Evergreen Speedway sits around 45 minutes Northeast of Seattle in the city of Monroe, and is home to the annual Washington State fair. In years past, Evergreen has awarded the first Formula Drift career podium or event win to more drivers than any other event, continued last season by Dean Kearney earning his first career podium.
Nitto’s Auto Enthusiast Day is Going Back to Cali
After a successful event in Texas, Nitto Tire’s Auto Enthusiast Day is returning to Southern California August 1st, 2015 and promises to be the series’ best event yet.
- 2015 marks the third year of the highly successful event series
- Event entry is free for all car show participants, vendors and spectators.
- Activities include a car show, drifting demos, truck jumping demos, a vendor midway, and raffle
- Meet Team Nitto drivers Vaughn Gittin, Jr., Odi Bakchis, “Mad” Mike Whiddett, and Tanner Foust
Cypress, Calif. (June 9, 2015) – Southern California is the birthplace of “car culture” as we know it today. Everything from traditional hot rodding to the emergence of the Japanese car culture in the US can trace its origins back to “SoCal.” Celebrating all of this history, Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., a leading manufacturer of off- road and street performance tires, created the Auto Enthusiast Day event – a free car show designed to bring together every facet of the automotive world in one place. Now in its third year, Auto Enthusiast Day promises to be the biggest one yet when it comes to Angel’s Stadium in Anaheim, California on August 1st.
Nitto Tire’s Auto Enthusiast Days has become a staple of the Southern California car show season. Since its inception in 2013, it has grown at an explosive rate, bringing in more cars, more vendors, more spectators, and more crowd-pleasing driving demos. Continuing this trend of growth, the 3rd annual event has even more in store for enthusiasts as Nitto pulls out all the stops to create the ultimate automotive experience.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with how quickly Auto Enthusiast Day has evolved, as well as all of the positive responses from our fans,” said Harry Kong, Brand Publishing Events and Motorsports for Nitto Tire. “Nitto is proud to be a company Fueled by Enthusiasts and we love being able to give back to the community that has been instrumental in our success. We have some great things planned for our 3rd annual event and cannot wait to see the reactions of the attendees.”
Auto Enthusiast Day will be full of activities sure to please everyone. Like previous years, there will be a car show for enthusiasts and car clubs to show off their modified and restored vehicles, a Vendor Midway featuring the hottest products in the automotive industry, drifting demonstrations by Team Nitto drivers Vaughn Gittin, Jr., Odi Bakchis, “Mad” Mike Whiddett, and Tanner Foust, and raffle giveaways for everything from apparel to ride alongs with one of the Team Nitto drivers. New for 2015 will also feature various drivers from Nitto’s Ultra4 Off-Road motorsports team.
The event will take place on Saturday, August 1st, 2015 at Angel’s Stadium in Anaheim, California and runs from 11am to 7pm. Admission to the event is free for everyone (spectator parking is $10) and the first 500 car show participants will receive a free gift for being part of the show. Vendor space is also free of charge for companies that want to show off their latest products, but space is limited and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.
Tickets for Auto Enthusiast Day are available online at http://www.autoenthusiastday.com and interested vendors can reserve their spot by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Nitto Tire, please visit www.nittotire.com. Join Nitto Tire on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NittoTire and on Twitter at @NittoTire.
About Nitto Tire
Nitto Tire (www.nittotire.com) develops performance tires for all uses, including racing, off-road and street. Using state-of-the-art manufacturing and testing facilities in both Japan and the United States, Nitto provides innovative and high-quality performance tires for the most demanding automotive enthusiasts. For more information about Nitto or its products, visit the company’s web site or contact the company directly. Nitto is a registered trademark of Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., located at 5665 Plaza Drive, Ste. 250, Cypress, CA 90630.
I was very excited when Mike told me at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon that he was making a return to Formula Drift, because not only is he a fan favorite, he brings a sense of style unlike anyone else on the grid.
I had a moment to catch up with Mike as soon as he was finished with Thursday practice ahead of this weekend’s FD Atlanta round.
Larry: You just finished open practice – how is your return to Formula Drift going so far?
Mike: It’s insane – seeing the speed of all the cars especially!
Just watching from the outside, you can definitely see the progression. I’ve been away from Formula Drift USA for five years, and the difference in speed from back then until now is ridiculous.
Today is our first time running on a new Nitto Tire NT05 compound, and it feels amazing.
Scott from SPD, who used to be Daijiro Yoshihara’s crew chief, has done a lot with setting up our KW coilovers and the rest of the suspension, so we’re really comfortable with the car now.
It helped that we took a lot of grip out of the car this morning, but since then we’ve just been fine tuning the setup and I’ve been getting used to the track with this layout, as I haven’t driven it before.
As for the speed of RADBUL, it’s pretty scary. I just need to learn the car and get my confidence up – mainly for the initiation and staying on the gas. It’s just that much faster than what we’re used to.
Larry: I noticed that when you are going back up the hill, your car is just pouring out smoke like I have never seen before. It’s so cool.
Mike: Yeah, it’s actually been a bit of a problem and we’ve had to put wind deflectors in to try and blow the smoke out. Because the cabin of the Miata is kind of like the back of a pickup truck, the tire smoke just gathers inside and swirls around.
The deflectors are really working too, because now when I’m on it, it feels like I’m not making any smoke at all. But when I pull back into the pits, my crew is telling me, ‘Man – that’s smokey as!’
I’m just really pumped to be back though. The camaraderie between the teams is amazing – it’s like a big family!
Nothing comes close to Formula Drift, and I’m just really stoked to be back.
I’m not here to break any records on this first season back – we just want to mix it up again, have some fun with the guys out here, and try and learn as much as we can.
As I said, the pace is the biggest thing that I need to get used to. I’m just trying to keep up with these guys because the cars have developed so much in the past five years.
Larry Chen and Mad Mike Whiddett
Red Bull pro drifter Mad Mike Whiddett is making a return to the prestigious Formula DRIFT Professional Drifting Championship Series, with a commitment to multiple events of the seven-round US-based 2015 season and the newly formed FD World Championship.
Whiddett had his first taste of Formula DRIFT USA back in 2010 when he drove in select rounds of that year’s championship. In the time since, the New Zealander has enjoyed plenty of success with multiple event wins and podiums in Formula DRIFT Asia and local competitions – but the focus has always been on getting back up to the USA and taking on the world’s best drivers in their own backyard.
When we competed in 2010 we were essentially using a modified street car built with mostly off-the-shelf parts, and it was tough going against all the big-budget US teams, many of which had manufacturer backing,” says Whiddett. “After that we knew there was no point in returning until we could do it properly, and all the foundations were in place – the driver, the team, and the car. With Red Bull, Mazda, Mobil 1 and Nitto Tire really getting in behind my Formula DRIFT campaign, it feels like the right time.
Integral to the campaign is Whiddett’s new pro-spec machine – a 2015 Mazda MX-5 better known as RADBUL. Over the past few months the convertible sports car has been the subject of a Red Bull video series titled The Making of RADBUL. The final episode showcasing the car during its first on track shakedown will be released at the end of April.
Despite being an unconventional base in the world of professional drifting, the NC-chassis MX-5 has been highly modified for the cause with factory support from the Japanese automaker. At its heart is a bespoke four-rotor, twin turbocharged Mazda rotary engine that develops in excess of 1,000 horsepower on its most conservative power setting.
While four-figure power output could almost be considered a requisite at the pinnacle of this motorsport, it’s only one piece in a much larger puzzle. “It’s going to be a huge learning curve for the whole team, but that’s what this year is all about,” says Whiddett.
The biggest disadvantage we have is a lack of data. There’s only limited testing before each round, so having a good setup for each circuit is really important when you’re chasing championship points.
The critical data will come with seat time, but to ensure that the team is on the right track from the get-go, Scott Dodgion, one of Formula DRIFT’s most experienced crew chiefs, has come on board for the 2015 campaign. “To have someone like Scott on the team will be really invaluable,” says Whiddett. “On top of being a world-class race car engineer, he has so much knowledge when it comes to setups and knows exactly what it takes to run a championship-winning Formula DRIFT team, because he’s been there before.”
Joining Dodgion on the team is New Zealander Warren Overton, whose Wanganui-based company, Pulse Performance Race Engineering, built Whiddett’s MX-5 from scratch, and car builder/driver ‘Rad’ Dan Burkett from RAD Industries in Orange County, California. Burkett’s workshop premises will serve as the team’s HQ between rounds.
In just two weeks time on April 10-11, the Long Beach GP Street Course will play host to the 2015 Formula DRIFT season opener. The all-star driver line-up is as strong as it’s ever been and Whiddett is under no illusion how tough the competition will be right throughout the Pro Championship ranks. Defending champion Chris Forsberg (USA, Nissan 370Z), 2014 season runner-up Fredric Aasbø (Norway, Scion tC) and third place getter Vaughn Gittin Jr. (USA, Ford Mustang RTR) are all confirmed starters.
Unfortunately for Whiddett, making the first round is unachievable. “We were really hoping we’d be able to kick off our season in Long Beach, but with strikes still happening at the Port of Los Angeles there’s just not enough lead time to get RADBUL up there and properly test it before that event,” he laments. The car is all ready to go, so we’re aiming to debut it at the second round in Georgia [Road Atlanta – May 8-9], where I’m familiar with the track and its high-speed entry. It’s going to be a good place to get into it, and I can’t wait.”
The challenge is a large and there’s a lot of learning to be done, but according to Mad Mike Whiddett that doesn’t mean he’ll be driving at anything less than maximum attack.
It’s been the dream for a long time to get back to Formula DRIFT, and I’m going to be charging as hard as I can all season to get a round win.
Long Beach, Calif. – March 8, 2011 – Formula DRIFT announces the Formula DRIFT Global Challenge on March 18, 2011. The inaugural event will be held at the Qatar Racing Club in Doha, Qatar.
Following the successful Formula DRIFT UAE Invitational event at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, Formula DRIFT will be holding the first Formula DRIFT Global Challenge in Qatar. The Qatar Racing Club in Doha, Qatar will host the event on March 18, 2011. Nine drivers will compete, including seven of the top Formula DRIFT Pro Championship drivers: Chris Forsberg, Tanner Foust, Michael Essa, Tony Brakohiapa, Fredric Aasbo, Mike Whiddett and Daijiro Yoshihara. Those 7 drivers will joined by Formula DRIFT Asia Championship stars, Tengku Djan Ley of Malaysia and Kiki Sak Nana of Thailand. The competition will be in a similar to the 8 car head-to-head format to the UAE Invitational.
“It’s really exciting to have so much interest for the sport in the region,” said Formula DRIFT vice president, Ryan Sage. “After such a great event at Yas Marina, I can’t see any way better to bring drifting to this region than to head to the Qatar Racing Club as this is the epicenter for motor sports in that Qatar. We are honored to be working with His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani on what should be another great event.”
“We could not be more excited to be hosting a Formula DRIFT event at the Qatar Race Club in Doha,” stated Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani, Chairman of the QRC. “We have just completed the most successful drag racing season to date for the Arabian Drag Racing League. Adding Formula DRIFT to our schedule furthers our goal of providing the people of Qatar and the GCC region with an exceptional motor sports experience in a world-class motor sports facility. We will continue to be a leader in the GCC region in pursuing partnerships with organizations like Formula DRIFT, who can bring some of the world’s best motor sports events to Doha and the people of Qatar.”
The event will be streamed live via the DriftStream and will be featured on Formula DRIFT TV on VERSUS as a half-hour special. For more information visit: www.formuladrift.com