Rumors of a Falken shake up have been floating around the Formula D paddock for quite some time and Today Falken finally announced their 2009 plans. Gone from Falken are Taka Aono and Hiro Sumida. Replacing them is Dai Yoshihara who will be leaving Rhys Millen Racing and taking over Hiro Sumida’s Lexus IS350 while Tyler McQuarrie will be leaving the Hankook/JIC team and piloting an 350Z convertble powered by an Infiniti daytona prototype V8.
Vaughn Gittin JR., Darren McNamera, and Calvin Wan all remain with Team Falken for 2009. Vaughn Gittin will be behind the wheel of the yet-to-be-revealed 2010 Ford Mustang. Darren McNamera will remain in his V8 powered Saturn Sky and Calvin Wan will pilot a Nissan Silvia S15.
Fun Fact: The S15 that Calvin will be driving is the very same S15 that Dai Yoshihara drove for the Pac Rim/Rockstar team back in 2007. Falken recently purchased the S15 from Pac Rim and got it battle ready for ’09.
Check out Falken’s Press Release:
November 3rd, 2008
Supporting drifting since 2003, Falken has seen many drivers, teams and product manufacturers come and go within the sport. Proud to be the single longest standing brand and team in professional U.S. drifting, Falken Tire is pleased to announce the 2009 Falken Drift lineup.
The 2009 team will prove to be the most exciting, hardest charging and all-star clad team ever assembled in North America. Returning to the Falken team will be Vaughn Gittin Jr. in an all new 2010 Ford Mustang GT, Darren McNamara in a high-powered V8 Saturn Sky and Calvin Wan in a freshly assembled Nissan Silvia S15. To round out the five driver works team, new additions to Team Falken are Daijiro Yoshihara driving a lightened and completely rebuilt Lexus IS350 pushing over 500hp and Tyler McQuarrie piloting an Infiniti daytona prototype V8 powered Nissan 350Z convertible. With such a diverse group of talented drivers and driving styles, watching the Falken team grow into an unstoppable force will no doubt be 2009’s hot topic in professional drifting.
Driver Profile and Highlights:
Vaughn Gittin Jr.
Hometown – Glen Burnie, MD
Age – 28
Years Drifting – 7
2008 – Formula D Round 7 Champion, 8th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2007 – D1 Grand Prix World Champion, 7th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2006 – 4th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2005 – D1 Grand Prix U.S. vs. Japan Champion, 4th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2004 – 10th Place Overall in Formula D Series
Hometown – San Francisco, CA
Age – 30
Years Drifting – 6
2008 – 1st Place, Formula D Team Drift Overall
2007 – 2nd Place, Formula D Team Drift – San Jose
2005 – Formula D Round 4 Champion
2004 – 3rd Place, Formula D Infineon
Hometown – Cork Buttevant, Ireland
Age – 24
Years Drifting – 6
2008 – 12th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2007 – 9th Place Overall in Formula D Series, 2007 Formula D Rookie of the Year
2006 – ProDrift Series Champion
Hometown – Tokyo, Japan
Age – 29
Years Drifting – 10
2008 – 4th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2007 – Formula D Round 4 Champion, Formula D Round 6 Champion, 3rd Place Overall in Formula D Series
2006 – Formula D Round 7 Champion, 5th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2005 – 5th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2004 – 2nd Place Overall in Formula D Series
Hometown – Danville, CA
Age – 30
Years Drifting – 4
2008 – 2nd Place – Formula D New Jersey
2007 – 4th Place – Formula D Irwindale
2006 – 3rd Place – Formula D Chicago, 12th Place Overall in Formula D Series
2005 – 11th Place Overall in Formula D Series
Keeping each of the aforementioned drivers and their vehicles firmly planted in the perfect drift will be Falken’s Azenis RT-615. The 615, hugely popular among drift, autocross and road race participants, has time after time proven to outperform many “Japan Only/Non-DOT” competition tires.