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ORANGE, CA – The 2014 Formula Drift season kicks off a new season with a new beginning for the A’PEXi Racing team with seasoned D1GP driver, Kuniaki Takahashi behind the wheel of the Lexus SC430. During this offseason, the crew was at work making changes to the SC430 machine that were geared towards Takahashi-san’s vehicle settings, including converting the vehicle to right-hand drive to assure the driver acclimation process to be as efficient as possible. Takahashi is known for his aggressive “all out” driving style driving Toyota chassis’ such as the JZX100/ Mark II and his current vehicle in the D1GP series, a Toyota Mark X, he is no stranger to the Lexus SC430.

The twin-turbocharged Lexus SC430 on Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08-R tires put down a couple of practice runs during practice, but unfortunately ran into mechanical issues during the session, and the crew hustled to get the machine back out on track in time for qualifying sessions, however, the limited seat time was not enough to result in a Top 32 qualifying score out of an estimated field of 60 cars. On the following weekend, the team was back out for the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge during the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend, Qualifying in the 11th position, and faced up against 2013 Formula Drift Champion and Yokohama Tire teammate, Michael Essa in his turbocharged BMW 3-series. Though, not able to advance into the Top 8 competition bracket, the potential of the vehicle with Kuniaki Takahashi behind the wheel was witnessed immediately during the tandem Top 16 round, and the team is anticipating a successful 2014 season.

During the back to back competition race weekends we were proud to introduce this year’s team and partners: A’PEXi Racing x Up Garage x Yokohama Tire with Kunny’z, rest assured that the team is hard at work preparing the SC430 to be the dependable and competitive machine that it has lived up to be the past few seasons. In addition, to developing and dialing in the vehicle to Takahashi’s specifications.

We would like to thank all of our 2014 partners for their continued support as the team gears up and prepares for the upcoming Formula Drift Round 2: Road to the Championship event hosted by Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA on May 9-10, 2014.


Formula DRIFT Announces the Return of All 4 Major Tire Partners and 3 Tire Suppliers


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Formula DRIFT Announces the Return of All 4 Major Tire Partners and 3 Tire Suppliers;
GT Radial Joins Series as Tire Supplier 

Long Beach, Calif. – March 4, 2014 – Formula DRIFT has announced the return of all 4 Major Tire Partners; Achilles, Falken, Hankook and Nitto and returning Tire Suppliers; Kenda, Maxxis and Yokohama. In addition, GT Radial signs on as a new Tire Supplier for the 2014 season.

Formula DRIFT continues to be the proving grounds for tire manufacturers. The extreme conditions created through competitive drifting pushes the limits of the drivers, cars and the tires creating the ultimate performance test for the brands. Current returning tire partners include: Falken Tire (11th season), Hankook Tire (current tire manufacturer champion, 8th season), Nitto Tire (9th season), Achilles (3rd season), Yokohama (3rd season), Maxxis Tire (3rd season) and Kenda (5th season).

“We are proud to have all 4 Major Tire Partners and 3 Tire Suppliers return to the Series and happy to welcome GT Radial for the 2014 season,” said Jim Liaw, President and Co-Founder of Formula DRIFT. “Tires are such an integral part of drifting and the demands that the sport places on the product is high. These are off the shelf products for the everyday consumer and thus have immediate real world application.”

GT Radial will enter the Series with their Champiro SX2 tire, developed for driving enthusiasts who want higher levels of traction, response and driving control in dry and wet conditions. Driving for GT Radial will be back-to-back feeder series champion, Tyler Wolfson.

“As the premier North American professional drifting competition with a very large and growing fan base, Formula DRIFT is an ideal platform for demonstrating the technology and performance of the GT Radial brand to North American drivers, “ said Armand Allaire, vice president of marketing for Giti Tire USA, which markets and sells GT Radial tires in North America.

The 2014 Formula DRIFT season will begin with Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 4-5. For more information visit: www.formuladrift.com and find Formula DRIFT on Instagram @formulad, Facebook www.facebook.com/formuladrift and Twitter @FormulaD.

Formula DRIFT Teams to Drift for First Time During WTCC on Sept. 6-8 at Sonoma Raceway


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Formula DRIFT teams will drift for the first time during a WTCC weekend on September 6-8, 2013 at Sonoma Raceway adding to the long list of appearances for the Series during national and international motorsport events. This will also be the first time in 3 years that Formula DRIFT professional vehicles will return to the venue. Drivers from the Series to participate include Michael Essa, Toshiki Yoshioka, Pat Mordaunt and past Formula DRIFT pro Ryuji Miki.

See full press release below

Yokohama Tire Corporation’s Formula Drift Team To Perform Drift Exhibitions
during the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) Race Weekend at Sonoma
Raceway, September 6-8 Cars will be drifting on will on Yokohama’s new ADVAN
NeovaR AD08 R tires

FULLERTON, CA. – (September 3, 2013) – Yokohama Tire Corporation’s (YTC)
Formula Drift Team will show off the new Advan Neova AD08R in special
demonstrations during the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC),
September 6-8 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California.

“It should feature some high-speed drifting action,” said Matt Johnson,
Yokohama performance marketing supervisor. “This is a great opportunity to
showcase drifting and Yokohama tires to WTCC fans. This is the only WTCC
race this season in the U.S. and the highly competitive global series also
features Yokohama tires.”

YTC’s drifting team is comprised of Michael Essa, driving the GSR Autosport
BMW E46, Toshiki Yoshioka (GTnet Tomei Subaru BRZ) and Pat Mordaunt (A’pexi
Lexus SC430). The drivers will compete on Yokohama’s new ADVAN NeovaR ADO8 R

“Another treat for fans is a special appearance by Ryuji Miki, a former D1
Grand Prix drift champion and Formula D competitor,” said Johnson. “Miki is
flying in from Japan to pilot the A’pexi Lexus SC430 during some of the
demonstrations. He is also competing on AD08 R tires with a Nissan S15
Silvia in Japan’s D1GP series.”

The Yokohama drifting demonstrations will take place at 9 a.m., 12:15 p.m.
and 3:45 p.m. on Friday, September 6; 9:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on
Saturday, September 7; and 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. on Sunday,
September 8.

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing
arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global
manufacturing and sales company of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a
network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire
Corporation is a leader in technology and innovation. The company’s complete
product line includes tires for high-performance, light truck, passenger
car, commercial truck and bus, and off-the-road mining and construction
applications. For more information on Yokohama’s extensive product line,
visit www.yokohamatire.com.

Connect with Yokohama Tire Corporation:

Yokohama is a strong supporter of the tire care and safety guidelines
established by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the National Highway
Transportation and Safety Administration. Details can be found at the “Tire
Safety” section at www.yokohamatire.com.

Round 3: Invasion Results; Michael Essa Takes the Victory


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Long Beach, Calif. – June 1, 2013 – Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro returned to Palm Beach International Raceway for Round 3: Invasion. Michael Essa in the GSR Autosport / Yokohama Tire BMW M3 takes the victory and moves into third place overall in the standings.

Round 3: Invasion returned for the third consecutive season to South Florida to a capacity crowd. The fans were treated to exciting on-track action intermingled with the Slammed Society car show and display of cars from the Targa Trophy.

“South Florida continues to prove to be a viable market with another capacity crowd,” stated Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “The spirit of competition also continues to rise and is at the highest level it has ever been, which has made an amazing season thus far.”

The skies cleared up for the main event day and the crowds flocked to the venue. The technical track featured a fast entry that proved to be a challenge for some of the drivers with many favorites failing to enter the later rounds of competition. The consolation round pitted Robbie Nishida in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Lexus SC300 against Vaughn Gittin in the Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang. After failing to reach the line after a Competition Timeout following mechanical problems from the previous round, Gittin conceded to give Nishida the win and third place. The final battle pitted Michael Essa in the GSR Autosport / Yokohama Tire BMW M3 against returning champion Daigo Saito in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC430, who also won this event last season. The battle was fierce, but Essa took the victory after Saito had a slight error in his chase run. This is Essa’s first Formula DRIFT pro championship podium and victory, which moves him into third place overall in the standings. Saito in the process moves into first place overall with Gittin closely behind him in second place.

“It’s surreal. We started this week with some issues and didn’t qualify well,” said Michael Essa, winner of Round 3: Invasion. “The team put together a solid car and thanks to Yokohama Tire, Bilstein, Garret and the rest of the sponsors we were able to win. We need to keep the momentum going and I can’t wait for the next round.”

For more information visit: www.formuladrift.com

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2013 Standings After Three Rounds
1. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 257 Points
2. Gittin Jr., Vaughn Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR 244 Points
3. Essa, Michael GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 241.50 Points
4. Forsberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z 202 Points
5. Aasbo, Fredric Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC 197.50 Points
6. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 195 Points
7. Moen, Kenneth Lutz Performance / Nexen Tire Nissan 240SX 184 Points
8. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang 182.50 Points
9. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Nissan S14 180.50 Points
10. Bakchis, Aurimas Nexen Tire Nissan S14 166.50 Points
11. Tuerck, Ryan Team Retaks / Maxxis Scion Racing FR-S 150.50 Points
12. Field, Matt CX Racing / Blacktrax Nissan 240SX 144.50 Points
13. Wang, Forrest Get Nuts Labs Nissan 240SX 136.50 Points
14. DeNofa, Chelsea BC Racing BMW 3 Series 130 Points
15. Nishida, Robbie Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 127.50 Points
16. Powers, Matt Nitto Tire / Fatlace Nissan S14 119 Points

Round 3: Invasion Event Results
1. Essa, Michael GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 Winner
2. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 Second Place
3. Nishida, Robbie Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 Third Place

Manufacturers Championship Standings After Three Rounds
1. Ford 426.50 Points
2. Lexus 414.25 Points
3. Nissan 386 Points
4. Scion 379 Points
5. BMW 371.50 Points

Tire Championship Standings After Three Rounds
1. Falken 461 Points
2. Achilles 417.50 Points
3. Nitto 408 Points
4. Hankook 399.50 Points
5. Yokohama 320.50 Points