Tanner Foust is easily one the most popular personalities in motorsports today. Between hosing Top Gear USA and contending in Rally Cross in both America and in Europe the man has a pretty full plate, which is a big part of the reason why he stepped away from drifting a few years ago to focus on those things. Well, it looks like Tanner has missed drifting so much (winning two Formula Drift championships tends to do that) that he is making a return to the sport this season. He will still continue his Rally Cross and Top Gear hosting duties so for now he will only run a partial season with the rumors suggesting he will drive at the Long Beach, Road Atlanta, and Irwindale rounds of Formula Drift this year.
As far as what he is driving, Wrecked Magazine says it will be a 900hp Volkswagen Passat. Yes, a Passat! While it would be expected that Tanner would campaign a VW since they are a major sponsor and platform provider of his Rally Cross program, but a Passat? Well, for those confused I offer a few theories for this choice. First, to those drift purists who may be asking “Isn’t the Passat front wheel drive?” the answer is “yes and no”. In America, the Passat is currently only offered in front wheel drive. However, in Europe the Passat can be had with all wheel drive, making it legal for RWD conversion and competition in Formula Drift. For those asking “Why not the Golf R then? That car is AWD”. Again you would be correct bur the AWD Golf R is a 2016 model car so chances are VW may not be ready to put marketing dollars behind it and lets be honest, marketing dollars are what drive motorsport programs such as these.
Either way I am glad to see Tanner return to drifting and now we all have one more big reason to look forward to Formula Drift this year! For the official video announcement of Tanner Foust’s return scroll below.
Nissan has taken the GT-R AKA Godzilla racing all over the world via customer car programs and OEM-backed programs. However, the GT-R hasn’t seen much racing action stateside despite its decades of racing pedigree. It looks like that is finally going to change. Today Nissan announced that they will partner with the “Always Evolving” racing team to campaign a two car effort in the Pirelli Challenge series this year. The weapon of choice will be the new Nissan GT-R GT3 built by the mad men from Nissan’s NISMO motorsport arm.
If the name “Always Evolving” sounds familiar that is because this is the same racing team that was co-founded by Roger Rodas who unfortunately passed away in a car accident along with friend and team supporter Paul Walker. The team prides themselves on enjoying motorsport life while also giving back by contributing to several charitable organizations.
The team has tapped Bryan Heitkotter and James Davison as their drivers. Bryan was the first winner of the North American GT Academy program which was a nationwide competition among the best Gran Turismo players to graduate to a real life racing career. Since winning GT Academy Bryan raced for two years in a 370Z NISMO for Doran Racing in the Continental Tire series and raced in the Altima Program in 2014 in the Pirelli Challenge. James has a strong background in open wheel racing running Formula BMW, Star Mazda, and the Indy Lights championship. James also drove for the TRG-Aston Martin team in the IMSA series.
Sponsored by Replay XD and backed by NISMO Motorsport the team will begin their run for the Pirelli Challenge championship next month in a trail by fire at the Circuit Of The Americas. Personally, I can’t wait to see these cars in action. I especially can’t wait to see them up close at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April! For a better picture of the GT-R GT3 just click the thumbnail below. For more info the official press release is below as well.
2011 Nissan GT Academy Champion Bryan Heitkotter to pilot #05 GT-R GT3
IndyCar, Prototype and GT racer James Davison to Campaign #33 GT-R GT3
First U.S. Appearance of Nissan GT-R Built to FIA GT3 Specifications
Debuts in Pirelli World Challenge at Circuit of the Americas March 6-8
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Motorsports announced today a partnership with Always Evolving (AE) to campaign two GT Academy-NISMO Nissan GT-R GT3 racing cars for the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season.
Nissan GT Academy North America 2011 winner Bryan Heitkotter will drive one of the team cars, while Australian open wheel and GT star James Davison will pilot the second car. Featuring logos from the GT Academy program, the two cars will be co-sponsored by Replay XD and NISMO.
AE will utilize AIM Autosport for much of the car preparation and on-track support during the season. ased in Los Angeles, the team was founded in March 2013 by friends Roger Rodas and Erik Davis as a platform combine their passion for cars and their desire to support their favorite charitable organizations. Following Rodas’ tragic passing in November 2013, the team has established “Racing in Honor” as their internal mission for the 2014 season in his memory. ased in Los Angeles, the team was founded in March 2013 by friends Roger Rodas and Erik Davis as a platform combine their passion for cars and their desire to support their favorite charitable organizations. Following Rodas’ tragic passing in November 2013, the team has established “Racing in Honor” as their internal mission for the 2014 season in his memory. AIM won the 2012 IMSA GTD team, driver and manufacturer championships, as well as the 2013 manufacturer title while campaigning a Ferrari.
“Nissan couldn’t be happier to have Always Evolving and AIM as Nissan’s partners to campaign the first GT3 spec GT-Rs in the U.S. in Pirelli World Challenge,” said Rick Kulach, Nissan North America Motorsports Manager. “This partnership is a great opportunity to showcase Bryan’s talents alongside James, who is a rising star in motorsports. It’s exciting to have a GT Academy champion in a great car racing at this level.”
Based in Los Angeles, Always Evolving Racing was founded in 2013 by Erik Davis and Roger Rodas to combine the friends’ passion for cars with their desire to support their favorite charities. Following a tragic automobile accident late in 2013 that took Rodas’ life, Davis elected to continue with Always Evolving in his friend’s honor.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Nissan in Pirelli World Challenge,” said Erik Davis, Chairman of AE. “Our two brands have had a distant relationship for many years, and to be able to now officially launch an effort together bringing the Nissan NISMO GT3 GT-R to North America is humbling to say the least. We look forward to showcasing the team, our drivers, the GT Academy and our sponsors in a very competitive platform.”
Heitkotter, 34, won North America’s first gamer-to-racer GT Academy competition in 2011. In 2012 and 2013 while driving a Nissan 370Z NISMO for Doran Racing, Heitkotter earned three pole positions, two second qualifying spots, four top 10 finishes and a podium. In 2014, Bryan switched to a Nissan Altima for the CA Sports team. There, he earned three podiums and four top five finishes in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car (TC) category in six events. Most recently, behind the wheel of the Doran #41 370Z NISMO, Heitkotter and GT Academy teammate Nick McMillen finished sixth overall in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Series (CTSCC) race at Daytona International Speedway in January 2015.
“I have been watching the Pirelli World Challenge gain momentum over the past couple years, and I’m absolutely thrilled to help represent Nissan in this highly competitive series,” said Heitkotter. “The GT-R has proven to be a spectacular racing car, and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish together.”
Davison, 28, was born in Melbourne, Australia and moved to the United States when he was 18 years of age to develop his skills in open wheel racing. His career highlights include a 2005 victory in Formula BMW at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a runner-up finish in the 2007 Star Mazda Championship, and second spot in the 2009 Indy Lights Championship. Davison ran up front during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 driving for Always Evolving KV Racing Technology, finishing the race in 16th position. In his limited time in sports cars he has always been at the front, driving for the TRG-Aston Martin team in IMSA competition. Davison has recorded five consecutive poles in IMSA including pole position at the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
“We have great confidence in Erik (Davis)’s vision and ability to campaign a competitive car at a high level every race,” added Kulach. “James Davison is not only a talented young race driver, but he’s also a great sportsman and will be an outstanding representative for the Nissan brand.”
The first Pirelli World Challenge Race for 2015 will be at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas March 6-8. Television broadcast times have not yet been announced and the series will be webcast via www.world-challengetv.com.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
About Always Evolving
Always Evolving is an integrated media and technology company with a diversified portfolio of software and hardware assets. The company recently acquired the Replay XD action camera system and is hard at work making sure more consumers, athletes and video producers love its cameras and video-based experiences. Based in San Francisco, California, Always Evolving’s products and services are quickly becoming the only choice for action camera, drone and POV camera buyers and video producers everywhere.
About AIM Autosport
Established in 1995, AIM Autosport is a Canadian sports team operating multi-car teams in professional sportscar racing. AIM’s success has been achieved through the dedication of its employees and the continuous support of the team’s commercial and technical partners. Away from the track, AIM Autosport serves the needs of the racing community with a purpose-built preparation shop situated in the Toronto suburb of Woodbridge, Ontario.
About Nissan GT Academy
GT Academy is a competition created by Nissan and PlayStation® that unites the worlds of virtual and real-life racing to make the dreams of aspiring race drivers become a reality. The competition, which originally launched in Europe in 2008, finds the best Gran Turismo® players from across the participating countries by testing their skills in an online gaming qualification process. They will then compete against each other in live National Finals before the winners from each final switch to driving real Nissan cars at the now-famous Silverstone “Race Camp.”
The overall winner of GT Academy is then trained in the multiple areas required to become a professional racing driver, if the winner makes the grade they will compete in the Dubai 24 Hour race for Nissan and have the chance to be considered for a future career with Nissan as a “NISMO Athlete.”
Street racing has been a part of American car culture since the invention of the automobile. Over the decades many steps have been taken to try and put a stop or at least reduce street racing as it grew in popularity. Law enforcement tried a heavy handed approach but that just seemed to make rebellious young drivers want to do it more. It seemed over time that the solution that the drivers wanted were more tracks and places to race in a legit fashion since over the last 20 years or so many local tracks and drag strips where racers used to go were shut down. To their credit official sanctioning bodies such as the NHRA worked with local tracks all over the country to organize weekly events that provide a safe place for people to race. However, even that isn’t enough to lure everyone away from racing on the streets. This fact inspired a new show on the Discovery Channel called “Street Outlaws.”
Street Outlaws focuses on the illegal street racing scene in Oaklahoma City and features the drivers, cars, and shops who regularly participate in races, sometimes for money but mostly bragging rights. Many of the shows racers aspire to get on “the list” as in an unofficial list of the top 10 fastest street racers in the area. In just four seasons the show has gained a sizable audience and the Street Outlaws official Facebook page has reached over a million likes. Some of the show regulars even make celebrity appearances at events like car shows and conventions.
Now, the NHRA is threatening to take away official racing privileges from any officially licensed driver who is on the show and participates in a street race.
One of the regulars on the show Justin Shearer AKA “Murder Nova” posted a warning letter he got from the NHRA on his Facebook page stating that his participation on the show violates the sanctioning body’s rules of conduct and if he continues his competition license will be “suspended indefinitely”. One would think that Mr. “Murder Nova” would be none too pleased over this action but it seems that he is actually happy about it as this issue is helping gain even more attention for the already popular show in which he is a part of.
So far, we haven’t heard about anyone officially losing their NHRA competition license yet but we plan to reach out to both the NHRA, the Discovery Channel, and Pilgrim Studios (the production team behind the show) for any further comment and we will update this story as it develops. In the meantime let us know what you think. Is the NHRA right to make a stand against their licensees participating in illegal street racing? Do you think the NHRA is over stepping their bounds and making a mountain out of a mole hill? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or tweet to us at @MotorworldHype.
To see the picture of the NHRA letter that Justin posted just click the thumbnail below. You can also watch a short clip below to get a taste of what the show is like.
The Circuit Of The Americas is a beautiful race track in Texas that is essentially America’s answer to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. Despite the Circuit Of The Americas (or COTA) being a purpose built F1 track a few other motorsports have had lots of success there including Moto GP. Yet, since COTA opened, the Indy Car Series has not added it to its schedule. However, there is a rumor fresh off the interwebs that suggests that Indy Car may finally visit COTA this year. The theory behind this rumor comes off the heels that Indy Car’s opening race in Brazil was suddenly canceled by track officials with no explanation given to the public or to Indy Car.
With the rug suddenly pulled from under them and with one race short on their calendar it might be possible that the Indy Car Series and COTA can strike a deal for a race to replace the canceled Brazil event. The question is, will it happen? Is it even being discussed by the decision makers? No one knows for sure. As mentioned before, all this falls strictly under the rumor category.
If we get any more information about this we will let you know ASAP!
Its raining F1 cars! Yesterday came the debut of McLaren’s MP4-30 and today the world gets its first look at Scuderia Ferrari’s new SF15-T chassis. In case you were wondering the “T” stands for turbo… This new chassis definitely cuts a striking silhouette. At first glance it may not seem all that different from last year’s car but once you really let your eyes pour over it you start to see the subtle differences. However, one very noticeable difference is the removal of the weird nose that most 2014 cars had do to some silly rule. Now the design goes back to a sloping more simplistic nose piece. In addition to showing off their new car’s lines, Ferrari also dropped a few specs as well.
The SF15-T weighs 1547lbs with driver and fluids, the engine has 1.6 liters (or 1600 cc’s) of displacement, the engine redlines at 15,000rpms, and its transmission has 8 forward gears plus reverse. According to Ferrari the SF15-T took 250,000 total manufacturing hours to complete, is made up of 20,000 square meters of carbon fiber, 100 different metal alloys, and its drivetrain (engine and transmission) comprises of 20,000 different parts. If you are wondering how Ferrari’s engineers came up with the SF15-T’s shape, it probably hand something to do with the 1,500 hours it spent in a wind tunnel.
All in all I think its safe to say that a lot of time and work went into Ferrari’s new chassis. The question is can Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen capitalize on it? Ah time will tell! In the meantime, click on the thumbnails for larger pictures of the SF15-T. You can also hit the source link below for a dedicated microsite that is full of videos and other interactive tidbits.
Early in the A.M. (4am for me to be exact) right after Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso went to the future (see previous post), McLaren Honda finally revealed their 2015 chassis dubbed MP4-30. This was significant for two reasons. The first is that this officially launches the rebirth of one of F1’s storied partnerships in McLaren and Honda. It also marks one of the first times that a car reveal was done exclusively over social media. That’s right, there was no press conference gala at the McLaren HQ. The reveal was done by live posting by McLaren via their social media channels (twitter, facebook, instagram), and their website. I think it was a pretty neat concept to do it this way but I am not so sure other teams will follow suit.
Anyhow you can finally see the new McLaren Honda in all its glory by clicking on any of the thumbnails or watching the intro video below. What do you think of it? I was kind of hoping they would go back to a white and red color scheme like the MP46. I think the colors they chose look great but since they aren’t associated with Mercedes anymore, why hang on to the silver? Oh well, either way it still looks pretty fresh. Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments or tweet us at @MotorworldHype
If the classic movie Back To The Future has taught us anything, its that the “future” officially happens in a little under 10 months away on October 21st 2015 at 7:28pm. However, that fact didn’t stop McLaren Automotive, Jenson Button, and Fernando Alonso to gloriously recreate one of the most iconic scenes in BTTF but naturally, a McLaren 650S plays the part of the time machine rather than a Delorean. Where will Jenson and Fernando go? To an epic F1 race of the past? A hovercraft race in the future? Watch the flick below to find out. Trust me, its worth it!
In our second motorsports news story of the day Lamborghini has finally revealed the GT3 version of their newest bull, the Huracan. This widebodied angular beast is over 400lbs lighter than a “normal” Huracan but still retains the same V10 engine. Despite the Huracan GT3 being mostly developed in-house at Lamborghini, Dallara (who created the current Indy Car chassis) was tapped to aid in design of the GT3’s aerodynamics. The Huracan GT3 will be rear wheel drive (the stock version is AWD) and come equipped with a six-speed sequential transmission.
The Huracan GT3 will begin competing this year in the Blancpain Endurance Series in Europe. Although I would not be surprised if we eventually see the Huracan GT3 competing state side as well. In fact, Lamborghini’s newest race car is available for sale to any interested parties for about $430,000. I’d get one but I am a bit short, you know how it goes. To see HD resolution pics of the Huracan GT3 just click the thumbnails and for a video of the car in action just scroll below.
Sant’Agata Bolognese, 21 January 2015. Automobili Lamborghini has presented the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3, in a world premiere at its headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The unveiling ceremony was carried out in the presence of media, customers and partners from around the world.
The GT3 competitor makes its debut following that of the new Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo, which will be the protagonist of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo in Europe, Asia and North America from this year.
Starting in 2015, the Huracán GT3 will line up in the Blancpain Endurance Series that runs over five venues in Europe, among which is included the famous Spa-Francorchamps 24-hours race.
The growth and success of Lamborghini motorsports activities throughout the world has heightened its appeal to partners: the prestigious Indonesian oil and energy petroleum company PERTAMINA will be the official technical partner of Lamborghini Squadra Corse activities in the coming years.
”With the Huracán GT3, Lamborghini Squadra Corse takes a further step forward in the development and production of a race car for this category, which is among the most prestigious and challenging in international motorsport. Lamborghini is thus for the first time directly involved in GT motorsport activities with the in-house development of this new model,” declared Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. ”We are proud and delighted to announce the new partnership with PERTAMINA, which will further support our motorsport activities.”
“We are proud to be the partner of Automobili Lamborghini as one of the world’s most prestigious super sports car marques. This cooperation confirms PERTAMINA’s position as the technology partner of Lamborghini Squadra Corse, connected to our vision of becoming a World Class Energy Company with the mission to expand our market globally,” said Ahmad Bambang, Marketing Director of PERTAMINA.
The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 is equipped with an Alu-Carbon chassis and a fully integrated FIA-compliant roll-cage. The subframe has been modified both at the front and rear to accommodate a high performance water radiator (front), and for a better positioning of the gearbox (rear), improving aerodynamics. The kerb weight is 1239 Kg with a 42/58 front/rear weight distribution. The final weight will be set by the FIA BOP.
The bodywork is in composite materials and, along with the aerodynamics, has been developed in collaboration with Dallara Engineering with the direct involvement of the founder Gian Paolo Dallara. Aerodynamics have been tuned to grant the best possible air flow penetration, and maximum adherence and traction in any condition on any asphalt. Efficiency has been improved thanks to the rear adjustable wing, adjustable front diffuser and louvres. The new aerodynamics also allow improved cooling of the braking system.
As for the Huracán Super Trofeo, the GT3 is equipped with new bodywork fast- fittings and equipped with a new, enhanced-performing engine and gearbox oil cooler.
Special attention has been given to safety, with the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 equipped with a carbon frame 8862 specification seat; an OMP fire extinguishing system; and an innovative roof hatch which enables, in case of need, quick assistance by medical personnel through the roof of the car. Seat belts are provided by OMP, the fuel tank is an FT3 type and the pedals are adjustable.
Front and rear lights are LED. The new multifunction steering wheel has been re-engineered along with OMP.
The new rear-wheel drive Huracán GT3 adopts the V10 direct injection engine mounted on the road car, managed by a Bosch Motorsport control unit that also manages traction control, gearbox and the TFT display on the dashboard. All wiring and connectors are designed specifically for racing. The engine is fixed on the chassis by rigid mountings and is coupled with a sequential six-speed gearbox, according to FIA regulations, and a three-disc racing clutch.
The braking system is made up by 380 x 34 mm steel discs at the front (6 pot), and 355 x 32mm steel discs at the back (4 pot), according to FIA regulations, equipped with Bosch ABS. This system features 12 different settings that can be actioned directly from the steering wheel, as can traction control. The tyre sizes are 315/680 at the front and 325/705 at the back. The car is equipped with a pneumatic lifting system.
In Europe, the Huracán GT3 is priced at 369,000 Euro (excluding taxes) ex works.
Lamborghini’s newest raging bull race car has already made its track debut in development tests in recent months, under the supervision of head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna. ”The first GT3 car from Lamborghini will allow talented young drivers the opportunity to contest a Lamborghini in competitions such as the challenging 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. This season will be an important one for us to gather experience from a category as demanding as GT3, but at the same time we are offering a competitive product to our customers. It will be a busy year, as the Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo will also debut in our Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series in Europe, USA and Asia.”
Grasser Racing Team will line up two new Huracán GT3s in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. The Austrian team – 2013 Blancpain Sprint Series Pro-Am Champion and third in the 2014 Pro Class – will field the two official test drivers of Lamborghini Squadra Corse: Fabio Babini (ITA) and Adrian Zaugg (RSA) now promoted to factory drivers, and the Italian Mirko Bortolotti who impressed in the 2014 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe.
Working alongside them will be three young talents from Lamborghini’s Young Drivers Program: Giovanni Venturini (ITA), Jeroen Mul (NED) and Andrew Palmer (USA). All three have been promoted to the Lamborghini Squadra Corse GT3 Junior Team. This new program features a step up from the Young Drivers Program, with the aim of selecting the best talents to be involved in testing sessions and GT3 racing.
The Italian Edoardo Piscopo and the Serbian Milos Pavlovic have also been promoted to official test drivers for Lamborghini Squadra Corse. Winners of both the 2014 PRO Class in the European Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo and the World Final, they will be in charge of the GT3 car’s development across the world.
THE 2015 BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES CALENDAR
11-12 April Monza, ITA
23-24 May Silverstone, GBR
19-20 June Paul Ricard, FRA
23-26 July Spa-Francorchamps (24 Ore), BEL
19-20 September Nürburgring, GER
Automobili utomobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
Founded in 1963, Automobili Lamborghini is headquartered in Sant’Agata Bolognese, in Northeastern Italy. The Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4, which has made its world debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show is the successor to the iconic Gallardo and redefines the luxury super sports car driving experience with its innovative technology and outstanding performance. The Aventador LP 700-4, in Coupé and Roadster offerings, represents the reference point in the world of V12-powered, luxury super sports cars. With 129 dealerships worldwide, in little more than half a century Lamborghini has created an uninterrupted series of extraordinary, exclusive cars that include the 350 GT, Miura, Espada, Countach, Diablo, Murciélago, and several limited series like the Reventón, Sesto Elemento and Aventador J. The Veneno Coupé, the Egoista and the Veneno Roadster, have been created to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary year in 2013.
What does a kick-ass U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant do when he is done with his military career? Join a racing team and start kicking ass there, that’s what! Liam Dwyer (said kick-ass Staff Sergeant) has been racing for a while but only on a part time basis. However, in 2015 he will join Freedom Autosport, a team created to honor the men and women serving in the armed forces, to race full time with teammate Andrew Carbonell in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in a Mazda MX-5 race car.
In 2011, Staff Sergeant Dwyer was injured while serving in Afghanistan and as a result became an amputee, losing most of his left leg. Despite such a severe injury he did not let that stop him from pursing a career in motorsports and in 2014 in just his second professional outing he won (with co-driver Tom Long) the Lime Rock Park Continental Tire ST race on Memorial Day weekend, all while wearing a special prosthetic leg attachment. Talk about inspirational!
Staff Sergeant Dwyer will have his work cut out for him this year though as he takes on the 10 race Sports Car Challenge season this year starting off later this month at Daytona and finishing in October at Road Atlanta with every race in between held at highly technical, difficult tracks, including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
I wish Staff Sergeant Dwyer luck! If you want to follow along with him this season you can follow Liam on Twitter at @LiamDwyerRacing
LIAM DWYER ENLISTS WITH MAZDA MOTORSPORTS
Dwyer shifting from active duty with the U.S. Marines to full-time racer
IRVINE, Calif. (January 21, 2015) — Mazda announced the addition of Liam Dwyer as a full-time racer in the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Dwyer stunned the racing world in 2014 when he teamed up with Tom Long to co-drive their Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 to the win in the Lime Rock Park Continental Tire ST race on Memorial Day weekend. The win was a made for Hollywood storyline as Dwyer was competing in only his second professional race, and he was doing it with an artificial leg, having been injured while serving as a U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan just three years previously.
For 2015, Dwyer will be paired up with Andrew Carbonell for the entire ten-race season beginning January 23rd at Daytona International Speedway. Carbonell scored two wins with Freedom Autosport and Mazda in 2014.
John Doonan, Motorsports Director, Mazda North American Operations: “While we are all impressed with Liam on so many levels, we have recruited him for the same reason we recruit any driver. We believe that he can help Mazda win races and the 2015 manufacturers championship. His personal story is just the icing on the cake and helps us connect with a bigger story.”
Liam Dwyer: “I am very excited for the 2015 season. I thought things couldn’t get better after last season, but Mazda has once again shown how immensely awesome they are. To be granted a full ride in the Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 is the ultimate dream come true. And on top of that, I have one of the fastest MX-5 drivers, Andrew Carbonell, as my co-driver. I can’t thank Derek Whitis, Rhett O’Doski and everyone at Mazda enough for this opportunity.”
Andrew Carbonell: “I am excited to be confirmed with Mazda and Freedom Autosport for the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire Challenge season. I am also proud to be co-driving with one of the most incredible racing stories recently; Marine Staff Sergeant Liam Dwyer. I have had the honor of getting to know Liam through the select races he drove with Freedom Autosport in 2014. To watch the inspiration and motivation from Liam from afar makes one understand the sacrifices one makes to follow their dreams whatever the circumstance may be. I look forward to continuing success and adding more victories together for Freedom Autosport and Mazda.”
Derek Whitis, Owner, Freedom Autosport: “When we created Freedom Autosport, it was to honor the men and women serving in the armed forces, especially the U.S. Marines. We are honored to have Liam join the team full-time in 2015. Just as important, we look forward to having additional marines served other key roles on the team.”
The 2015 Continental Tires SportsCar race schedule is as follows:
Jan. 23 – Daytona International Speedway (Florida)
March 20 – Sebring International Raceway (Florida)
May 2 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Monterey, California)
June 27 – Watkins Glen International (New York)
July 11 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Toronto, Canada)
July 25 – Lime Rock Park (Connecticut)
Aug. 8 – Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin)
Aug. 22 – Virginia International Raceway
Sept. 18 – Circuit of The Americas (Austin, Texas)
Oct. 2 – Road Atlanta (Georgia)
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED
Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. Via the Mazda Road to Indy and the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.
Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.
Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Ever want to know what its like to suddenly come across a drift car in the middle of the city and then have the owner of said drift car take you on the ride of your life through public streets? Papadakis Racing just dropped a new flick that illustrates just such a daydream. In “Dream Ride LA” Fredric Aasbo takes a young kid drifting through the streets of LA in many iconic locations. Is it a bit of a rip off of what Ken Block did? Sure. But, its still pretty entertaining to watch! Scroll down and check out the five minute film below as well as the official press release.
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (January 6, 2015) — Papadakis Racing and driver Fredric Aasbo today launch #DreamrideLA, a short video showcasing the precision driving of top drift competitor Aasbo and presented by Scion Racing, Motegi Racing and Hankook Tire.
The five-minute video, available on the Papadakis Racing YouTube channel, features Dillon Bryant Akers as a boy who makes an astonishing discovery on the bank of the LA River and is rewarded with the experience of a lifetime in the 800-plus horsepower Papadakis Racing Scion tC Formula Drift competition car.
“A lot of kids grow up dreaming about being in a real racecar,” said Aasbo. “In Dreamride LA I had the chance to make one of those dreams come true.”
Team boss Stephan Papadakis said that once he and Aasbo decided to make a video, it was important to innovate and push the genre forward. The narrative approach offered by director Michael Tiddes was a perfect fit.
“So many of the drifting videos out there focus on the technique of the stunts and the technical aspects of the car,” said Papadakis. “In Dreamride LA the driving is amazing and the Scion tC is definitely front-and-center, but we also wanted to spotlight the experience. This video is personal and we hope that resonates with the fans.”
Tiddes, a feature film director whose big screen credits include box office hits A Haunted House and A Haunted House 2, merged Hollywood techniques with a fast-paced videogame aesthetic to create a short film that captures the emotional intensity of the drifting experience.
Aasbo is one of the world’s leading drift competitors. He won the 2014 Formula Drift Asia title and finished runner-up in the 2014 Formula Drift championship. Originally from Ski, Norway, Aasbo splits his time between his native country and Redondo Beach, California. This is his first feature project.
Team owner Stephan Papadakis is a legend of sport-compact racing who began building his reputation in the 1990s with the first front-wheel-drive, tube-chassis drag car in the U.S. A respected innovator, Papadakis moved to drifting in 2005 and has led his team to two Formula Drift championship titles (2007, 2008) and runner-up in the 2014 and 2010 championship seasons.
New Jersey native Tiddes is a comedy specialist who has worked with legends Keenen Ivory Wayans and brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans for over a decade. His viral videos featuring talents including Damon Wayans Jr., Affion Crockett, Omar Epps and FRED have become internet phenomena reaching more than 50 million views.
Young star Dillon Bryant Akers is the son of Veronica Valdes and actor Howard Alonzo (Akers) and the godson of Damon Wayans Jr. He made his acting debut in the Wayans family pilot Growing Up Wayans, and works with the Wayans family and Producer Will.i.Am on various projects. Outside of acting, Dillon is an AAU-ranked basketball player and an honor roll student.
#DreamrideLA is available on the Papadakis Racing YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/papadakisracing). Follow #DreamrideLA on social media for more.
THANKS TO OUR VIDEO PARTNERS:
Hankook Tire (www.hankooktireusa.com); Scion Racing (www.scion.com); Motegi Racing (www.motegiracing.com)