers with his Nissan 240 in the consolation round for third place. Foust outmatched the rookie and secured his third place finish. The finals came down to and Ryan Tuerck in the Gardella Racing / Mobil 1Pontiac Solstice and Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z. McQuarrie tapped the wall and spun on the 2nd run giving Tuerck the victory and 2nd place overall in the final championship standings. McQuarrie finished the season overall in 3rd place for the highest finish of his career.

“It feels amazing,” said Ryan Tuerck, winner of Round 7: Judgment Day. “To be able to relish in this win for the next 6th months is truly awesome.”

Heading into the final event, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Maxxis Tire Nissan 350Z maintained a healthy lead in the championship standings, but not a guaranteed title. Forsberg clinched the 2009 Formula DRIFT championship by beating Doug Van Den Brink in the Top 32 portion of the event giving him enough points overall to be crowned for the first time as champion. Forsberg also won for his second time in his career the Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize and was awarded a check for $10,000 and a custom wheel trophy and also became the first driver to win both in the same season. This marks the first time that the champion has come from a purely drifting background whereas previous champions had other motorsport experience.

“We’ve been chasing the championship for the past 6 years since Formula DRIFT first started and everyone is out here to do the same thing. We just run as hard as everyone else and did the best we could,” said Chris Forsberg, 2009 Formula DRIFT champion and Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize winner. “Coming into this last round I saw that Tuerck was just crushing it in practice and I knew that if we didn’t get enough points we would lose the championship and Tuerck would take the event and the title, so I’m proud of him doing that and I’m totally psyched for what my team was able to accomplish to win the championship.”

For more information and details visit the Formula DRIFT website at: www.formuladrift.com

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2009 Point Standings

1. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Maxxis Nissan 350Z 527 Points
2. Tuerck, Ryan Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice 521 Points
3. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Nissan 350Z 485 Points
4. Hubinette, Samuel NuFormz Dodge Viper 462.25 Points
5. Gittin, Vaughn Falken Tire Ford Racing Mustang GT 451.50 Points
6. Foust, Tanner Rockstar / Hankook Scion Racing tC 447.50 Points
7. McNamara, Darren Falken / Sears Auto Center Saturn Sky 426.50 Points
8. Nishida, Robbie Hankook Tires / Dynamic Autosports Nissan 350Z 425.25 Points
9. Pawlak, Justin Bergenholtz Racing / Nitto Mazda RX-8 416 Points
10. Gushi, Ken RS*R Scion Racing TC 388.50 Points
11. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / America’s Tire / Falken Nissan 240 381 Points
12. Brakohiapa, Tony Cooper Tire Ford Mustang 379.25 Points
13. Petty, Ross Garage Boso / Falken Nissan S15 377.25 Points
14. Aono, Taka Technosquare Toyota AE86 Corolla 369.75 Points
15. Verdier, Stephan Cooper Tire / Crawford Performance Subaru STI 364 Points
16. Miki, Ryuji APEXi / Hankook Mazda RX-7 341.75 Points

Round 7: Judgment Day Event Results

1. Tuerck, Ryan Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice Winner
2. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Nissan 350Z 2nd Place
3. Foust, Tanner Rockstar / Hankook Scion Racing tC 3rd Place

Tires.com Triple Crown Bonus Point Final Standings

1. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Maxxis Nissan 350Z 262 Points
2. Tuerck, Ryan Gardella Racing / Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice 256 Points
3. McQuarrie, Tyler Falken Nissan 350Z