Formula DRIFT Announces Official Partnership with Ford for the 2013 Pro Championship Season

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Long Beach, Calif. – October 11, 2012 – Ford is expanding its involvement in professional drifting competition by becoming an official partner of Formula DRIFT and the 2013 Formula DRIFT championship.

“Our involvement with Formula DRIFT is not new, but we are taking it to the next level with this announcement,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “Enthusiasts can now see our great Mustangs on the track with great drivers like Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Justin Pawlak, and they’ll get a better chance to interact with our stars as well as our exciting production vehicles off track through consumer outreach at all the events. Formula DRIFT is a major part of our action motorsports program targeting new audiences for Ford.”

Ford has actively supported the professional drifting efforts of Team Falken Tire and drivers including Gittin, Pawlak and others since 2005. Two-time D1 Grand Prix champion Gittin won the 2010 Formula DRIFT championship at the wheel of a Mustang GT and leads the 2012 series going into this weekend’s finale. Pawlak, the 2011 Formula DRIFT series runner-up, won the first two rounds in 2012 and currently sits fourth – 70 points behind Gittin.

Initially popularized by fans of import sport compacts, professional drifting has taken root with a younger, more active audience that’s interested in nontraditional, emerging motorsports. Formula DRIFT estimates 87 percent of its fan base is 18 to 34 years old. Ford involvement in Formula DRIFT is a significant part of the company’s outreach to this group that might consider a Ford vehicle like the Fiesta, Focus, Mustang or Raptor.

Drifting is one of many nontraditional approaches Ford is using to reach new customers including social network conversations, soliciting user-generated content through programs like Fiesta Movement and Social.Ford.com, cross-platform marketing programs like Random Acts of Fusion, and the Octane Academy experiential program featuring Gittin, Ken Block, Brian Deegan and Tanner Foust.

“Ever since Ford came into the series competitively in 2005, we have seen the power of what a factory-backed effort can do,” said Ryan Sage, co-founder/vice-president, Formula DRIFT. “Now we are even more excited to have them on as an official partner for the final event of the year and into 2013.”

The finale of the 2012 season of the Formula DRIFT championship is taking place this weekend at Irwindale Speedway (east of Los Angeles) on October 12-13, 2012 for the final event of its ninth season. The Mustangs of Gittin and Pawlak are both in contention for the championship. The Formula DRIFT championship event will be broadcast live on www.FormulaD.com/live Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUKPP01Kx-U&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Rhys Millen is Victorious at Formula DRIFT Round 6: After Dark

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Rhys Millen is Victorious at Formula DRIFT Round 6: After Dark;
Championship Will Come Down to Final Event of the Season

Long Beach, Calif. – August 26, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Round 6: After Dark. Rhys Millen in the RMR / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe takes the victory and moves up to third place in the overall points standings leading into the final event of the season.

Round 6: After Dark brought drifting back to Sin City and treated fans to a night spectacle that included the Vegas ProAm championship, Slammed Society car show, Targa Trophy display of vehicles and more. The Driftstream saw an estimated 150,000 viewers in a 24-hour period.

“The Las Vegas round of competition is always one of the most action-packed, but with a completely new course it challenged the drivers and excited the fans,“ said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Each year we have seen an increase in attendance and have accommodated with the addition of extra grand stands. This was a very exciting event to lead into the championship round in October. This was another tight championship chase with three former champions in the top five.”

A new track configuration was added to the event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway giving an extra challenge for the drivers to adjust to the new course along with the weather conditions of the desert. Robbie Nishida in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Tires Lexus SC300 faced points leader Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang in a battle for third place. Gittin took the win and secures his point lead in the chase for the championship. The final battle pitted second place qualifier, Rhys Millen, fresh off his record setting victory at Pikes Peak in the same Hyundai Genesis Coupe that he competed in at this event, against the number one qualifier, Frederic Aasbo in the Need for Speed / Hankook Scion tC. On his lead run, Aasbo met the wall to give the advantage to Millen. On the second run Millen kept a consistent line to take the victory moving him to third place overall and within striking distance of the point leaders.

“It was an incredible victory for our entire crew at RMR, for Hyundai, Pulse and Hankook. To come here from Pikes Peak in the exact same car in a different configuration and in a different driving style and to do it back to back,” said Rhys Millen, winner of Round 6: After Dark. “This is a true drivers course and suits the car well and we were flawless all day long. Unfortunately, some of our competitors gifted us a couple wins, but at the end of the day we put the pressure on them to run deep and fast.”

The chase for the championship is as tight as it has ever been and will be decided at the final event of the season. The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship Round 7: Title Fight on October 12-13 at Irwindale Speedway. Tickets are on-sale now and can be purchased on the Formula DRIFT website.

Vaughn Gittin Wins His Second Consecutive Event at Round 5: Throwdown

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Vaughn Gittin Wins His Second Consecutive Event at Round 5: Throwdown;
Takes The Lead in the Pro Championship Points Standings

Long Beach, Calif. – July 21, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to the Pacific Northwest at Evergreen Speedway for Round 5: Throwdown. Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Tire Ford Mustang takes his second consecutive victory and the lead in the Pro Championship Points Standings.

Round 5: Throwdown continued the success of the season to a capacity crowd at Evergreen Speedway. The Driftstream saw an estimated 175,000 viewers in a 24-hour period.

“This has been one of the most exciting events of the season,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The chase for the championship heats up as we head into the final two events of the season and it is still anyone’s to take with only 62 points separating the top 5 drivers.”

The action on the track showcased the true competition of the Series with many close battles and upsets throughout the event. Ken Gushi in the Greddy Performance Scion FR-S faced Hankook teammate Rhys Millen in the RMR Hyundai Genesis Coupe in a very close battle. Millen took the victory for third place and his first podium appearance of the season. The Finals pitted Ryan Tuerck in the Retaks Nissan 240SX against Vaughn Gittin, Jr. After a tightly fought battle Gittin took the win and the lead in both the Pro Championship points standings and in the Tires.com Triple Crown, while Tuerck moves up to fifth place overall.

“I am just so pumped right now. We have been working so hard and have overcome the minor issues we had earlier this year and I owe this to my team and all my partners,” said Vaughn Gittin, Jr., winner of Round 5: Throwdown. “It just feels so good to re-focus and drive my heart out and stand on top of the podium!”

The competition is as close as it has ever been with only two remaining events remaining and the championship still up for grabs. The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship Round 6: After Dark on August 24 – 25 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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.