Formula Drift made its final stop of the year at the House of Drift Irwindale Speedway for it’s signature final round of the season. Three drivers would enter into the round in contention for the championship – Points leader Chris Forsberg, 2nd place Fredric Aasbo and 3rd Vaughn Gittin Jr. Forsberg would be chasing down his 3rd championship title trying to pass Samuel Hubinette and Tanner Foust on the list with 2 titles. Aasbo would be defending by trying to defend his 2015 title and become the second driver to win consecutive championships.
Daijiro Yoshihara showed a resurgence and put down one amazing Qualifying run and earning the #1 Qualifier position and in doing so earned him one of the three bye run’s for the weekend due to zeroes and mechanical failures in qualifying.
Matt Field hangs on for second straight win in Gears of War 4 240SX; Chris Forsberg crowned series’ first three-time champ
If there were one word you couldn’t call the 2016 Formula DRIFT season, it would be “predictable.” While Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Fredric Aasbo each won twice over the course of the past seven months, the only truly foreseeable thing was Chris Forsberg and podiums. For seven rounds, Forsberg never won but podiumed each time. This consistency would lead to his championship at Irwindale, though he would break that streak at Round Eight. Only one other driver won more than Forsberg this year, which is further proof that Matt Field is inching closer to becoming a threat to the championship in the very near future. If there was one thing that could be said for certain, it’s that Round Eight of the ’16 Formula D Championship was a tough battle for everyone.
Formula Drift Irwindale is arguably the most important and largest professional drift event in the world. This year was no exception as the championship was decided during the Top 16 rounds of competition.
Here is a collection of my favorite images from the Formula Drift season finale.
Chris Forsberg is the 2016 champion and also the first driver to get three Formula Drift Pro championships under his belt. I guess you can say he was pretty happy.
I love shooting at Irwindale. Because it’s the final event of the professional season, all of the drivers are pushing as hard as they can.
Kenny Moen’s car caught on fire while waiting on grid, so he jumped out, grabbed a can of Coke, and used that to try to put out the flames. What a boss.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts “Title Fight” sponsored by Gumout at the Formula DRIFT Championship presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras Round 8 Results; Matt Field Takes the Event Victory and Chris Forsberg is Crowned Champion
Long Beach, Calif. – October 8, 2016 – The O’Reilly Auto Parts “Title Fight” sponsored by Gumout at the Formula DRIFT Championship presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras completed the 2016 Pro Championship season in dramatic fashion with Matt Field in the Gears of War 4 / Falken / Driftcave Motorsports Nissan 240 taking the event victory, while Chris Forsberg, in the NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z is crowned both the Pro Champion and World Champion.
Irwindale Speedway, also known as the “House of Drift,” hosted the sold out event. Over 600,000 global viewers tuned in to watch the event unfold via the Livestream.
“This was a signature year for the Series,” said Jim Liaw, President of Formula DRIFT. “We crowned our first 3-time champion, introduced an eighth event to the Pro Championship, and have a few things up our sleeves already for the 2017 season.”
The season culminated at the largest event of the year and with the championship at stake the drivers put it all on the line. Entering the event, only four drivers were mathematically eligible to take home the championship, 2-time champion, Chris Forsberg, returning champion Fredric Aasbo, 2010 champion, Vaughn Gittin, and Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis. As the event progressed, Gittin, had an early exit in the round of 32, which left Aasbo and Forsberg left to control their own destiny. The Top 16 saw many spoilers and upsets as Forberg crashed in his chase run against Patrick Mordaunt giving a small chance to Aasbo. In Aasbo’s Top 16 battle against Matt Field, Aasbo initiated contact on his chase lap giving the edge to Field, which ultimately cost him the decision to give Forsberg the 2016 Pro Championship. This makes Forsberg the first 3-time Formula DRIFT champion and first champion to win without winning a single round of competition. Forsberg also is awarded the 2016 Formula DRIFT World Championship.
“It’s been an insane year. I want to thank my partners that have given me endless support,” said Chris Forsberg, 2016 Formula DRIFT champion and World Champion. “Even though we didn’t get the win, I always say that consistency pays off and that’s how you win a championship by doing well every single round.”
With the championship determined, the remaining drivers continued to make a statement and end their season on a high note. Ryan Tuerck faced off against Tyler McQuarrie in the Top 16 and edged out his opponent, but at the finish line had mechanical issues, which forced him out of the competition, but by qualifying in second, he secured third place. The final battle pitted number one qualifier, Dai Yoshihara and Matt Field, who won Round 7. Continuing on the momentum from Texas, Field drove hard and consistent, and caught a break as Yoshihara’s power steering went out pushing him into the wall on his chase run which gave him the victory.
The event was highly competitive with many battles often too close to call for the judges leading to several “one more time” calls. In the Great 8, returning champion Fredric Aasbo in the Rockstar Energy / Nexen Tire SR by Toyota tC, who entered the event second in points by only five points faced the 2-time champion and point leader, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z. This battle was significant for the championship chase. An over correction by Aasbo opened the door for Forsberg to enter the semi-finals.
“We just finished the war here in Irwindale,” said Matt Field, winner of Round 8: Title Fight. “We won and came out on top! With the new Gears of War 4 livery with its release a lot changed since Texas, but winning didn’t.”
Rookie of the year honors goes to Alex Heilbrunn in the RTS Monster BMW M3, while SR by Toyota takes the Manufacturer Championship, and Falken Tire comes from behind to win the Tire Championship.
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Round 8: Title Fight Event Results
1. Field, Matt Gears of War 4 / Falken Tire / Driftcave Motorsports Nissan 240 Winner
2. Yoshihara, Dai Falken Tire / Turn 14 Subaru BRZ 2nd Place
3. Tuerck, Ryan Gumout / Nameless Performance / Hankook SR by Toyota FRS 3rd Place
4. Mordaunt, Patrick Drift Paddock Nissan 350Z 4th Place
5. Wang, Forrest Get Nuts Lab / Hankook Tire Nissan 240 5th Place
6. Pawlak, Justin Roush Performance Ford Mustang 6th Place
7. McQuarrie, Tyler Mobil 1 Chevy Camaro 7th Place
8. Rintanen, Juha PP Design and Art Nissan 240 8th Place
9. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z 9th Place
10. Ng, Charles Sogun Motorsports / Achilles Nissan 240 10th Place
11. Aasbo, Fredric Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire SR by Toyota tC 11th Place
12. Heilbrunn, Alex RTS Monster BMW M3 12th Place
13. Bakchis, Aurimas Ark Performance / Feal Suspension / Falken Hyundai Genesis 13th Place
14. Stoneback, Geoff CFR / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z 14th Place
15. Whiddett, Mike Red Bull / Nitto Tire Mazda MX5 15th Place
16. Bluss, Kristaps HGK / Mast / Motul / Achilles Tire BMW M3 16th Place
2016 Formula DRIFT Championship Presented by BlackVue Final Standings
1. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z 539.00 Points
2. Aasbo, Fredric Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire SR by Toyota tC 502.00 Points
3. Gittin, Vaughn Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR 462.00 Points
2016 Manufacturer Championship Final Standings
1. SR by Toyota 933.00 Points
2. Nissan 748.00 Points
3. Ford 710.00 Points
4. BMW 461.00 Points
5. Mazda 366.00 Points
6. Chevrolet 310.00 Points
7. Infiniti 262.00 Points
8. Dodge 239.00 Points
9. Lexus 158.00 Points
2016 Tire Championship Final Standings
1. Falken 1096.00 Points
2. Nexen 969.00 Points
3. Hankook 940.00 Points
4. Nitto 752.00 Points
5. Achilles 706.00 Points
7. GT Radial 374.00 Points
2016 World Championship Final Standings
1. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z 573.00 Points
2. Field, Matt Gears of War 4 / Falken Tire / Driftcave Motorsports Nissan 240 469.00 Points
3. Whiddett, Mike Red Bull / Nitto Tire Mazda MX5 349.00 Points