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.
Formula DRIFT Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Tickets On-Sale;
Ninth Season of Competition Begins on April 6-7, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. – February 15, 2012 – Formula DRIFT prepares to begin the ninth professional championship season. Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 6-7 tickets are now on-sale and can be purchased online via the Formula DRIFT website, www.formuladrift.com.
“We are especially excited to kick-off another season in Long Beach,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “This will be our fifth consecutive year utilizing the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Street Course, which is the only street course in the Championship. With new drivers, new competition vehicles and non-stop drifting action we are expecting another sell-out crowd.”
Round 1: Streets of Long Beach will feature the championship defense for Daijiro Yoshihara, the debut of the Scion Racing FR-S driven by Ken Gushi, and the introduction of a new judge to the Series. New drivers and vehicles will make their debut at this season opener including 2011 Formula Drift Asia Champion Daigo Saito leading the international charge of drivers from 14 nations.
Tickets are now available for Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 6-7, including reserved seating, 2-day ticket packages, and VIP tickets. Tickets can be purchased through http://formulad.com/schedule/tickets/, 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. Save on additional fees by purchasing your ticket at the Long Beach Convention Center box office directly.
For those attending the annual SEMA tradeshow next week in Las Vegas, Formula DRIFT will hold a press conference to announce news items pertaining to the Series.
If you are a member of the media and would like to attend this press conference please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. One on one interviews can be scheduled including co-founders Jim Liaw and Ryan Sage and the 2011 Formula DRIFT champion Daijiro Yoshihara.
Formula DRIFT Round 7: Title Fight Results;
Daijiro Yoshihara Wins the Championship and Tyler McQuarrie Takes the Event Victory
Long Beach, Calif. – October 8, 2011 – Formula DRIFT returned to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale for the final event of the 2011 season. Daijiro Yoshihara in the America’s Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 won the championship, while Tyler McQuarrie in the Falken Tire Nissan 350Z took the event victory.
Round 7: Title Fight concluded the most successful season in Formula DRIFT history. The sold out crowd eclipsed attendance records for the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale and is now the largest Formula DRIFT event in history.
“First of all we would like to congratulate Dai on his first championship. He has worked hard for over 8 years and has consistently had good results and its awesome to see it pay off for him,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “You couldn’t script the finals to be any better capping off the season with excitement and drama and ending on a high note to a sell out crowd to be the largest drifting event we have ever produced.”
With the championship decided in the Final 4 competition, the event was far from over. Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z defeated Darren McNamara in the consolation round to secure third place for the event and also move him up into third place overall. The final battle of the evening pitted Rhys Millen in the Redbull / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe against Tyler McQuarrie. After an intense battle McQuarrie took the victory moving himself up to finish in the fifth standing position for the season.
“To win in Irwindale is massive for any driver and to do it under the circumstances surrounding this week is incredible,” stated Tyler McQuarrie, winner of Round 7: Title Fight. “This victory paints a better picture and gives me the momentum heading into the off-season.”
The results of the event could only be described as the ultimate finish to crown a champion. This event was the closest and most competitive chase for the championship in Formula DRIFT history, with 5 drivers entering with a chance at the title. Rookie of the year honors went to Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis. Many scenarios played out with such a close gap in the point standings. Daijiro Yoshihara entered with the point lead and was taken out early in the Top 16 opening the door for the others to take the championship. Yet, the stars were aligned for Yoshihara and by a narrow margin he was able to hold onto the lead to win the 2011 Formula DRIFT Championship along with the Tires.com Triple Crown. Marking the first time in Series history that the champion also wins the bonus prize.
“It’s a great feeling and a dream come true,” said Daijiro Yoshihara, 2011 Formula DRIFT champion. “After 8 years of driving it finally paid off. I owe a lot to my team and sponsors. My new goal will be to defend the championship and win it outright during the event.”
Autoblog.com just featured a nice article on Michael Essa.
Sliding Sideways Through The Desert: A day spent drifting with Michael Essa [w/video]
Drifting isn’t a real sport.
So sayeth the peanut gallery that thinks drifting is just a bunch of wheel-spinning youngsters who’ve watched way too many selections from the Fast and Furious library. I’m here to tell you that it’s very much a sport, and the men and women behind the wheels of their sideways machines dance the thin line between aggressive fury and smoke-filled poetry.
I’m sweating my ass off in the middle of the Mojave Desert for my first lesson on drifting, and my teacher for the day is none other than Mr. Michael Essa. He’s late, it’s hot and I’m surrounded by a pit road filled with random examples of rear-wheel-drive Japanese machinery in all the colors of the rainbow. Plus three more hues that I’ve never seen before.
Who exactly is this guy I’m waiting for? If you’re already a fan of drifting, than you know that Professor Essa is the bespectacled pilot of the GSR Autosport BMW Z4. Essa is a professional drifter who competes in the Formula Drift series alongside the likes of Vaughn Gittin Jr., Rhys Millen and Samuel Hubinette, amongst others. Mike is passionate about his sport, skilled behind the wheel and also capable of ducking under the hood and turning some wrenches. At the moment, however, I don’t know any of this… because I’m melting into the asphalt of the Streets of Willow, and Essa is still late.
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE