Daigo Saito is Victorious at Round 7: Title Fight and is Crowned the 2012 Formula DRIFT Champion

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Long Beach, Calif. – October 13, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Irwindale Speedway for the 2012 season finale. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 takes the event victory and wins the 2012 Formula DRIFT Championship.

Round 7: Title Fight at Irwindale Speedway showcased drifting in its finest form. For the first time in Formula DRIFT and Irwindale Speedway history the event sold out before the gates opened to the public.

“Last year was so amazing we didn’t think we could do it again, not like this“ said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “This is why we love drifting. We are so energized for season 10 starting April 12-13, 2013.”

The competition was intense as the championship was up for grabs. Entering the event, seven drivers had a chance for the title. This soon changed as top drivers in the chase were taken out early including points leader Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang, defending champion Daijiro Yoshihara, in the America’s Tire / Falken Tire Nissan 240 and the 2009 champion, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Nissan 370Z. This opened the door for both Daigo Saito and Rhys Millen in the RMR / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe who met in the Final Four. Millen, the number one qualifier took himself out as he went hard into the wall giving the win to Saito. The wall took a number of victims through the competition including Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang when he battled Saito in the Finals, giving Saito the event victory. Saito in his rookie year in the Series becomes the first Series rookie to also be crowned Formula DRIFT champion. Saito a seasoned veteran drifter is arguably considered the best drifter in the world winning the Formula DRIFT Asia championship, D1 championship and now Formula DRIFT Pro Championship.

“Luck was with me tonight. I’m very happy to be able to compete in Formula DRIFT this year. I’ve wanted to compete in the Series for so long,” said Daigo Saito, winner of Round 7: Title Fight and 2012 Formula DRIFT champion. “Thank you to Formula DRIFT and Achilles Tires. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of everyone that helped me get to this point.”

Formula DRIFT enters its tenth season of competition in 2013. Tickets are on-sale currently and can be purchased through the Formula DRIFT website and Ticketmaster. Round 1: Streets of Long Beach will be held on April 12-13, 2013.

Formula DRIFT 2013 Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Tickets On-Sale

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Formula DRIFT 2013 Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Tickets On-Sale;
The 10th Season Begins April 12-13, 2013

Long Beach, Calif. – October 12, 2012 – Formula DRIFT has announced the availability of tickets for Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 12-13, 2013 for the 10th season of competition. Tickets are now on-sale and can be purchased online via the Formula DRIFT website, www.formuladrift.com.

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach will be held on the famous Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Street Course for the sixth consecutive year, which is the only street course on the circuit. The season opener will feature the debut of new drivers and cars to the Series along with the action and excitement that Formula DRIFT has become known for.

“We want to thank all the people that have supported the Series through the years,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The 10th anniversary season for Formula DRIFT will be just as exhilarating as any other season. Look for a few special announcements at our annual press conference at SEMA Show later this month.”

Tickets are now available for Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 12-13, including reserved seating, 2-day ticket packages, and VIP tickets. Tickets can be purchased online, Ticketmaster outlets, and the Long Beach Convention Center box office. Ticket prices start at $28 online with reserved tickets available for Saturday’s competition day. 2-day packages are also available along with VIP ticket packages.

BUY TICKETS HERE

Formula DRIFT Announces Official Partnership with Ford for the 2013 Pro Championship Season

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Long Beach, Calif. – October 11, 2012 – Ford is expanding its involvement in professional drifting competition by becoming an official partner of Formula DRIFT and the 2013 Formula DRIFT championship.

“Our involvement with Formula DRIFT is not new, but we are taking it to the next level with this announcement,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “Enthusiasts can now see our great Mustangs on the track with great drivers like Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Justin Pawlak, and they’ll get a better chance to interact with our stars as well as our exciting production vehicles off track through consumer outreach at all the events. Formula DRIFT is a major part of our action motorsports program targeting new audiences for Ford.”

Ford has actively supported the professional drifting efforts of Team Falken Tire and drivers including Gittin, Pawlak and others since 2005. Two-time D1 Grand Prix champion Gittin won the 2010 Formula DRIFT championship at the wheel of a Mustang GT and leads the 2012 series going into this weekend’s finale. Pawlak, the 2011 Formula DRIFT series runner-up, won the first two rounds in 2012 and currently sits fourth – 70 points behind Gittin.

Initially popularized by fans of import sport compacts, professional drifting has taken root with a younger, more active audience that’s interested in nontraditional, emerging motorsports. Formula DRIFT estimates 87 percent of its fan base is 18 to 34 years old. Ford involvement in Formula DRIFT is a significant part of the company’s outreach to this group that might consider a Ford vehicle like the Fiesta, Focus, Mustang or Raptor.

Drifting is one of many nontraditional approaches Ford is using to reach new customers including social network conversations, soliciting user-generated content through programs like Fiesta Movement and Social.Ford.com, cross-platform marketing programs like Random Acts of Fusion, and the Octane Academy experiential program featuring Gittin, Ken Block, Brian Deegan and Tanner Foust.

“Ever since Ford came into the series competitively in 2005, we have seen the power of what a factory-backed effort can do,” said Ryan Sage, co-founder/vice-president, Formula DRIFT. “Now we are even more excited to have them on as an official partner for the final event of the year and into 2013.”

The finale of the 2012 season of the Formula DRIFT championship is taking place this weekend at Irwindale Speedway (east of Los Angeles) on October 12-13, 2012 for the final event of its ninth season. The Mustangs of Gittin and Pawlak are both in contention for the championship. The Formula DRIFT championship event will be broadcast live on www.FormulaD.com/live Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUKPP01Kx-U&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Formula DRIFT Signs Takata Racing as a Premier Driftstream Sponsor for the 2012 Pro Championship Finale

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Long Beach, Calif. – October 10, 2012 – Formula DRIFT is proud to announce Takata Racing as a premier Driftstream sponsor for Round 7: Title Fight this weekend. Takata Racing will be a premier sponsor of the Driftstream with exclusive naming rights of the final head-to-head battle and Saturday practice session.

“Takata Racing is excited to join Formula DRIFT as a premier Driftstream sponsor for the final season finale at Irwindale Speedway. Takata is a world leader in automotive and motorsport safety and we look forward to working with Formula DRIFT to optimize their safety systems for the teams,” Joe Marko of Takata Racing NA. “We have worked with multiple other motorsport organizations such as NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula 1 and we see the association with Formula DRIFT as a terrific way to promote safety to the new generation of enthusiasts.”

As a premier sponsor, Takata Racing will be integrated into Formula DRIFT’s Driftstream live webcast during Round 7: Title Fight beginning on Friday, Oct. 12 to Saturday, Oct. 13. For the 2013 season Takata Racing will sponsoring Formula DRIFT driver Ken Gushi in the Greddy / Hankook / Scion Racing FR-S.

“We are excited to have Takata Racing as a new partner in Formula DRIFT,” president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Takata will bring its years of safety and technical knowledge to the Series and the sport of Drifting.”

The Driftstream will air Friday and Saturday, October 12-13 starting at 2PM (PST) during Round 7: Title Fight, which is the conclusion of the 2012 Formula DRIFT Pro Championship season. The Driftstream is available on www.formulad.com/live.

Rhys Millen is Victorious at Formula DRIFT Round 6: After Dark

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Rhys Millen is Victorious at Formula DRIFT Round 6: After Dark;
Championship Will Come Down to Final Event of the Season

Long Beach, Calif. – August 26, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Round 6: After Dark. Rhys Millen in the RMR / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe takes the victory and moves up to third place in the overall points standings leading into the final event of the season.

Round 6: After Dark brought drifting back to Sin City and treated fans to a night spectacle that included the Vegas ProAm championship, Slammed Society car show, Targa Trophy display of vehicles and more. The Driftstream saw an estimated 150,000 viewers in a 24-hour period.

“The Las Vegas round of competition is always one of the most action-packed, but with a completely new course it challenged the drivers and excited the fans,“ said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Each year we have seen an increase in attendance and have accommodated with the addition of extra grand stands. This was a very exciting event to lead into the championship round in October. This was another tight championship chase with three former champions in the top five.”

A new track configuration was added to the event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway giving an extra challenge for the drivers to adjust to the new course along with the weather conditions of the desert. Robbie Nishida in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Tires Lexus SC300 faced points leader Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang in a battle for third place. Gittin took the win and secures his point lead in the chase for the championship. The final battle pitted second place qualifier, Rhys Millen, fresh off his record setting victory at Pikes Peak in the same Hyundai Genesis Coupe that he competed in at this event, against the number one qualifier, Frederic Aasbo in the Need for Speed / Hankook Scion tC. On his lead run, Aasbo met the wall to give the advantage to Millen. On the second run Millen kept a consistent line to take the victory moving him to third place overall and within striking distance of the point leaders.

“It was an incredible victory for our entire crew at RMR, for Hyundai, Pulse and Hankook. To come here from Pikes Peak in the exact same car in a different configuration and in a different driving style and to do it back to back,” said Rhys Millen, winner of Round 6: After Dark. “This is a true drivers course and suits the car well and we were flawless all day long. Unfortunately, some of our competitors gifted us a couple wins, but at the end of the day we put the pressure on them to run deep and fast.”

The chase for the championship is as tight as it has ever been and will be decided at the final event of the season. The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship Round 7: Title Fight on October 12-13 at Irwindale Speedway. Tickets are on-sale now and can be purchased on the Formula DRIFT website.