2018 FORMULA DRIFT SEASON OPENS WITH EXCITEMENT AND DRAMA ON THE STREETS OF LONG BEACH

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With new cars, drivers and teams attacking the corners for the long-awaited opening round of Formula DRIFT, the Streets of Long Beach promised a great deal of excitement and did not disappoint.

Highlights among the 2018 field included 2016 FD champion, Fredric Aasbo, driving his Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire 2019 Toyota Corolla, unveiled days earlier at the New York International Auto Show. Matt Field also debuted his Wish / Borla / Falken Tire Chevrolet Corvette, while Federico Sceriffo would bring his unique Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Drift Spec (aka Fiorella) to the Californian street circuit.

With a number of brand new cars and almost every team carrying out modifications and upgrades during the off-season, the first round always brings a degree of trepidation as the drivers get to grips with a “green” track. However, the front runners started to emerge during practice, and qualifying highlighted the drivers to watch.

Qualifying was dominated by the Worthouse Drift Team, with its pair of Worthouse / Falken Tire / Nissan Silvia S15s placed in first and second position. Top of the table was Polish driver Piotr Wiecek, who was awarded 2017 Formula DRIFT Rookie of the year and ended the previous season with a victory at the final round at Irwindale Speedway. He appeared to be maintaining his momentum into 2018, as did teammate and 2017 Formula DRIFT Pro champion, James Deane. The Irishman qualified in a strong second place and put all FD competitors on notice that he meant business.

Best of the rest was Forrest Wang’s Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 in third, Justin “JTP” Pawlak’s Roush Performance / Falken Tires / 2018 Ford Mustang in fourth, and Fredric Aasbo in fifth driving his brand new Corolla.

“I was delighted to take first place in qualifying,” said Wiecek, “because we started the qualification session without all the parts we needed. One of our containers was delayed for a month while being shipped from Europe and only arrived on Friday during qualification. This made the team’s finish in first and second all the more special.”

After Friday qualifying, Saturday would bring the intensity and excitement of full-blooded competition to the Streets of Long Beach. The threat of rain was averted, to the relief of competitors and spectators alike. The capacity crowd was treated to high-speed, high-octane action from 9am when practice began, to the final showdown at 530pm.

Formula DRIFT: Streets of Long Beach was won by Fredric Aasbo in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire 2019 Toyota Corolla. Despite limited seat time in the brand new car, Fredric conceded that it had some similarities to last year’s car, which helped the team with set up. And while everybody at Papadakis Racing was optimistic about the car’s chances, even they couldn’t have expected to be on the top step of the podium.

Aasbo’s path to the final saw matchups with Matt Vankirk in the Top 32, Kristaps Bluss in Sweet 16, Justin Pawlak in the quarter-final, top qualifier Piotr Wiecek in the semi-final, and Forrest Wang in the final.

Both Wang and Aasbo drove perfect lines in the final, causing the judges to request they run “One More Time” before giving the decision to the Toyota driver.

Aasbo was delighted with the result and gracious towards his competitor: “I used to watch Formula DRIFT from Europe and I saw Forrest rise through the ranks, retire and now he’s come back swinging. He’s a real artist and one of the OG drifters. He has conducted a masterclass here, taking out everybody except us. I’m really stoked to see him back but even more excited to see us on the top step of the podium.

“Coming second in the 2017 season we knew we had our work cut out. We weren’t fastest and I wasn’t the most talented,” said a reflective Aasbo. “But we had an opportunity to build a new car and Papadakis Racing took it to the next level. In the meantime, I went back to Norway and practiced drifting on the frozen lakes during the winter so I would be ready for the ultimate test today.”

Forrest Wang driving the Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 had a challenging path to the final. Starting with Kazuya Taguchi, he then had to overcome Vaughn Gittin Jr, Chris Forsberg in quarter-finals, and the 2017 champion James Deane in the semi-finals. What makes his achievement even more special is that Forrest took a hiatus from the series for a year, and this was his first event back in Formula DRIFT.

After the final he had this to say: “Coming into the weekend I had a lot of anxiety after taking a year off, but the car was great through all the sessions. It was fast and had a ton of grip so I had a lot of confidence. The team was working great and the Achilles Radial tires were working well so we have a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. Having qualified third and finished second we couldn’t have hoped for a better result at Streets of Long Beach.”

Formula DRIFT moves on to Orlando, FL for round two on April 27-28 and series president, Jim Liaw, was able to reflect on a successful opening round. “The Streets of Long Beach are always a challenging start to the season for the competitors, but the teams who perform well assume an advantageous position as we move into the next round. We’re also delighted that the sport continues to grow, and that Long Beach was sold-out. More people came to see the action than last year and it sets a good tone for the rest of the 2018 season as well as our return to Irwindale Speedway for the final round in October.”

Visit formulad.com for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles and Livestream information.

The Drift League, Formula DRIFT sanctioned Pro-Am Drift series to be managed by MotoIQ and hosted at Irwindale Speedway

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For Immediate Release:

GARDENA, CA, April 9, 2018: The Drift League (TDL) is a new Formula DRIFT sanctioned Pro-Am competitive drift series hosted by MotoIQ. TDL’s objective is to help aspiring drifters prepare for the professional levels of drifting. Emphasis will be given to proper vehicle preparation, mechanical & safety inspections, and how to properly run a professional level drift program. The series will consist of four single day competition events which will be held at the House of Drift, Irwindale Speedway. The series is scheduled to hold its four rounds of competition on the following Fridays; June 1, July 20, August 31 and September 28.

Rule sets and judging criteria will be based off current Formula DRIFT’s standards. Each round of competition will include practice time, qualifying and a Top 16 Competition. Course layouts for each round of competition will feature different track layouts from the official Formula Drift competition calendar.

TDL competitors will benefit from contingency programs and a cash purse at every competition – details will be announced at a later date. As an official Formula DRIFT Pro-Am Drift series, the top three competitors with the highest point’s totals at the end of the season will each be granted Formula DRIFT PRO-2 licenses.

For more information about TDL, visit TheDriftLeague.Com or follow @TheDriftLeague on Instagram and Facebook.

Fredric Aasbo opens 2018 Formula Drift season with victory

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Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Toyota Corolla Hatchback a winner.

LONG BEACH, California (April 8, 2018) — Fredric Aasbo claimed victory at the 2018 Formula Drift opener on the Streets of Long Beach Saturday. The stellar performance made the all-new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback an immediate winner.

“I’m a little bit speechless right now,” said Aasbo after the podium ceremony on Saturday. “We’ve been working so hard to get the new car built, and to find ourselves here on the top step of the podium at Round 1 feels amazing. All credit goes to the team for the incredible effort they put in during the offseason.”

The most winning driver in the series to date, Aasbo has a record of 11 event wins and is the 2015 Formula Drift World Champion. He finished the 2017 season second in the points and says he is hungry for another title.

“While the team was building our new car in the shop here in California, I was practicing. I spent the winter in Norway running ice tracks with friends and I’ve never felt more prepared to take on a championship than I do right now,” said Aasbo.

Long Beach is one of the most challenging stops on the Formula Drift calendar. Drivers must thread the needle between intimidating track walls, sliding sideways at 90-plus miles per hour through Turns 9, 10 and 11 of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach street course. The event is an annual sell out that sees enthusiastic fans pack into the venue, overflowing grandstands and crowding into the vendor display and pit areas during scheduled breaks in the action.

Aasbo qualified fifth, advanced past rookie Matt Vankirk in the opening round, and faced down rival Kristaps Bluss in the Top 16. He battled past Justin “JTP” Pawlak and bested 2017 Rookie of the Year Piotr Wiecek in the Final 4.

The final match of the day saw Aasbo face Forrest Wang in a close battle. It took a one-more-time re-run for judges to make a decision and, as fans cheered, Aasbo got the nod to claim the top step of the podium.

“It has been a great experience to partner with Toyota on the release of the new Corolla Hatchback,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “A lot of development goes into preparing a new car for competition and it’s been an exciting challenge to be the first team in the world to work with this model.”

Toyota engineers from Japan arrived at the track on Saturday with a special finishing touch, applying an XSE badge to the competition car to give it an Executive Sport Edition designation.

Papadakis Racing first revealed the all-new competition car as part of Toyota’s new vehicle launch for the Corolla Hatchback at the New York International Auto Show less than two weeks ago. The rear-wheel drive converted Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback produces 1,000 nitrous-boosted horsepower from its four-cylinder turbocharged Toyota 2AR engine. It is the latest build from a team that has built a reputation for challenging the status quo with its innovative competition builds.

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.

ABOUT FREDRIC AASBO: Known for his flat-out style, champion driver Fredric Aasbo has achieved 100-plus podium finishes on three continents over the past decade of competition. With 11 outright victories in Formula Drift, he is the most winning driver in series history.

Aasbo returns to the Formula Drift series in 2018 for a full season in a brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback, while also running a select season of events in Europe in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Icom Toyota 86-X, and events in Asia.

Aasbo made his U.S. debut at a global drifting invitational in 2008 and scored the 2010 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year title. Since then, he has charged through the drifting ranks around the world and is both a fan favorite and championship winner.

Originally from Ski, Norway, Aasbo now splits his time between his native country and Southern California.

ABOUT PAPADAKIS RACING: The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and is the most winning team in Formula Drift history, earning the 2015 title with driver Fredric Aasbo, as well as back-­to­-back championships with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008. The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback is the latest competition build from the Hawthorne, California, based team.

Team owner Stephan Papadakis is a legend of sport­-compact racing who began building his reputation in the 1990s with the first front-­wheel ­drive, tube-­chassis drag car in the U.S. The team earned multiple records and championships in the discipline, turning in elapsed times and trap speeds previously thought unattainable in front­-drive drag cars. Papadakis’ successes in front­-wheel drive were matched by his efforts in rear-­wheel drive when he campaigned just the fifth car to join the NHRA’s Sport Compact 200 MPH club.

2018 FORMULA DRIFT:

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach April 6 – 7 / Long Beach, CA (WIN)

Round 2: Invasion April 27 – 28 / Orlando, FL

Round 3: Road to the Championship May 11 – 12 / Atlanta, GA

Round 4: The Gauntlet June 1 – 2 / Wall, NJ

Round 5: Throwdown July 20 – 21 / Monroe, WA

Round 6: St. Louis August 10 – 11 / St. Louis, MO

Round 7: Showdown September 14 – 15 / Dallas, TX

Round 8: Title Fight October 12 – 13 – Irwindale, CA

PAPADAKIS RACING IS PARTNERED WITH Rockstar Energy Drink (www.rockstarenergy.com); Nexen Tire (www.nexentireusa.com); Toyota (www.toyota.com); TRD (www.trdusa.com), Motegi Racing (www.motegiracing.com); AEM Electronics (www.aemelectronics.com); SPC Performance (www.spcperformance.com); Gatebil Event (www.gatebil.no); RS-R (www.rs-r.com); Lucas Oil (www.lucasoil.com); BorgWarner (www.borgwarner.com); CTEK (www.ctek.com); Berk Technology (www.berktechnology.com)

Fredric Aasbo first at 2018 Formula Drift Season opener in brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback. (Photo: Larry Chen / Toyota Racing)

#FDLB Stats and Results

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PODIUM

1st – Fredric Aasbo
2nd – Forrest Wang
3rd – Piotr Wiecek

Full Results – http://www.formulad.com/standings/2018/pro

LIVE STREAM

Winning Run – https://www.facebook.com/FormulaDRIFT/videos/198519724090863/

Top 16 – https://www.facebook.com/FormulaDRIFT/videos/197096507566518/?sk=wall

Top 32 – https://www.facebook.com/FormulaDriftLIVE/videos/196681450941357/

Full Video Recaps – https://www.facebook.com/FormulaDriftLIVE/

Air Force Renews Sponsorship with Formula DRIFT

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San Antonio, Texas. – April 5, 2018 – The U.S. Air Force has renewed its partnership with Formula DRIFT for the 2018 race season. This marks the ninth consecutive season with the Series.

“We’re pleased to partner with the team at Formula Drift for another season,” said Maj. Ross McKnight, chief of the National Events Branch at Headquarters Air Force Recruiting Service. “Our involvement allows us to engage with individuals whose skills and interests are valued by the Air Force. Formula Drift fans appreciate speed, teamwork, and technology, all of which are inherent to the Air Force mission.”

“We are looking forward to having the United States Air Force return to the Series for 2018,” said Jim Liaw, President and Co-Founder of Formula DRIFT. “We’re proud to work with the Air Force and delighted that they see value and potential in a large, diverse fan base.”

At each event this season, the Air Force will support the series with one of six mobile tours on display in the Formula Drift paddock area. The Air Force will also augment the 2018 partnership with integration in the Formula Drift App, which launched in 2017.

The 2018 Formula DRIFT season opens this weekend with Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. Tickets are available and can be purchased via formulad.com

For more information visit: formulad.com and find Formula DRIFT at instagram.com/formulad,

facebook.com/FormulaDRIFT and twitter.com/FormulaDrift