Motegi Racing to Sponsor Super Drift Challenge at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2013) – Motegi Racing will be the title sponsor of the Super Drift Challenge, the first night race in the 39-year history of the world-famous Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 19-21, race officials announced today.

The Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge, an invitational Formula DRIFT event, will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights on the eastern end of the race circuit – turns nine, 10 and 11 – and is expected to feature 16 of the sport’s top cars and drivers including 2012 Formula DRIFT champion Daigo Saito, 2011 champ Daijiro Yoshihara, plus Frederic Aasbo, Aurimas Bakchis, Michael Essa, Conrad Grunewald, Ken Gushi, Tyler McQuarrie, Robbie Nishida, Justin Pawlak, Matt Powers and others to be announced. Friday’s action will include practice and qualifying runs, while Saturday will see the teams compete for a $25,000 prize pool. On Sunday, the Super Drift Challenge cars will drift the entire race circuit after the featured IZOD IndyCar Series race.

Grand Prix fans that purchase any admission ticket for Friday or Saturday racing activities will be able to see that day’s Super Drift Challenge. Seating for the Super Drift Challenge will be in Grandstands 16, 18, 24, 25 and 26 on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“Motegi Racing is pleased to be part of the first night race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in nearly four decades,” said Marketing Director Rhett Sander. “The Super Drift Challenge is a great addition to the race weekend and we look forward to seeing a great smoke show under the lights.”

“We are excited to have Motegi Racing expand on their relationship here at Long Beach to include the entitlement of our first-ever night racing event,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “This is just another example of the added value that will be provided to all of our race fans over the weekend at no additional cost.”

Motegi Racing has been a supporter of drifting in the United States since its first season and has backed top drivers including Fredric Aasbo, Matt Powers, and Tanner Foust. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is a special weekend for the aftermarket wheel company, which backs teams and drivers in many of the races on the schedule including drifting, ALMS and IndyCar.

In addition to the Super Drift Challenge, the 2013 Grand Prix will again be headlined on the track by the IZOD IndyCar Series®.  Also featured will be the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series, the fan-favorite Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Firestone Indy Lights and Pirelli World Challenge.

Off the track, the Grand Prix’s menu of family entertainment includes free Friday and Saturday night Tecate Light concerts and the Lifestyle Expo with an expanded Family Fun Zone with racing simulators, kids’ racing cars, computer games and action sports. Add to that driver autograph sessions, a Go-Kart track for adult racers, the Food Truck Experience, Sunday’s Mothers Exotic Car Paddock, and it’s a weekend packed full of activity.

Ticket prices for the three-day event range from $28 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $130 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages. Fans can select and pay for their 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 82-SPEED.

Fans can also follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB and on Twitter @ToyotaGPLB.

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Formula DRIFT Announces Competition Changes for 2013 Season

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Formula DRIFT Announces Competition Changes for 2013 Season;
New Changes to Be In Effect at Round 1: Streets of Long Beach

Long Beach, Calif. – February 12, 2013 – Formula DRIFT has announced competition changes for the 2013 Pro Championship Season. The new changes will be in effect starting at Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 12-13, 2013.

“To better inform our fans of competition changes that will be relevant to the live viewing and live stream, we have announced a few new changes to the competition format that will begin at the season opener in Long Beach,” stated Ryan Sage, vice-president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “These adjustments will bring new excitement to the Series and keep downtime to a minimum with the end goal of enhancing the fan experience.”

The main revisions to the competition format and rulebook are as follows:

1. “Knock-out” style Qualifying.
Qualifying will now begin with the number one ranked driver first and seed the Top 16 after the first run through the whole field. Positions 17-32 will now be filled after the second run from the remaining drivers in the field, who will advance with the best score of their two runs.

2. 5-minute rule renamed and adjusted.
The “5-minute rule will has been changed to a new term, “Competition Timeout.” The time frame will remain at five (5) minutes for the competitor to use, however the competitors vehicle may no longer leave the hot area of competiton to go back to the paddock. All changes done to the vehicle must be done on grid unless otherwise specified.

3. Qualifying criterion points adjustment.
Style, line and angle criteria categories will now be judged using whole numbers. Speed will be the only category that uses 1/10 numbers and will based on a median speed of all the drivers field during practice.

4. Specific issues identified as zeros (0) in qualifying and tandem.
Formula DRIFT has identified specific terms that would receive a judging zero (0) in both qualifying and tandem.

Qualifying:
– Spinning out
– Loss of drift
– Two tires off course
– Hood, hatch and/or doors open during a run
– Resulting contact causes an abrupt change in the vehicles drift and/or causes a spin

Tandem:
Two or more of the following items constitute and automatic zero in tandem:
– One wheel off course
– Straightening
– Hitting a cone or course marker
– Double entry
– Abrupt stop
– Stalling

5. Updated verbiage on passing.
Formula DRIFT has adjusted the passing verbiage in the rulebook to make it more broad and open. The purpose of this will be to give drivers a chance to attack a lead driver who is making noticeable mistakes and also for the public to be more deeply engaged in the competition.

Passing is allowed in Formula DRIFT. Passing is allowed anywhere on course as long as the lead car is clearly off the line the judges have specified. Any passing that occurs outside the scope of the aforementioned criteria will be deemed illegal and constitute an equivalence to a zero (0) run.

“We made these changes to make judging specific criteria less ambiguous and more defined, which will keep us accountable for consistency,” said Andy Yen, judge for Formula DRIFT. “The new changes will help define the judging without sacrificing the essence of drifting, subjectivity.”

Inaugural Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge to Run at 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Inaugural Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge to Run at 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach;
Invitation-Only Formula DRIFT Event to Become Grand Prix’s First Night Race

Long Beach, Calif. – December 5, 2012 – LONG BEACH, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2012) – For the first time in its 39 years, the world-famous Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 19-21, 2013, will offer night racing with the inaugural Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights during race weekend.

The Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge, which will take place at 7 p.m. on the eastern end of the race circuit – turns nine, 10 and 11 – is expected to feature 16 of the sport’s top cars and drivers including 2012 Formula DRIFT champion Daigo Saito, 2011 champ Daijiro Yoshihara, plus Frederic Aasbo, Aurimas Bakchis, Michael Essa, Conrad Grunewald, Ken Gushi, Tyler McQuarrie, Robbie Nishida, Justin Pawlak, Matt Powers and others to be announced. Friday’s action will include practice and qualifying runs, while Saturday will see the teams compete for a $25,000 prize. On Sunday, the Super Drift Challenge cars will drift the entire race circuit after the featured IZOD IndyCar Series race.

Grand Prix fans that purchase any admission ticket for Friday or Saturday racing activities will be able to see that day’s Super Drift Challenge.

Seating for the Super Drift Challenge will be in Grandstands 16, 18, 24, 25 and 26 on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“We are excited to change up the drifting action during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend from an exhibition show to a competition. By doing this we will be able to showcase the true form of competition drifting to the Grand Prix fans,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The icing on the cake comes in the form of night time drifting on the streets. We are truly honored to be the first Series to be competing on the streets of Long Beach at night!”

“The Grand Prix has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with Formula DRIFT and this newly designed event takes it to a new level,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “And all this added excitement will be presented at no additional cost to our race attendees. Plus, because of its unique location, there will be no impact in any way on the businesses around the rest of the track.”

Ticket prices for the three-day event range from $28 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $130 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages. Fans can select and pay for their 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at the new gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 82-SPEED.

Justin Pawlak Wins the Tires.com Triple Crown

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Long Beach, Calif. – October 26, 2012 – Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang is the winner of the Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize taking home $10,000 and a 51-30 Nixon watch. Pawlak finished fourth in the overall 2012 Formula DRIFT Pro Championship standings.

“This was an exciting Tires.com Triple Crown chase. We could not believe how close it was and were excited to crown a new champion. JTP has a college fund to start and we are happy to provide the first deposit. We are very happy to support the sport and drivers with this prize,” said Discount Tire.

The Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize is awarded to the driver that accumulates the most points within the selected three rounds of competition. For the 2012 Formula DRIFT Pro Championship season the event chosen were Round 2: Road to the Championship at Road Atlanta, Round 5: Throwdown at Evergreen Speedway and Round 7: Title Fight at Irwindale Speedway.

“Going into the year with two wins I really thought this could be my year for the championship,” said Justin Pawlak, winner of the 2012 Tires.com Triple Crown. “After things started to shank down I knew this wasn’t going to be the year. But winning the Tires.com Triple Crown kind of made it all worthwhile. All the trials of the season and the birth of my son, it’s the icing on the cake!”

Pawlak edged out the 2012 Formula DRIFT champion Daigo Saito and the 2010 Formula DRIFT champion Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the closest chase for the Triple Crown in history. Pawlak joins past winners of the Tires.com Triple Crown that include:

2011 – Dai Yoshihara
2010 – Tanner Foust
2009 – Chris Forsberg
2008 – Rhys Millen
2007 – Chris Forsberg
2006 – Rhys Millen

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.

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.