The Wall Speedway at Wall Township, New Jersey recently hosted the
third round of the Formula Drift Series, which has been appropriately
titled as the "Gauntlet". Known for having one of the most challenging
drift tracks in the world, the track comes with a 16-degree banked
oval along the straightaway and 30 degrees on the turns. Of course,
that didn’t stop the best drifters in the world from putting on quite
The third round ofFormula DRIFT featured some scintillating action
that was highlighted by Daijiro Yoshihara’s second victory in a row -
he also won the second round at Road Atlanta - and Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s
third straight podium finish, making him the only driver in all three
rounds to finish in the podium three times, and extend his lead on top
of the Pro Championship standings.
“I’ve got my mojo back!,” a visibly excited Daijiro Yoshihara
exclaimed. “This feels incredible to win back to back events and I
could not have done it without the help of my team and sponsors.”
Rhys Millen’s first season in Formula Drift last year went about as smoothly as a multi-plotted soap opera, so you would at least expect that he was going to make good on his promise to have a better 2010 season.
So far, so good.
Though he didn’t win at last week’s drift run in Long Beach - that honor goes to Vaughn Gittin Jr. - Millen’s second place finish in his Hyundai Genesis Coupe was better than any of his performances in all of last year.
A big reason for Millen’s resurgent start to the 2010 season can be attributed to better preparation, at least as far as his ride was concerned. "I was in sync with my Genesis Coupe during the entire campaign and step one was to qualify first," he said.
"The car had so much grip and power I was able to put it close to the walls and mirror the other competitors’ cars’ every move. Nothing compares to the pressure and thrill of the ’win it or lose it’ factor while competing against more than 50 other cars and drivers."
After going through a year of hasty preparations, that clearly had an effect on the overall result of the entire team, Millen spent an inordinate amount of time in the offseason fine-tuning his Genesis Coupe and the result has been nothing less than noticeable.
Listen in as we hear from a few of the sideways superstars competing in Formula D as to why they are running a set of Enkei rims on their drift cars. Rhys Millen, Tony Brakohiapa and Tyler McQuarrie had only good things to say about these Japanese aftermarket wheels.
Formula 1 hands out over sized gold plated saucers; the Indy 500 winner receives a bottle of cold milk and now the three drifters standing atop the podium after each round of the 2009 Formula D season will walk away with a trophy made from the lightweight, woven black stuff. The American drifting series organizers commissioned APR Performance, a well know fabricator of aerodynamically tuned carbon fiber body panels for high performance applications to create the very unique trophies. However, I’m pretty sure that the Formula D drifters would prefer that the funds invested into producing the high tech prizes would have gone into the winner’s purse instead.
Top Speed recently had the opportunity to test the Hyundai Genesis Coupe V6 , the car that World Drift Champion Rhys Millen is currently campaigning in the Formula DRIFT series. Check out the video of the Kiwi dialing in his new ride.
Bad news everybody, this current economic situation has already taken a toll on the American automobile industry, dreams of a comeback for the GTO are gone, now there will never be another Firebird, but now you can chalk up a loss for Mopar fans as well, because the most powerful drift machine that was supposed to compete in Formula DRIFT never will.
We all know that the automobile industry isn’t doing too well due to the current economic climate. In an attempt to save whatever money they can, some manufacturers have shifted production away from sports cars while others have dropped their high performance divisions all together. The latest victim of these cutbacks is the sport of drifting. Due to their current fiscal situation, Mopar, Chrysler’s high performance division, has been forced to terminate their sponsorship and support of the “Crazy Swede” Samuel Hubinette and Shaun Carlson’s NuFormz Racing, the California based tuner responsible for the Mopar Drift Viper that was competing in the Formula D series here in the U.S.
It is a shame that Mopar would decide to cancel their drift program right as the season was getting started; especially because the team was running 4th in the points. Sam finished second at the opener in Long Beach and only made it to the round of 16 at Road Atlanta, but for the two-time Formula D Champion with 16 career wins, bouncing back to the top would not have been difficult.
Our friends at the GT Channel had the chance to talk with the Rockstar/AEM Scion tC drift team at the Formula D opener at The Streets of Long Beach. Everyone from team owner and acclaimed drag racer Steph Papadakis to the Scion tC ’s pilot Tanner Foust had a chance to get a word in and show off their all new 700 HP V8 powered drift machine.
Controversy broke out a few weeks ago when it became known that Rhys Millen’s Hyundai Genesis Coupe drift car didn’t have the manufacturer’s 3.8 Liter Lambda V6 under the hood. Instead the RMR Genesis Coupe competed in the first round of Formula D competition with a Nissan sourced VQ series V6. Now the majority of the Formula D cars in the paddock have all sorts of Frankenstein engine/chassis combinations, but because Rhys is running a factory backed program, this was a no-no.
It is easy to understand that the former World Drifting and Formula D Champion knows a thing or two about the sport, and understands the necessity for a bulletproof power train under the harsh conditions of the sport. Due to the fact that the partnership was not official until right before the season opener in Long Beach, we can forgive Rhys for trying to pull a fast one.