In some big yet not surprising news today Top Gear USA host and two-time Formula Drift champ Tanner Foust has announced a “temporary” retirement from drifting. Many are speculating as to why he is bowing out for 2011 but personally I think the most logical answer is the best one. If you follow Tanner at all you know that he has a BIG 2011 ahead of him. The man is going to take on a full season of European Rally Cross, compete in Rally America, X Games Rally, and presumably come back for another season of hosting Top Gear USA. If he tried to tack on a full season of Formula Drift to that then he would probably race himself to death!
Tanner will be jumping into the Papadakis Racing/Rockstar Energy Drink/Scion Racing tC one last time for the upcoming Formula Drift exhibition in Abu Dhabi but after that its a year long vacation from drifting for ol’ “Foxy” Foust.
So you may be asking who will take over for Tanner Foust now that Papadakis Racing has an open seat? We’ll have more on that in the post right after this one.
With Formula D out of the picture for Foust in 2011 you can expect to see him much more competitive in his other disciplines. I can’t wait to see how he does in the European Rally Cross series this year. We wish Tanner the best and we will miss him in Formula Drift this year!
Long Beach, Calif. – February 10th, 2011 – Formula DRIFT has announced that 2-time Formula DRIFT champion, Tanner Foust will temporarily step away from the sport of drifting. In conjunction, Papadakis Racing and Team Need For Speed have announced the signing of the 2010 Formula DRIFT Rookie of the Year, Fredric Aasbo.
“Tanner’s semi-retirement is bittersweet for the Series as he has become one of the most recognizable drivers on the circuit and is one of the most competitive spokesmen for Formula DRIFT,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “As with the growth and progression of the Series we can expect to see opportunities brought to many of the drivers and wish Tanner more success in his career both on and off the track. His departure will leave a spot open for a future star of drifting to rise, which we are excited to see.”
Foust has announced his temporary retirement from drifting due to a demanding 2011 schedule of European Rally events, X-Games and television responsibilities. The 2-time Formula DRIFT champion and Tires.com Triple Crown bonus winner will be competing one last time in the Rockstar / Papadakis Racing Scion tC on February 25, 2010 during the Formula DRIFT UAE Invitational competition.
“I owe a lot to Formula DRIFT and Stephan Papadakis. This sport, Stephan and his team have been, and will remain, an integral part of my motorsports life,” said Tanner Foust, from his home in San Juan Capistrano. “This was a hard choice to make, but with my schedule looking even busier than last year’s I will not be able to fully commit to the 2011 Formula DRIFT season. However, I am looking forward to competing in the Rockstar Scion tC for one last time in Abu Dhabi this month.” With an open seat, team owner, Stephan Papadakis has enlisted the highly touted and talented driver, Fredric Aasbo. In addition, a newly created partnership with Team Need For Speed has solidified the alliance. Aasbo will be competing in the brand new Need for 2011 Scion tC this season with the competition debut during Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 8-9, 2011.
While the industry as a whole is mourning the loss of master fabricator Shaun Carlson I decided before I get the ball rolling on MotorworldHype again I’d go through some of his high profile builds a little bit, just incase you weren’t familar with just how far his influence goes back.
This is the first build that I’ve ever seen from Shaun’s NuFormz shop. He built this Honda CRX with Jason Whitfield more than 10 years ago. While it was a beautiful car to look at this thing was serious business. Back in the day this was the fastest 1/4 mile single cam Honda in the country…probably the world.
The yellow beast you see above is probably Shaun’s most famous build. This was the car that re-wrote sport compact drag racing, made history, and put Steph Papadakis on the map and on AEM’s radar. That’s a lot for one car isn’t it? This was the first FWD car to break 9′s and then 8′s in the quarter mile. It also started the tube chassis “trend” which is now pretty much the norm in sport compact drag racing today. This car was so ground breaking it even did some time at the Peterson Automotive Museum!
Ah, the Meguiar’s Ford Focus. Even though the Nuformz/AEM Civic is probably the most “important” of Shaun’s builds I have to say that the Ford Focus is my favorite. When this car hit the scene I was powerfully anti-Ford but this car was so damn cool that I put my distaste for the blue oval aside. This was easily one of the most technologically advanced FWD drag car in the world at the time. The body was full carbon fiber, it had an Esslinger/Ford crate engine featuring a huge Garrett turbocharger which was the same type used in Champ Cars, and it was the first FWD drag car to use a sequential transmission. I was in love with this thing! It was also the debut of Shaun as a professional driver. Although when the car made its debut in Bud’s Creek MD Shaun stalled it on the line twice. He was kind of pissed at the time but looking back it was pretty funny. Once they got the bugs worked out he was a force to be reckoned with in this car. You can read more about the car HERE.
This was one of the last high-profile FWD drag cars that Shaun built and symbolic of the begining of his relationship with Mopar. Everything that Shaun had learned, invented, and discovered about FWD drag racing technology went into this car. Although Shaun never really thought he would ever be piloting a Neon down the drag strip. In fact, this car almost didn’t happen but things just happend to align. You can actually get the story from the man himself in an article he wrote for Super Street back in 2003. Check it out HERE.
Here we have the infamous Mopar Dodge Charger. This car wasn’t the begining of NuFormz in drifting as they started off with a few Dodge Vipers. However this is the first car Shaun got to build from scratch. It was also the first attempt at turning a Dodge Charger into a motorsport platform. Shaun had a little help from Detroit but he still had his work cut out for him on this one. It is difficult for anyone to make a heavy, long wheel based beheamoth into a competitive platform in a sport where car’s are supposed to be quick and graceful but Shaun and the NuFormz team tried their hardest. The Challenger season was rough but the car got better as time went on.
Here we have the final build by Shaun Carlson and the NuFormz team. The results they had with the Mopar Challenger were less than desirable but with the Dodge’s release of the new Challenger Shaun had a chance to start with a more sports-oriented platform. This car was going to be to Drifting what the AEM Civic was to drag racing. All the body pannels were carbon fiber and were all removable. No more welding or pounding quarter pannels for Shaun! If Sam managed to bust up the body work on this bad boy the pannels could simply be popped off and replaced. Another innovation that proved to be quite controversial was the addition of “rollerblade” wheels to the rear pannels of the car. Shaun believed these wheels would help Sam ride the wall at tracks like Irwindale and Long Beach. Unfortunately Shaun’s theory was never tested. Before they were able to begin campaigning the new Challenger the NuFormz team lost their Mopar title sponsorship due to the economic climate and the issues that the big three were dealing with. The decision was made to finish out this season in the Viper but there were rumors that NuFormz found a new sponsor for 2010 and we would see the Challenger after all. Hopefully that will remain true despite Shaun’s passing.
Well, I hope that this was as fun for you to read as it was for me to write. Even though I am still saddend by what’s happend it felt good to go through all of the awesome builds that I’ve seen come from Shaun over the years.
Bill Wood shot this video for us during the early hours of the 2009 Formula D pre-season tech day at Universal Technical Institute in Rancho Cucamonga, CA of Team Rockstar/AEM unloading their brand new Scion tC drift car.
Well I just got back from the Formula D Tech Day at UTI and it was certainly an interesting event! I heard a lot of pretty juicy tidbits, some I can share and some I can’t out of journalistic respect but I’m sure you don’t care about that part so I’ll get down to the good stuff.
The biggest bit of news to come out of the event is that Drift Alliance Co-Founder Tony Angelo will be putting down his helmet for 2009 and become a Formula D judge. So who is the odd man out you may be asking? Tony Angelo will be replacing Ken Takahashi in the judging booth. Don’t worry about Ken though, word has it he will remain on the Formula D team as an overseer of all of the Pro Am events. With Ken having such strong ties and passion for the grassroots community, I think this is a great fit for him.
In other news it seems that a lot of the bigger teams were a no-show to the tech day event for various reasons. It looks like Sam Hubinette’s Mopar Challenger wont be ready in time for Long Beach so he’ll be back in the seat of the Dodge Viper. While this bad news for those who were looking forward to seeing the challenger in action its good news for those who want to see Sam win as he’ll definitely be a threat in his trusty Viper.
Another no-show was Rhys Millen. I really wanted to see his Hyundai Genesis coupe up close but Rhys spent the day testing the car at a secret location. However Rhys called in live to the “Inside Drift” radio show which was broadcasting from inside the UTI facility during the event to say hi to everyone.
Someone err..something that DID show up was Tanner Foust’s Rockstar/AEM Scion tC which was brought up to the UTI facility by Tanner’s team manager Steph Papadakis. He showed up at the crack of dawn with the car to try and get in and out quickly as the car wasn’t totally ready for its close up yet. However that didn’t stop a swarm of photographers from bogging down the NASCAR Truck engine’d tC on the lift as they climbed over each other like ants at a picnic to snap as many photos as possible.
I wasn’t there for this so I didn’t get any pics of the car but my good friend Bill Wood (who also co-hosted the live radio show) managed to get some video footage and will be sending it soon so look forward to that going up here soon!
For now check out some of the pics I shot while strolling around. Remember click the thumb nails for bigger pics!