Starting in 2015 Falken Tire will no longer be a team owner in Formula Drift which effectively disbands “Team Falken” in the sport. This ends a relationship with Formula Drift that has pretty much spanned the series existence. Falken intends to remain a part of drifting through sponsorships but that will be the extent of their involvement. In the latest episode of “Controlled Chaos” from GT Channel, members of Team Falken reflect on their time in the sport, how Falken and drifting changed their lives, and their plans for the future. The episode provides some rare insight into the personal lives of some of the Team Falken drivers and sheds a light of realism on just how hard it is to make it in this sport and how important it is to them.
In the case of Justin “JTP” Pawlak, he explains that before drifting he wasn’t on the best path in his life and was involved in things that got him into trouble. Once he fell in love with drifting and then went on to join Team Falken his life changed completely. He went from getting into trouble to now owning a house and having his own family. Dai Yoshihara explains that he has some serious decisions to make as he was recently married and is himself an expectant father. Dai says that drifting/driving is the only thing he feels he knows how to do well so he will do what he can to remain involved in the sport but at the same time has to make sure he makes the best choices for his family.
This is a very real, honest, compelling look at just how much Falken has influenced the sport, their drivers, and their team. You may need a tissue for this one! Watch the full episode below.
If you didn’t hear the news yet, Dai Yoshihara will be moving from his V8 powered Nissan S13 to a Subaru BRZ for the 2014 Formula Drift season. At SEMA he debuted his new car complete with a special version of the recently released Rocket Bunny Ver. 2 widebody kit. Although when it was mentioned that the car would be a blank canvas it was meant quite literally as the car was totally white! Blanco!
The reason for this is that Falken Tire is turning to future owners of Forza Motorsport 5 to design Dai’s new livery. Players are to create a livery design in Forza Motorsport 5, take a screen shot of their design then submit that shot to Falken Tire’s Facebook pageand from there a winner will be chosen. The contest will start during the last week of November (just after the Xbox One launch and Forza Motorsport 5’s release) and run until January 31st.
It is not said if there will be a prize awarded to the person who creates the winning design, but hey bragging rights for something as big as this may just be prize enough for many.
Good luck designers!
Falken Tire Invites FORZA Motorsport 5 Players to Design Livery on Team Falken’s Formula Drift Subaru BRZ
Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (Nov. 8). – Falken Tire, a manufacturer of high performance on- and off-road tires, will continue its strong relationship with Microsoft in anticipation of the launch of Forza Motorsport 5 by conducting a special design contest for its newest Formula Drift entry.
Currently the best-rated videogame racing franchise of the past 10 years, the new Forza Motorsport 5 game is slated to be released on the “all-in-one games and entertainment system” – according to Microsoft officials – the new Xbox One. In anticipation of the November 22 launch, Forza Motorsport 5 will be at the heart of a nine-week promotional effort Falken Tire has set in motion beginning late November. The contest will encourage gamers and Falken Tire customers from around the world to submit their design for the new Subaru BRZ competition car to be driven by 2011 Formula D Champion Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara for the 2014 drift season.
“Falken Tire is again reaching out to the Forza online community to ask people to create their own one-of-a-kind Falken livery for Team Falken’s new Subaru BRZ,” said Nick Fousekis, Falken Director of Motorsports Marketing. “We are asking players to submit their Forza 5 Motorsport screenshot-based designs to Falken Tire’s Facebook page.”
“The winning design will live on Dai’s Subaru BRZ for the entire season,” declared Jonathon Bradford, Team Falken’s Formula Drift Supervisor. “Being a part of this very important network of Forza Motorsport players is key to building awareness of our brand as well as the Formula Drift Championship,” he stressed.“We suspect there’s a very strong crossover among fans and participants of both sports, and they’re also likely Falken customers.”
Added Fousekis: “We are pleased Discount Tire will return to co-sponsor Dai’s new BRZ for the 2014 season, and with SPD Metal Works handling the building of the car, Dai has set the bar high for his championship effort. I know he’s also excited – as we all are – about having a special look designed by a Forza Motorsport 5 player.”
Working in conjunction with Turn 10 Studios, the contest will begin during the final week of November and run until the 31st of January 2014. Official Falken and Falken Sponsor Logos must be integrated into the submitted designs, with visibility from all corners of the car (quarter panels, and the center of front and rear bumpers). In addition, Falken’s 2014 partner sponsors’ logos must be included, which are: Discount Tire; Sam’s Autoland; BC; Sparco; SPD Metal Works; and Mobil 1. In addition, a “creative interpretation of the traditional ‘Falken Scallops’ livery should be included,” according to Fousekis.
This weekend is the final round of the 2013 Formula Drift season and it all kicked off yesterday as all the teams and vendors rolled into Irwindale Speedway to set up. Yesterday was also when all the drivers got some much needed practice time on track so that they could sort out their setups for the weekend. Things seemed to go as planned for all the drivers; except Dai Yoshihara who blew his engine during the first half of practice. One of his rods went straight through the block, leaving track officials to literally pick up the pieces. If you follow our Instagram (@MotorworldHype) then you saw some of the carnage.
As soon as it was all cleaned up things went right back underway and I was trackside getting some tasty track shots, which can be seen by clicking the gallery links below. Stay tuned for more Formula Drift Round 7 coverage from Irwindale here, on our twitter feed @MotorworldHype, Facebook (Facebook.com/MotorworldHype), Google+, and Instagram (@MotorworldHype).
If you can’t make it to Irwindale then you can watch the livestream of the entire event at FormulaDrift.com/Live
The time has come folks. It has all come down to this! Starting tomorrow (October 11th 2013) is the “Final Fight” of the 2013 Formula Drift season at “The House of Drift” AKA Irwindale Speedway. If you don’t have your tickets you better move your mouse as fast as you can to the links below to pick some up! Irwindale almost always sells out completely!
The speedway will be packed with people who want to know who will emerge the 2013 Formula Drift champion! Can points leader Michael Essa hang on to win his first title despite Irwindale not being kind to him in the past? Will Chris “The Force” Forsberg (whom is only 15 points behind Essa) put enough pressure on the points leader to take the win? Or will one of the dark horses like Fredric Aasbo come from the shadows and earn his first championship? All those questions will be answered by Saturday night!
Here is the info!
WHO: Formula Drift
WHAT: Round 7 “Final Fight”
WHEN: October 11th 2pm-10pm & October 12th 2pm-10pm
WHERE: Irwindale Speedway at 500 Speedway Drive, Irwindale, CA 91706
WHY: Because DRIFTCAR
HOW MUCH: Depends on where you sit! Click HERE for tickets! Expect to pay between $10 & $15 to park.
Just as the headline says the man in the glasses Michael Essa won his second event this season by taking the top spot at Formula Drift Round 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Essa defeated the likes of Joon Maeng, Toshiki Yoshioka, Fredric Aasbo, and even Chris “The Force” Forsberg to make it to the finals against Matt Field! Yes, Matt freaking Field! Mr. Field was on a mission all day and it paid off in the form of his first Formula Drift podium finish.
Chris Forsberg defeated Patrick Mordaunt (who also had a strong performance this weekend and even beat Vaughn Gittin Jr!) to take third place.
So once again this is the official podium for Formula Drift Round 6:
1st place: Michael Essa
2nd place: Matt Field
3rd place: Chris Forsberg
Michael Essa is now leading in the overall Championship points battle with 489.5 points with Chris Forsberg only 15.5 points behind. Realistically every driver from 6th place (Justin Pawlak) up to 3rd ( Fredric Aasbo) has a shot at the 2013 Championship.
With only one round left, the finals at Irwindale are shaking up to be one heck of a battle! Stay tuned for our coverage!
Ah, Formula Drift… It seems that no matter how one-sided things might seem at the beginning of the season, there always seems to be some crazy round that totally mixes up the championship points battle. Enter round 5 at Evergreen Speedway in Seattle, Washington.
The first shocker was Daigo “The Ninja” Saito losing in the “Top 32″ to Toshiki Yoshioka. If that didn’t blow a big enough hole in the point race, later on Vaughn Gittin Jr. lost to Odi Bakchis in an epic battle. Then Darren McNamara fell to Mike Essa!
All of these instances, paired with great driving allowed points contender Chris Forsberg to get a win and become points leader. Mike Essa took second place after falling to Forsberg and Fredric Aasbo defeated Odi Bakchis to capture third.
Now Chris Forsberg carries a 1.5 point lead over Mike Essa who himself is only 1.5 points ahead of Daigo Saito. From that point on the points gap gets much bigger. However, the next round of competition will be in Texas, a familiar location but a whole new track that none of the drivers are used to. It should be exciting to see how that will shake up the fight!
Miss Formula Drift over the weekend? Then you missed the series’ return to “The Wall” AKA Wall Speedway in New Jersey. Wall was notorious for its suspension-crushing transition that carried cars from the significantly angled bank to its completely flat infield. Note the “was” in the previous sentence. This year Formula Drift elected to adopt a new course layout for Wall which is equally challenging but more forgiving on the drift machines.
So who mastered the Wall? Well, Daigo “The Ninja” Saito obviously! Daigo took down Taka Aono, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Fredric Aasbo, and Darren McNamara before facing his nemesis Justin “JTP” Pawlak in the final. Justin didn’t quite have enough to take down the Ninja and Saito claimed victory. Chris Forsberg took down McNamara for the last spot on the podium.
Saito’s win not only kept him first place in the points but Vaughn’s early exit only increased Daigo’s point lead that much more going into Round 5. Vaughn Gittin and Mike Essa (second and third respectively) are still very much alive in the championship fight. In fact with three rounds left many drivers are still mathematically alive. If Daigo wants to repeat as champion he will need to make sure his ninja sword is especially sharp!
While the Indy Cars were pounding the pavement in Detroit, Formula Drift was slaying tires at Palm Beach Florida. This round was one full of surprises and controversy. Surprises came in the fact that neither Matt Powers, Ken Gushi, and Walker Wilkerson made the top 32. Some found it surprising that Tony Angelo did make the top 32. I say the man was due after a long string of bad luck.
However the biggest surprise (and pleasant one) was Mike Essa finally getting his first win! Essa took down Taka Aono, Tyler McQuarrie, Chris Forsberg, Robbie Nishida, and finally Daigo “The Ninja” Saito to earn his victory. It was refreshing to see a new face on top of the podium and amazing to see Essa take down such a daunting gauntlet of competitors. Hopefully we will see Essa earn more victories in the near future. Daigo Saito earned second place and Robbie Nishida nabbed third.
As far as controversy, there were many calls made by the judges this round that seemed questionable to the fans watching at the event and live on the driftstream. In fact, there were so many controversial calls that Wrecked Magazine has their readers vote on the battle they feel needs clarification. At the end, one of the Formula Drift judges will guest blog to explain the calls made in the most voted on battle.
Although it seems that at this point voting would just be a formality. If you have been following the comments on Wrecked and other drift websites you will easily find that the most talked about battle was between Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Daigo Saito in the final four. It was a one more time battle and it started with Daigo leading. Right as both drivers entered the second transition Vaughn Gittin plowed in to Saito. Vaughn was deemed at fault for the collision and Saito got the win but Saito’s car was not the same after that battle and he fell to Essa in the final battle. Some fans are going as far as to say that Vaughn intentionally hit Daigo to keep him from winning and extending a points lead over Vaughn from which he would not be able to recover.
I admit it looks pretty bad but I personally don’t think it was intentional. However, this is Vaughn’s second incident in a row in which he plows through (or over) his competitor. Even J-Rod (announcer) seemed annoyed at Vaughn.
Last weekend as I fought for the best shots I could get at Formula Drift Long Beach I was at one point startled by a loud buzzing sound which seemed to come from overhead. I looked up and I saw what I could only describe as a giant hovering robo-spider in the sky above me. Then, to my surprise it followed the sliding cars below, hovering just 10 to 20 feet above them as they sped by.
It was startling and awesome all at the same time. I continued to watch the machine work until it eventually swiftly returned back to the photo pit area and landed safely, waiting for the next run so it could take to the skies once again. This thing was awesome. It looked evil, sounded alien in nature, but had complete precision in its task. Upon further inspection I could see that the drone was made almost completely from carbon fiber, even down to the props on each of the 8 electric copter engines. The drone also utilized a Canon 5D Mark III housed in a cradle underneath.
I was so fascinated by it that I decided to find the “pilot” or “pilots” if you will to learn what they were up to. Turns out the drone was owned and operated by Kyle Dorosz of Aerial Imagery Works based in Detroit, MI. Kyle was hired by Formula Drift to get aerial shots of drift battles to use for their television show. Kyle told me that he occasionally gets hired by parties such as this to film sporting events and the like.
The particular drone that Kyle was using at Formula Drift actually requires a two man team. Kyle himself pilots the drone while his associate uses a separate remote to control servos attached to the camera cradle to pan and tilt making sure the action is kept in frame. The camera man is able to do this via a VR style headset which wirelessly picks up the video feed from the 5D.
In addition to filming for clients Kyle also builds the drones himself and makes them available for sale. The drone on hand at Formula Drift has a price tag of $35,000. Which sounds astronomical but the Canon 5D Mark III, video headset, two remotes, charger, and pilot training are all included in the price. There are also smaller, lighter less expensive models available that utilize smaller cameras (GoPro, etc.).
You would think his most common clients are from the Hollywood set but according to Kyle his most common customers are law enforcement agencies. They use the drones for tactical purposes, such as surveying an area before sending in a S.W.A.T. team.
Kyle says the ceiling is technically 10,000 feet but due to FAA regulations, he usually has to keep the ceiling down to 400ft or so. The battery will last about 10 minutes per flight before needing to be charged again. The drone also has several safety features. It can stay airborne even if three out of 8 engines fail and if the battery gets too low to sustain flight an on board computer takes over and uses an auto pilot paired with GPS to send the drone back to the exact point of its last take off.
Maybe we need to invest in one of these drones for MotorworldHype. It would sure beat getting pelted with tire bits while choking on smoke!
If you want to see the drone in action check out the short video piece I did below.
When Formula Drift comes to Long Beach, its a pretty big deal. It is the first round of the season, it marks the debut of new teams, sponsors, drivers, and it also sets the tone for the rest of the season. Its also right in my backyard (kind of) so I always try to do my due diligence when it comes to covering this event for you all.
With the silly season over, new cars revealed, and the track ready the talk of the weekend was Justin “JTP” Pawlak. He was one of the few drivers to remain in (basically) the same car as last year and he has also won Long Beach the last two years in a row. Falken Tire was already anticipating their driver turning the weekend into a three-peat. However hopes of that were nearly dashed when JTP made an uncharacteristic mistake in Friday qualifying and had a bad shunt into the tires and wall at the beginning of Long Beach’s infamous sweeper.
The impact nearly destroyed the front end of JTP’s Falken Tire Ford Mustang but luckily his team was able to get the car back together in time to make another qualifying run. Despite the damage JTP managed to qualify 23rd and get into the big show. Unfortunately the show ended for JTP when his Drift Alliance brother Ryan Tuerck managed to take him down in the Top 16 which blew the competition wide open. With JTP out it was anyone’s game. Except for Tuerck who like JTP was taken out by a Drift Alliance member, this time Chris Forsberg. Forsberg fell to the same fate when Vaughn Gittin Jr. took him down in the Final 4. This sent 2011 champion Vaughn to the final to face none other than his main rival of that year Dai Yoshihara.
Unlike JTP, Dai was having a great weekend. He remained in a familiar car and due to his confidence in his machine and his team giving him a great set up Dai managed to qualify first. After that there was no stopping him as he took down Tyler McQuarrie, Matt Powers, Fredric Aasbo, and finally Chelsea DeNofa to make it to the finals.
After a heated battle Dai Yoshihara bested Vaughn Gittin Jr. to win the round and complete a perfect weekend (1st qualifier, and the win). During the podium ceremony Dai said that with his momentum he will “definitely go for the championship”. Watch out guys, Dai has officially begun his mission.
If you want to check out our photo galleries just click the red links below.