Taka Aono is a pro driver in Formula DRIFT, the premier professional drifting series in the United States. He competes in a 1986 Toyota Corolla GTS, known among enthusiasts by its chassis code: AE86. He has been drifting competitively since 2003.
The progression of professional drifting in recent years has resulted in vehicles of enormous horsepower and build quality, and a shift in judging criteria that rewards high speeds and close proximity in tandem rounds. The general consensus among drivers and fans alike is the AE86, with its short wheelbase and low horsepower output, is no longer competitive in professional level drifting.
Taka has competed in every round of Formula DRIFT since its inception in 2004, and he has done so in his AE86.
The Feature Documentary premieres online March 31, 2014.
Automotive journalist Chris Harris recently had a short lived opportunity to test drive the highly anticipated Toyota GT 86 on a track in Spain. They put the 86 through the paces to find out whether or not it’ll drift. Most of you already know the answer to this after seeing Ken Gushi hammer on the Scion FR-S in Japan but be sure to check out the Chris’ take on the new Toyota.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the debut of Ken Gushi‘s new car this year so be sure to get your tickets to Round 1: Streets of Long Beach to see it in action!
CLICK HERE to view the video.
Congratulations to Ken Gushi for his 2nd place overall finish in the Toyota Pro / Celebrity Race coming in 1st place over all the other Pros. Gushi battled through a 30 second handicap that the “Pro” drivers are given from the start of the race and weaved his way past the other Pros and Celebrity drivers as he closed the gap on winner actor William “Bill” Fichtner. Gushi looked good in the 10 lap race and had the best lap time of the day 1:46:429.
Other celebrities included: MMA fighter Tito Ortiz, Kevin Jonas (Jonas Brothers), and actor Djimon Hounsou. Other Pros included Scion Racing driver Chris Rado and previous celebrity winners Frankie Muniz, and Brian Austin Green. Toyota will donate $5000 to the Racing for Kids charity and an additional $5000 to the winner’s charity.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is scheduled to be broadcast on the Speed Channel on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. EDT and will be rebroadcast after that. (See local listings or www.speedtv.com for times.)
(podium image provided by Ron Bermudez)