PIOTR WIECEK CLAIMS DOUBLE VICTORY IN MOTEGI SUPER DRIFT WEEKEND

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As is traditional, round one of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series took place on the Streets of Long Beach last weekend, with Frederic Aasbo climbing to the top step of the podium. Following the event, the city streets remain closed for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which hosts the Motegi Super DRIFT invitational challenge on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The format is designed to entertain the TGPLB crowds and expose new fans to the sport. It involves eight top Formula DRIFT drivers who don’t score points towards the FD championship, but do compete for prize money presented by event sponsor, Motegi Racing.

The Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge is incredibly popular both with viewers on the Formula DRIFT livestream and the Grand Prix crowds, who remain until 830pm to see the victor crowned under floodlights.

The 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge would see one man rise to the top on both evenings. Piotr Wiecek dominated the proceedings, continuing the momentum that resulted in an event win at the 2017 final round, first place qualification at round one of the 2018 series and a third place finish at that event. Partnered with 2017 Formula DRIFT champion, James Deane, the Worthouse / Falken Tire team and its Nissan Silvia S15s are going to be a powerful force this year.

Wiecek’s rise to the top on Friday saw him run first against Alec Hohnadell in his Rain-X / Permatex / Nexen / Hoonigan Nissan S14 in the Great 8. Wiecek would then beat Alex Heilbrunn’s Team IMR \ Nitto Tire BMW M3 in the Final 4. This meant he ran against Forrest Wang’s Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 in the Final. Wang had taken second place in round one of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series after a year away from the sport and is in top form. However, Wiecek proved to be unstoppable and swept Wang aside to claim the win.

On Saturday evening, Piotr would again beat Hohnadell in the Great 8 before facing Forrest Wang again in the Final 4. After the two drivers ran together they split the judges’ decision, resulting in “One More Time.” The pair would repeated the runs and the decision eventually went to Wiecek.

Saturday evening’s Final was another thrilling battle, this time between Wiecek and Justin “JTP” Pawlak in his Roush Performance / Falken Tires / 2018 Ford Mustang. JTP had finished fifth in the opening round of Formula DRIFT and was another driver in strong form. And while the crowd was calling for “One More Time,” the judges narrowly gave the decision to Piotr Wiecek and the Worthouse / Falken Tire team.

We caught up with a very excited, champagne-soaked winner after the podium ceremony. “What an incredible weekend!” Piotr Wiecek exclaimed. “This is such an amazing track and I’m so happy to be here, and to win both events. I’m also happy that my wife and son were able to join me for the first time at such a special occasion. This was brilliant, and I must give special thanks to James (Deane) and Micheal (Sheehan) who did a great job in the paddock and as spotters. It was great fun and I hope I will be able to repeat it as soon as possible.”

The official results from the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge are as follows:

Day one

First – Piotr Wiecek

Second – Forrest Wang

Third – Trenton Beechum

Day two

First – Piotr Wiecek

Second – Justin Pawlak

Third – Forrest Wang

Full results from both rounds of the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge can be found at formulad.com

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

See photos here: 2018 Photo Gallery
 
 
 

FORMULA DRIFT PARTNERS WITH SUMMIT RACING FOR PRO2 CATEGORY CONTINGENCY AND PROMOTION

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Formula DRIFT – the world’s premier competitive drifting series – is delighted to announce a new partnership with Summit Racing Equipment. This is especially good news because it focuses on the Pro2 category, which attracts up and coming drivers as they refine their skills before stepping up to the Pro category.

With 50 years of experience, Summit Racing Equipment is recognized as a market leader for its performance parts inventory, fast shipping, customer service, and tech expertise. It currently offers ten motorsport contingency programs to series around the world, and for 2018 Summit Racing Equipment will add Formula DRIFT Pro2 to its contingency program.

The program requires Pro2 teams to have Summit Racing decals on the car. The top two finishers will then be rewarded with a $200 gift card for finishing in first place, and a $100 gift card for second place in the Pro2 category.

Additionally, Summit Racing will sponsor a series of videos highlighting the drivers and focusing on their battle in the Pro2 category. Fans will be able to enjoy the videos and can follow the Formula DRIFT Pro2 category live when it takes place at four of the 2018 Formula DRIFT rounds. These include round three in Atlanta, GA; round six in St Louis, MO; round seven in Dallas, TX; and the final round eight at Irwindale Speedway in California. Furthermore, Summit Racing Equipment will activate at the Atlanta and Texas rounds, where it invites Formula DRIFT fans to visit its booth and pick up a free catalog and special show discount offer.

“We’re very excited to take Summit Racing Equipment into the Formula DRIFT world,” said Tommy Dupree, motorsports and events coordinator at Summit Racing. “FD opens yet another facet of motorsports for us to expand our efforts as The World’s Speed Shop. We’re also very happy to be involved in the Pro2 category as a contingency sponsor and look forward to seeing the new stars who develop from this exciting category.”

In turn, Formula DRIFT president and co-founder, Jim Liaw, had this to say about the new partnership: “We are delighted to welcome Summit Racing Equipment to our series and we’re especially excited that they recognize the importance of the Pro2 category. We know it’s crucial to encourage new talent into the sport in order to maintain its meteoric rise, and the role Summit Racing Equipment will play with both the Pro2 contingency program and the video series will be appreciated by the teams and fans alike.”

Round two of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series takes place in Orlando, FL on April 27-28. Visit formulad.com for event details and ticket purchases.

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.

See photos here: 2018 Photo Gallery