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 Team DRIFT Competition at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Formula DRIFT will be participating once again at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The main competition will take place on Sunday, April 15 at 3:40 PM following the IZOD Indycar race.

The teams will be judged on style, execution and overall crowd reaction. Teams of 2 cars will wow the crowds while drifting the entire Grand Prix street course. Guest judges include Andy Yen (FD head judge), the 2011 champion Dai Yoshihara and 2-time champion Tanner Foust.

Drivers participating include:

Cyrus Martinez
Jeff Jones
Mauricio Ornelas
Taka Aono
Mike Essa
Joon Maeng
Odi Bakchis
Kyle Mohan
Tony Brakohiapa
Pat Mordaunt
Ryan Bell
Walker Wilkerson
Dennis Mertzanis
Enrique Mendoza

Formula DRIFT Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Results

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Justin Pawlak Wins the Season Opener for the Second Consecutive Season

Long Beach, Calif. – April 7, 2012 – Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang earns the victory at the first event of the 2012 Formula DRIFT season. Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Nissan 240SX takes second place while Formula DRIFT rookie Daigo Saito, in the Achilles Tires / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 rounds out the podium.

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach kicked off the 2012 season to a sold out audience. The largest driver pool participated in the two-day event with the largest rookie field of any season with 19 rookies.

“Starting the season to a sold out crowd is a great feeling,” says Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The drivers stepped up and provided a highly competitive event that sets the tone for the rest of the year. We’re looking forward to how the season will unfold.””

Justin Pawlak found the top of the podium for the second consecutive season in Long Beach taking the lead to start the 2012 Pro Championship season. Pawlak battled the 2011 Formula DRIFT champion, Daijiro Yoshihara, in a hard fought battle to win the event. Yoshihara defeated Formula DRIFT Asia champion and rookie Daigo Saito in the Top 4 to move on to Finals eventually taking second place. Saito defeated Matt Powers, who finished in third place in 2011, in the consolation round to find the podium in his very first Formula DRIFT Pro Championship event. Saito is now leads the new X-Mini Rookie Challenge.

“Its just amazing to come back to Long Beach and put down another win 2 years in a row,” said Justin Pawlak, winner of Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. “This is a great way to start the season and go for the championship.”

The 2012 Pro Championship season continues for Round 2: Road to the Championship at Road Atlanta on May 11-12. Tickets are available to purchase online now.

For more information visit: www.formuladrift.com

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship 2012 Point Standings After 1 Event

1. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang 106 Points
2. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 92 Points
3. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 78.50 Points
4. Powers, Matt Need for Speed / Nitto Nissan S14 69.50 Points
5. Tuerck, Ryan Team Retaks Nissan 240SX 66 Points
6. McQuarrie, Tyler Mobil 1 Camaro 64 Points
6. Millen, Rhys Hankook / Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Genesis Coupe 64 Points
8. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z 63 Points
9. Gushi, Ken Scion Racing Scion FR-S 62 Points
10. Moen, Kenneth Lutz Performance Nissan 350Z 61.50 Points
11. Grunewald, Conrad Hankook Tire Chevy Camaro 57 Points
12. Aasbo, Fredric Need for Speed / Papadakis Racing Scion TC 57 Points
12. Kado, Ryan Ryan Kado Racing Nissan 350Z 56 Points
14. Mohan, Kyle Nexen Tire / Mazdatrix Mazda RX-8 55 Points
15. Bakchis, Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis Motorsports Nissan 240SX S14 54.25 Points
15. Yoshioka, Toshiki RS*R Nissan Silvia S15 54.25 Points

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Event Results

1. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang Winner
2. Yoshihara, Daijiro America’s Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 Second Place
3. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 Third Place

Nitto Tires Continues Support of Formula DRIFT for Seventh Consecutive Season

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February 23, 2012

Long Beach, Calif. – February 23, 2012 – Formula DRIFT is proud to re-sign Nitto Tires as a Major Sponsor for the 2012 Pro Championship Series.

Nitto Tire will be on-site at each event as a sponsor of the Series as well as competing with their drift team. The Nitto team will compete on the NT05 tire.

“Nitto Tire is proud to continue its support for Formula DRIFT for the seventh season,” said Harry Kong, Marketing and Events Specialist for Nitto Tire. “This motorsport combines competiveness with excitement for both automotive enthusiasts and the general public. For 2012, Nitto will continue to use the Nitto NT05 as the tire of choice for the drift due to its predictability and durability under drifting environments. As a major sponsor, Nitto Tire will be integrated into 14 episodes of the Formula DRIFT TV broadcast on NBC Sports as well as a contributor to Formula DRIFT’s successful live-stream coverage. As the popularity of this motorsport grows, our fan base grows with it. Currently with over 1.2 million fans on the Nitto Tire Facebook page, we have a large outreach to help bring the excitement of drifting to our fans.”

For 2012, Nitto will be sponsoring Joon Maeng with the Nitto Tire / Mazda RX-8, Matt Powers with Need for Speed / Nitto Tire S14, Michael Essa with the GSR Autosport / Nitto Tire Z4, and lastly a new addition to the Nitto Tire team, Toshiki Yoshioka with the RS-R / Nitto Tire S15.