This year at Formula Drift Irwindale we wanted to do more than the typical gallery and wrap up coverage that we’re all used to. We wanted to do something different but we weren’t sure what exactly that would be. Then we saw an article from our friends at SpeedHunters titled “Drifting Is Not A Motorsport” and it reminded us of the question of Drifting’s identity which has been controversial since Formula Drift gained popularity.
Is drifting a motorsport? Is it not a motorsport? Does the label help or hurt drifting? We figured there was no right or wrong answer but there are answers. We thought the best people to pose this question to are Formula Drift drivers. How would someone who’s life revolves around drifting see it? Check out the video below to see what a few Formula Drift drivers such as Ken Gushi, Tyler McQuarrie, and Dai Yoshihara think about labeling drifting as a motorsport.
After watching the video let us know what you think! Do you think drifting is a motorsport? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments or tweet to us at @MotorworldHype.
After a long season of drifting all across the country and the world the 2015 Formula Drift season officially came to a close at the place where American drifting pretty much began. Not only did the final round of the season take place over the weekend but quite possibly the last drifting event to ever be held at Irwindale Speedway or “The House Of Drift” as it came to be known. If you saw our live stream post you probably read all the reasons why this was likely one of the most important weekends of drifting ever.
Fredric Aasbo came into the weekend with an incredibly comfortable lead in both the Pro Championship and the (first ever) World Championship. In fact all Aasbo needed to do was qualify and win in his first battle of the top 32 and he would be a mathematical lock for both titles. In case you are wondering why Aasbo would be able to lock in the World Championship at Irwindale, it was a direct result of Formula Drift having to cancel the final World Championship round originally to take place in China. With that round off the schedule Irwindale became the final World Championship round. To make a long story short Aasbo qualified (5th) and won his first top 32 battle against Kristaps Bluss to win both titles. However, as joyous as that was for Fredric it was hardly the most exciting part of the weekend.
There were several pretty shocking and surprising moments and developments that transpired over just Saturday. First was Fredric Aasbo driving like a man possessed. I completely expected Aasbo to do what he needed to do to win his Championships. However, I didn’t expect him to really go beyond that as he was slated to face Daigo Saito in the Top 16. For context, Saito has won at Irwindale every year since he has entered the series back in 2012. The man has simply never lost a battle at The House Of Drift… That is until this weekend. Yes, fresh after winning two championships Aasbo ended Daigo’s Irwindale win streak! This blew my expectations for the event wide open. I had Saito as the winner of Irwindale pegged but it was not to be.
Aasbo went on to win the round, thus putting a stamp on is stellar season. Although the evening’s battles showed the sold out crowd what they could expect for the 2016 season as several drivers really came into their own at Irwindale since most of them had nothing to lose. Matt Field has been killing it all season but he really became a force to be reckoned with at Irwindale. He battled so hard against Odi Bakchis in the top 16 that his tires literally caught fire! He was ok though but it was a spectacular sight.
Ken Gushi put on quite an impressive performance as well as he fought hard (even through some contact) to make it all the way to the final battle against the 2015 champ, Aasbo. Gushi put up a respectable fight but was having some car issues which prevented him from giving it his all. Gushi fought Aasbo for the Pro championship all year and nearly had it were it not for a less than stellar performance in Long Beach. Even Aasbo himself pegged Gushi to win the 2016 championship. After watching Gushi’s performance all year, especially his Irwindale run, I am inclined to agree with Aasbo. Rounding out the top 3 with the 3rd podium spot was the always impressive Forrest Wang.
Well there you have it. Aasbo is your 2015 Formula Drift Pro and World Champion and Gushi is literally “the future”. Stay tuned for our official gallery and a few more stories from Irwindale!
Formula Drift had quite the event in Texas over the weekend. The 6th round of the pro 1 championship and 7th round of the world championship seemed to be riddled with controversy and surprises. We’ll start with some surprises. A few seasoned veterans were taken out early by privateer drivers. For example, Tyler McQuarrie fell to Kristaps Bluss and his V8 powered BMW in the top 32. James Evans in the Sikky 350Z managed to move on past Vaughn Gittin Jr but that was mostly due to Vaughn having an argument with a wall, and losing. Either way, its pretty shocking to see names like McQuarrie and Gittin go out that early.
It was when the top 16 started that things got really crazy. It seems that there was more OMT calls in this event than in any other event in the history of Formula Drift. The guys at Wrecked Magazine are still working out the math on that but safe to stay there was a ton of OMT (One More Time) calls where some felt that there shouldn’t have been. This caused the event to go on much longer than anticipated as the OMT calls continued into the final four which came down to Ken Gushi vs Daigo Saito and Chris Forsberg vs Masashi Yokoi.
Gushi managed to defeat Saito (no easy task) to move on to the final and Yokoi (a new crowd favorite) defeated the reigning champ Chris Forsberg. Gushi and Yokoi battled hard but it was Yokoi who came out on top. Forsberg managed to nab 3rd spot on the podium, landing some decent points.
Fredric Aasbo still has a very comfortable points lead going into the final round at Irwindale in October but he still has more than a few contenders. It should be exciting to see how it all shakes out!
Did you check out the live stream of Formula Drift Seattle over the weekend? What a crazy event! There was rain on and off making track conditions super unpredictable and the battles were nuts! There was even a fair share of car carnage when Tyler McQuarrie had a literal run in with the wall during a battle with Justin Pawlak. It was all pretty exciting to watch. In the end though, it was Fredric Aasbo who once again made it to the top of the podium by defeating Alec Hohnadell in the final battle. Justin Pawlak’s car held together after his rough battle with McQuarrie and managed a 3rd place podium finish.
Aasbo’s win gives him a pretty big lead in the points, especially considering that his closest competition Ryan Tuerck failed to make it out of Top 32. With only two rounds left Tuerck really needs to step his game up if he wants a shot at the 2015 Pro Championship title. So, to wrap up the podium once more it was Fredric Aasbo getting the win with Alec Hohnadell in second place, and Justin Pawlak taking third.
Here are the top 5 Pro Championship points standings after round 5:
1st: Fredric Aasbo -373 points
2nd: Ryan Tuerck -297 points
3rd: Odi Bakchis -293 points
4th: Ken Gushi -264 points
5th: Chris Forsberg -261 points
The next round in the Formula Drift Championship will be in Fort Worth, Texas at Texas Motor Speedway. Expect any and all challengers for the Championship to go completely HAM as time is running out for the 2015 season!
Do you know what is harder than drifting? Drifting in the freakin rain! While typically a crowd pleasing occurrence, drifting in the rain without spinning out is extremely difficult. Throw in the pressure of having judges watch your performance while competing for a championship and the difficulty is increased exponentially. Yet, that is exactly what many drivers had to deal with over the weekend at Round 4 of Formula Drift in New Jersey at Wall Speedway. It was definitely a battle of attrition but it was Fredric Aasbo who came out on top after defeating Dean Kearny in the final battle. This is the second year in a row that Aasbo has earned victory in New Jersey. Tuerck earned third place thanks to his 9th qualifying spot. This podium definitely tightens up the points race, especially with defending champ Chris Forsberg bowing out early with a defeat to Odi Bakchis in the Top 16. Below is your official Formula Drift New Jersey Podium and current top 5 pro championship points standings.
Formula Drift Round 4 “The Gauntlet” New Jersey Results:
1st: Fredric Aasbo
2nd: Dean Kearney
3rd: Ryan Tuerck
Formula Drift 2015 Pro Championship Standings:
1st: Ryan Tuerck – 275pts
2nd: Odi Bakchis – 274pts
3rd: Fredric Aasbo – 268pts
4th: Ken Gushi – 228pts
5th: Chris Forsberg – 225pts
This weekend Formula Drift returned to Florida at a brand new venue in Orlando Speedworld. Many didn’t know what to expect from this new track and this weekend we got the answer: rain and fire. In the days leading up to the event the skies over the track opened up and poured onto the venue which cut practice short for some drivers who weren’t lucky enough to get out while the skies were clear. Once the event hit on Saturday the theme was fire and lots of it as several cars burst into flames including reigning champion Chris Forsberg. Forsberg’s car caught on fire during his final four battle against Ken Gushi. Forsberg won the battle but the fire was so bad that he had to use the cockpit fire suppression system which caused technical problems with his cars electronics forcing him to bow out of the final battle against Ryan Tuerck, handing Tuerck the win. Gushi’s number one qualifying spot guaranteed him third place and his second podium of the year. The official event results and top 5 standings are below. If you want to see all the craziness that happened this round check out FormulaDrift.com/Live and hit the “on demand” button to watch the event!
Formula Drift Round 3 Uncharted Territory Results:
1st: Ryan Tuerck
2nd: Chris Forsberg
3rd: Ken Gushi
Current Top 5 Points Standings:
1st: Odi Bakchis (223 points)
2nd: Ryan Tuerck (208 points)
3rd: Chris Forsberg (189 points)
4th: Ken Gushi (173 points)
5th: Fredric Aasbo (162 points)
Usually, when a OEM introduces a new car to their line up the occasional is marked with pomp and circumstance in the form of a big event at some even bigger auto show with lights and cameras. Scion tends to do things differently. To celebrate their upcoming new models the iM and the iA Scion invited a group of industry influencers, car crews, and media out to the Toyota mothership campus for a private but casual car show. Knowing that many influencers enjoy various types of cars Scion even encouraged owners of classic cars, low riders, and exotic cars to come out. How cool is that? Even cooler was the line up of food trucks serving up some pretty delicious fare.
A few aftermarket staple companies were on hand as well like GReddy and TEIN. Formula Drift drivers Ken Gushi and Ryan Tuerck made an appearance and most importantly attendees had a chance to get up close and personal with the new Scion iA and iM. I was lucky enough to get invited to the event thanks our friends at MotorMavens so of course I brought my trusty camera and whipped up a nice gallery for you! Check it out below but make sure you are logged into your Facebook account to view it!
Did you miss Formula Drift in Atlanta over the weekend? If so, you definitely missed out. This round was CRAZY! There were mullets everywhere, cars hopping over other cars, stuff caught on fire. It was nuts! I won’t go into everything that happened but if you want to see it all just head to DailyMotion.com/Driftstream and check if they posted up the replay. If you just want to know who won then I have all that info right here. As you can see in the picture Odi Bakchis took the top spot followed by Ken Gushi (who happened to be driving like a mad man that day), and Chris Forsberg rounding out the podium.
Odi’s win launches him to the top spot in the points standings with Fredric Aasbo right behind him and reigning champ Chris Forsberg sitting in third. Just below is the points break down:
The points spread is pretty crazy despite this only being the end of round 2 of a seven round season. Will Odi continue to rocket ahead of the pack? Or could Forsberg, Tuerck, or Gushi claw their way up and become more of a threat? The next round of Formula Drift is in Orlando on a brand new track so things could get shaken up significantly. Stay tuned!
Ever since Ken Gushi joined the Toyota/Scion family they have picked the young driver as their pilot for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. For the last few years Gushi has wheeled a specially prepped Lexus IS-F up the hill but this year it has been announced that Ken will drive an FR-S built by GReddy Performance in the Time Attack 1 Division. I am unsure if the FR-S in question is Gushi’s Formula Drift FR-S re-purposed or perhaps Gushi’s first FR-S with the flat boxster engine. Either way, It is definitely an FR-S that is going up the hill with a new suspension package and with an engine tuned to 500hp and 480ft-lbs of torque! Will “The Gush” and his FR-S have what it takes to break some records at the infamous peak this year? We will find out this coming weekend! In the meantime scroll down for pics and the official press release from Scion.
TORRANCE, Calif., (June 23, 2014) – Veteran racer Ken Gushi knows the Scion FR-S. He also knows the demanding 156-turn race course that climbs Pikes Peak. Gushi will bring his experiences together driving the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S in the 92nd annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 29. Best known as a top drifting competitor, Gushi won the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Exhibition Auto Class driving a Lexus ISF CCS-R. This year he’ll drive a 2013 FR-S in the Time Attack 1 Division for production-based two- and four-wheel drive vehicles. This is the second appearance of the FR-S at the event.“No race on earth is quite like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and I can’t wait to conquer it in a car I love: the Scion FR-S,” Gushi said. “Every turn of this course requires the best performance out of the driver and vehicle, and racing fans will love what they see.”The 12.42-mile race in the Colorado Rocky Mountains finishes at the 14,115-foot summit, where drivers and vehicles contend with thin air and high winds. To prepare for the course, the GReddy Racing team has retuned the suspension of the FR-S race car and added new performance and safety components. As modified, the engine produces 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque.“The highly competitive Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will showcase Ken Gushi’s renowned racing skills and the enhanced performance capabilities of the FR-S,” said Landy Joe, Scion auto shows and special events manager. “Scion Racing is thrilled to compete in this iconic event again this year and let our fans experience a ‘Race to the Clouds’ with the FR-S.”For more information about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, visit www.ppihc.com. For videos and interviews with Gushi after the race, visit www.scionracing.com.
Vaughn Gittin Jr. Got his second Formula Drift win in a row (this season) over the weekend at Formula Drift Miami. He went toe-to-toe against the likes of Danny George, Jhonnattan Castro, Fredric Aasbo, and Kenny Moen to get to the final battle where he faced off against his good friend, championship points leader, and Drift Alliance brother, Chris Forsberg. He managed to get the better of Forsberg in the final battle to get the win but due to Forsberg’s consistent appearances on the podium he still leads in overall points but has only a small 10 point margin over Vaughn. The season is just about reaching its halfway point and its already looking like it will be a tight Drift Alliance battle for the top spot. Forsberg will really need to get more wins under his belt to keep Vaughn Gittin Jr. at bay. All Vaughn needs to do is stay consistent (which he is more than capable of doing) and wait for Forsberg to make a mistake and he could easily own the championship fight.
Next up is round 4 in New Jersey at the famous Wall Speedway. This is a car-killing track where just about anything can happen. Will Vaughn be able to pull ahead in the points or will Chris hold on? Will another challenger upset the points battle by getting the best of both of them? We will find out in about three weeks or so!