Formula Drift

Formula Drift

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2014 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Nitto Tire by Vaughn Gittin

2014 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Nitto Tire by Vaughn Gittin

Formula Drift Champion, Vaughn Gittin Jr., officially unveiled the 2014 Mustang RTR that seems to be ready to rock the 2013 Formula Drift season. The 2014 RTR was developed by Autosport Dynamics and will make its competitive debut at Formula Drift Round 1 in Long Beach, California April 12th and 13th. After that, Vaughn will compete in the World Drift Series in China and in numerous other select competition and demonstration events in Europe.

If last year’s model impressed you, the 2014 version will be a sensation. Its V-8 engine delivers a total of 845 horsepower - an increase of 45 horsepower over the previous model year. As usual, the engine has been developed by Ford Racing, so you know it’s built to run with the best of them.

The car sits on 18-inche wheels wrapped in Nitto NT05 tires sized 295/35R18 on the rear and 275/35R18 on the front. The model is distinguished by a carbon-fiber body with RTR appearance package. On the inside, it adds Recaro racing seats with Takata six-point harness.

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2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Formula Drift Car

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Formula Drift Car

The flock of drift race cars scheduled to compete in the 2012 Formula Drift season just got a lot more interesting with the introduction of Rhys Millen’s prized steed.

Over the past few years, Millen has competed in Formula Drift with a Hyundai Genesis Coupe and now that the latter has a refreshed 2013 model, it was only right for Millen to get his own race-tuned, drift-spec Genesis Coupe.

“I’m pleased to have Hyundai’s ongoing support for the 2012 season,” Millen said. “This begins the fourth year of our racing relationship with Hyundai, and we want to continue to build upon our success in both developing and racing Hyundai’s race-proven products.”

So here it is, fellas. Unbeknownst to a lot of folks, the car carries a 2013 Genesis Coupe body shell with all the mechanical components being modified by Rhys Millen Racing. The result is a pretty bad-ass Korean drifting machine capable of producing a very impressive 600 horsepower.

How will Rhys Millen fare against the competition? With a car like this by his side, there’s no doubt RMR will be making some serious noise in the 2012 Formula Drift season.

UPDATE 05/31/2012: Hyundai USA has unveiled a new video featuring Rhys Millen as he talks about the 2012 Formula Drift Race season and the preparations that lead up to the 2012 Formula Drift season. Enjoy!

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Behind the Smoke Season 2 Episode 2

Behind the Smoke Season 2 Episode 2

Last week, we announced the debut of Behind The Smoke Season 2, as we watched Dai and the Falken team get ready for the upcoming Formula D season, after Dai took home the championship last year. Episode 2 just hit the web over at GT Channel and we have the video (above) here for you.

In this episode, Dai is getting ready to take on qualifying for the first race of the season at the Streets of Long Beach circuit. His first run, netted Dai about an 81, which was where he wanted to be. On the second run, Dai pulled out a 90.5, which allowed him to qualify 6th for the upcoming race.

In all, this episode is chock-full of all types of sideways action with tons of beautiful tire smoke. What’s really sweet is these guys put a camera inside the car, facing the front, so you can really see what Dai sees as he whips his 240SX around the track. You get some real kick-ass audio of the engine working away in those shots too. We also found out that even the reigning champ of Formula D gets scared sometimes.

While you’re watching, keep an eye out for three quick cameos by the bearded and fearless drift fan, Bil Baldwin. Let us know in the comments if you see him and the times that he appears on the screen.

Crank up those speakers and click "Play" on the above video. It’s 11 minutes of smoke and squeals that you won’t regret seeing!

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The Bearded and Fearless Drift Fan

The Bearded and Fearless Drift Fan

When we start digging into racing, drifting in particular, the fans really don’t garner much of our attention. That is until we meet the Santa Claus of drift fans that has both an awesome white beard and a brass set of ball bearings.

This bearded fellow, named Bil Baldwin, has made quite a name for himself at Long Beach Formula DRIFT events. He is not famous for running onto the track in just his Fruit of the Looms or anything like that. He’s famous for not fearing these speeding drifters, regardless of the fact that they are sliding just inches from his legs.

Yup, this long-bearded fellow stands at the edge of the wall coming out of a turn and allows the cars to get within six inches of his legs. Sometimes, as you can see in the above video, the cars even smash into the wall just before they reach him, sending debris flying toward this brave man. Like a well-trained boxer, Bil bobs and weaves out of the way of the soaring debris, then quickly looks back to the track so he doesn’t miss a second of the action.

He clearly is a brave soul and Formula D seems to be accommodating to his fame, allowing him to continue standing in this dangerous position, regardless of the safety issue. We all love racing and we are particularly enthusiastic about drifting, but none of us would put ourselves there.

So here’s to Mr. Baldwin and his white beard and overall jeans flowing in the draft from passing drifters. It’s only a matter of time before Formula D decides that it’s a little too dangerous for him to be there. Until then, enjoy the hell out of it, Bil.

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Video: Behind the Smoke Season 2 Debuts

Video: Behind the Smoke Season 2 Debuts

It’s funny to think how drifting morphed from something teenagers used to do in vacant parking lots to look cool to one of the most popular racing series in the world. Formula DRIFT, or Formula D as most know it, is just getting its ninth season ramped up after Daijiro Yoshihara dominated the series last year, taking home the overall points championship. We even got a behind the scenes peak at how he did it via the Behind the Smoke series on GT Channel.

The ninth season of Formula D started earlier this month, so as expected, Dai and the guys are back for season 2 of their Behind the Smoke series. Episode 1 (posted above) gives us an inside look on the testing process Dai and his drifting machine, a 1993 Nissan 240SX, go through in getting ready for the season.

There’s tons of sideways and smoky action throughout the video, and even a little brotherly taunting between team members. Ultimately, Dai and his team must have gotten something right, as they pulled in a nice second place finish at the debut Formula D race this season, which was held at the Streets of Long Beach circuit.

There is not much that’s more adrenaline pumping than watching a nearly 3,000-pound machine careening sideways down a track only to have the driver flick it back under his control, using careful throttle control and counter-steering. So skip the coffee this morning, folks, and crank up the speakers for this one.

Also you get to see that even professional drivers forget the most basic items, as Dai breaks a cardinal rule of driving a manual transmission at the 7:35 mark. The car dies and he has no idea what happened. Watch as the guys all get a good laugh at this professional driver’s expense.

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2013 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Falken Tire by Vaughn Gittin

2013 Ford Mustang RTR Monster Energy Falken Tire by Vaughn Gittin

It’s not hard to come to grips with the fact that we’re all envious of Vaughn Gittin Jr. Not only is the man considered one of the best race car drivers in the world, but he’s also a master drifter of the highest order.

But if there’s one thing that really makes us jealous of Gittin Jr., it’s that he gets to drive a pretty sick, custom-tuned Ford Mustang during the Formula Drift season.

For 2012, Gittin Jr. will be fielding a sick-as-they-come Mustang that comes with a fully modded 6.7-liter V8 engine that produces a sick 800 horsepower. Built by Ford Racing and Roush Yates, the 410-cubic-inch powertrain gives Gittin Jr. plenty of ammo as he tries to conquer the 2012 Formula Drift season, especially after a disappointing 2011 year that saw the man finish 11th in the standings.

Gittin Jr is looking at the 2012 season as the perfect bounce-back year, where he is expected to challenge for the championship only two years removed from his last title reign.

With an 800-horsepower Ford Mustang RTR by his side, we don’t expect anything less from the man that has made his name in the world of auto drifting.

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Enter for a chance to win a ride-along with Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Bosch Shotgun Drift give-away

Enter for a chance to win a ride-along with Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Bosch Shotgun Drift give-away

Whether you are a drifting novice or a hardcore hand-brake pulling machine or even someone who watches it on TV, you may want to perk up your ears. Bosch, a leading global supplier of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, is celebrating 125 years of success on the market, as well as the launch of the Bosch Iridium Spark Plug with a giveaway like no other. Not only do we have the opportunity to offer exclusive access at the 2011 Monster Energy Drink Super Cross Cup with 2010 Formula D Drift Champion, Vaughn Gittin Jr., but we’re following it up with a Bosch Shotgun Drift ride along with Gitten himself!

Here’s how the giveaway is going to work. Every person that “likes” us on Facebook from now until September 15, 2011 will get their name added to the drawing (Entrant must reside within the 48 contiguous states, sorry Alaska and Hawaii!). At the end of the contest, we’ll draw one name and that person will win a 2 day/1 night trip to a racetrack to participate in a meet-and-greet and ride-along with Vaughn Gittin, Jr. on October 15-16, 2011.

The prize will also include a GoPro HD Motorsports HERO camera, a set of Bosch Iridium Spark Plugs, and Bosch branded apparel (collared-shirt and cap). To top it off, your private drift session with Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in his custom Ford Mustang will be captured by in-car video and posted on Facebook!

Make sure you check out the full privacy policy and official rules.

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TopSpeed Giveaway: Enter to win tickets to the first round of the 2011 Formula Drift

TopSpeed Giveaway: Enter to win tickets to the first round of the 2011 Formula Drift

Strap on your safety harnesses and get your handbrake ready, the 2011Formula Drift Professional Drifting Championship Series is about to begin and you could be there, cheering from the sidelines for your favorite professional drifter! That’s right, we have six tickets to give away to the first round of the 2011 Formula Drift at Long Beach, CA and all you have to do is tell us why you deserve to be part of the action. It’s that easy!

“Formula DRIFT consistently pushes to grow the sport of drifting and entering our eighth year as a professional series we are proud of where we have been able to take the sport,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “We are fortunate to work with the top venues for motorsports in the nation and provide quality entertainment to fans across the country.”

Prize Courtesy of Formula Drift

Check out all of the details after the jump, including rules, details on how to enter, and the full Formula Drift schedule.

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Formula D Goes to UAE

Formula Drift and Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management are joining forces to bring Formula D to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in what will be an inaugural invitational event. Eight of the series’ top drivers and their cars will be transported to the UAE for what will be the first world-class drift event in the Persian Gulf region.

“The partnership with Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management is a perfect fit to introduce the Formula DRIFT UAE Invitational Competition,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Even though drifting has been to the UAE before, we are excited to bring a world class combination of the world’s most advanced circuit along with the world’s leading drifting series.”

The lucky drivers include 2-time Formula DRIFT champion and 3-time X-Games Gold Medalist Tanner Foust, 2010 Formula DRIFT rookie of the year and past Scandinavian champion, Fredric Aasbo, 2009 Formula DRIFT champion, Chris Forsberg, Darren McNamara, Ryan Tuerck, and Daijiro Yoshihara. Two more spots are still up for grabs and will be announced at a later date. This is exciting for the sport and will mark a historic world first come February 25th next year.

Richard Cregan, Chief Executive Officer of the Yas Marina Circuit had this to say: “I am delighted that motorsports fans in Abu Dhabi and the UAE will get to experience the spectacle of Formula DRIFT at Yas. Drifting will add a new dimension to the range of motorsports offered here and I believe it will attract a large following, just as drag racing has.”

The inaugural event will serve as a perfect pre-season taster for the 2011 championship and provide the drivers with good practice in searing desert temperatures, which should test both man and machine to their limits.

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Video: Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s consistent runs earns him another second place finish at The Gauntlet

Video: Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s consistent runs earns him another second place finish at The Gauntlet

The recently-concluded third round of the 2010 Formula DRIFT season at Wall, New Jersey had its fair share of highlight-reel moments, courtesy of some of the best drifters in the world.

As we’ve already mentioned earlier, Daijiro Yoshihara won his second event in a row after also claiming the top step of the podium at Road Atlanta a month ago. Despite his two-win streak, Yoshihara is still in second place in the Pro Championship leader standings, trailing Vaughn Gittin Jr. by 21 points - 291 to 270 . For his part, Gittin has been anything, but inconsistent, scoring podium finishes on all three races including a first place finish in Long Beach, a second place finish in Road Atlanta, and another second last weekend at The Gauntlet.

In this video, we take a look back at Gittin Jr.’s successful weekend during the third round of the Formula DRIFT series and, even if he didn’t win, his consistent placing in the podium should bode well for him this season.

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Formula Drift New Jersey

Formula Drift New Jersey

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
a show.

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.”

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Rhys Millen nabs first podium finish in Formula Drift

Rhys Millen nabs first podium finish in Formula Drift

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.

Press Release after the jump

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Video: Why Rhys Millen uses Enkei wheels

Video: Why Rhys Millen uses Enkei wheels

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.

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Video: Even more of Dai Yoshihara's Drift IS

Video: Even more of Dai Yoshihara’s Drift IS

Formula D drifter Dai Yoshihara talked to Live Sockets’ cameras at round 1 in Long Beach, well this time the sideways slider from the land of the rising sun talks a little more about his all new ride for 2009.

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Formula D is giving away carbon fiber trophies

Formula D is giving away carbon fiber trophies

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.

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Video: Gensis Coupe testing

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.

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Team Mopar drops their drifting dreams

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.

Continued after the jump.

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Video: Rockstar AEM Scion tC

Video: Rockstar AEM Scion tC

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.

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