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.

Vaughn Gittin Takes the Victory at Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway

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Vaughn Gittin Takes the Victory at Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway;
Yoshihara and Forsberg Round out the Podium

Long Beach, Calif. – June 23, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Wall Speedway for Round 4: The Gauntlet. Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang takes the victory.

Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway saw a sold out crowd continuing the successful season. The Driftstream saw over 200,000 total views in a 24-hour period.

“The drift fans from all over the North East are die hard and came to watch the action until the very end,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “With many of the top drivers hailing from the area, the North East fans saw two local drivers with Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Chris Forsberg on the podium.

The competition was fierce at the half-way point of the season. Finding the podium was the past three season champions. Top 4 competition saw a repeat of the final round from Round 3, with the 2009 champion, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z battling against Formula DRIFT rookie Daigo Saito, in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430, who currently sits in second place in the overall standings. Forsberg got his revenge and was able to defeat the rookie ending up in third place and moving him up to fifth place overall. The final battle pitted the current 2011 Formula DRIFT champion, Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan 240SX against the 2010 Formula DRIFT champion, Vaughn Gittin, Jr. Yoshihara had a major correction on his chase run which gave the win to Gittin, for his first podium of the season and improving to fourth place overall. Yoshihara found the podium for his second consecutive event and remains in third place in the standings.

“It took me a little longer than expected to harness this brand new 2013 Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang,” said Vaughn Gittin, Jr., winner of Round 4: The Gauntlet. “My team and I worked extremely hard and overcame the challenges and got back on the podium and it feels amazing!”

The competition increases with only a few points separating the competition on their way to becoming the next champion. The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship continues with Round 5: Throwdown on July 20-21, 2012 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA.

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Results

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Formula DRIFT Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Results;
Justin Pawlak Takes the Victory at the Season Opener

Long Beach, Calif. – April 10, 2011 – Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang earns the victory at the first event of the 2011 Formula DRIFT season. Matt Powers in the Need for Speed Nissan S14 takes second place with Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Nissan S13 rounding out the podium in third place.

Round 1: Streets of Long Beach provided fans with action and excitement through the weekend. The debut of new vehicles and new drivers added to the anticipation for the new season. The Driftstream brought live coverage to fans watching at home.

“With any new season comes change, so seeing fresh faces to the podium is a part of that,” says Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The level of driving skill continues to elevate. It is a sign that the 2011 season will be as competitive as ever. I would not be surprised to see more upsets and new faces to the podium.”

Justin Pawlak finds the top of the podium for the very first time in his career. Pawlak remained consistent through the rounds advancing to the Finals against Matt Powers. His consistency paid off and Pawlak was able to secure the victory. The consolation round pitted Daijiro Yoshihara in the Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 against 2009 Formula DRIFT champion, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z.

“I owe it all to the guys at ASD and Falken Tire for this victory. Without them this could not have been possible,” said Justin Pawlak, winner of Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. “This victory feels unreal. I have worked so hard for this and can’t believe I’m on top to start out the season.”

The 2011 Pro Championship season continues for Round 2: Road to the Championship at Road Atlanta on May 6-7. Tickets are available to purchase online now.

2011 Pro Championship Standings