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6 Places That Could Replace Irwindale Speedway Once it Shuts Down

NateHamilton.IrwindaleSpeedway

I wrote an article last week about the future of Irwindale Speedway which you can read here if you want to know what the facts I was able to gather from various sources on what the future holds for the House of Drift. For the time being, the track is standing and operational but the future is not promising for this icon of American drifting. I put some serious thought into what Formula Drift will do once the track turns into a shopping mall and came up with these six realistic options.

D1GPdriversSearch.JICMagic
1. California Speedway in Fontana, California
The reality is that California Speedway is the only other large racing venue in Southern California that can house 20,000 people and provide a track event. California Speedway has been host to a D1GP Drivers Search back in 2004 and a JGTC weekend drift event on the infield. I think this is the most likely alternative for Formula Drift but it will be far from a turn key operation for them. The place needs grandstands moved onto the infield regardless of where they want to drift and the walk from the parking lot will be a HIKE. Let’s also not forget about how much hotter the weather can get in Fontana even though the tracks are 35 miles apart. My guess is they would setup a course on the infield (hopefully not the old JGTC course because it sucked) and build the event around whatever area they want to use.

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2. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona
If I made this list before the 2015 SEMA Show I wouldn’t of had this track on my 12 Places to replace Irwindale Speedway list. However, Formula Drift added the Pro 2 finals here for 2016 and you have to consider they are test piloting this race facility for future expansion. Why else would they be rolling into Arizona and splitting off Pro 2 to have its own final? I have the least amount of personal knowledge with this venue but it seems like successful events have happened here such as the Turbo by Garrett event called Boostfest. Not sure how setup and layout would work but I imagine this venue is near the top of the list regardless of these issues. Saying this venue has proximity to Southern California is a stretch at a solid 6 hour drive for most fans in the area.

MattPowers.TopQualfier.LasVegas
3. Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada
A grand return to the City of Sin seems like a natural fit for the series. By their own records, they pulled in around 16,000 fans to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the past before leaving the venue and region for Texas. The event took place at night during August and still maintained a heat index of well over 100 degrees. I was always a voice shouting for an earlier in the year Las Vegas drift event but who knows what the cards would hold if they return. The Vegas scene is a strong one with frequent events hosted by Vegas Drift and now Street Driven Tour is throwing down every September at LVMS. I can see fans traveling to this one with the couple hour drive from SoCal along with the added bonus of a fun weekend in Vegas.


LongBeach
4. Turn the Motegi Drift Challenge into Another Formula Drift Pro Round
If you had to double down on a weekend in the Formula Drift calendar, the Long Beach weekend isn’t a bad choice. Right now, the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend is done as a $25,000 demo during the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend and run at night. The Formula Drift Long Beach Round 1 weekend keeps selling out so why not just make these events Long Beach Round 1 and 2 of the series. Round 1 run during the day and Round 2 run at night the week afterward. It wouldn’t be as glamorous as the setup now but it keeps two Southern California drift events in a prime location moving forward into the future. The big problem I see here is the logistics of the LBGP weekend and complications with ticket sales/parking/vendors since another major event is already happening at the same time. If Formula Drift really wanted to make it work then I think they could sort out this option.

FormulaDriftSonoma
5. A Return to Northern California with Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California
I was personally never a fan of this track configuration when Formula Drift ran it but with the powerful cars of today it might be an interesting return. The only perfect qualifying run in Formula Drift history was done here by Tanner Foust so the track has some pedigree. I also think with the help of NorCal locals such as Faruk Kugay and Matt Field the area has grown as a drifting community. Sonoma Raceway does weekly drift events in the parking lot, runs a competitive drift series, and hosts an end of year event called Winter Jam that brings in a ton of drivers. If you look at it distance wise, this venue is about the same as the Phoenix venue travel wise for Southern California fans. I wouldn’t mind seeing this as an option as I love the area and venue but the hotel prices are unreal due to the track being smack in Wine Country.

QualcommStadium.SanDiego

6. Convert a Sports Stadium in Southern California 
The last and least likely option I think Formula Drift has is to convert a local sports stadium into a track for the weekend. They have been doing it in China and from a visual standpoint it looks pretty amazing. Part of me thinks that Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego is the best option since the place is dead during the summer. Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium I think are out the window due to baseball season running during the same time as Formula Drift. Perhaps they can use some of the other random venues around Los Angeles like the Coliseum? This is by far the most exciting prospects on my list but carries the highest cost to execute. This idea seems far fetched to some but it is happening with Chinese drift events already along with Supercross/Monster Jam are already doing this locally. This has to at least be something Formula Drift is considering for the future in Southern California. What venue do you think would work best for a setup like this?

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Article source: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2016/02/08/6-places-that-could-replace-irwindale-speedway-once-it-shuts-down/


Toyota to Carry on Formula Drift and Chase Back to Back Championship

FredricAasbo

The former Scion brand and Ken Gushi has taken to the Internet and announced that they will be racing in 2016. It will be interesting to see if this corporate restructure takes a hit on budget and limits the programs of Aasbo or Gushi. Ken Gushi did confirm that he will still receive support for Formula Drift in 2016 with his Tweet posted below. I think Aasbo is set for a repeat championship or Gushi could easily land his first Formula Drift championship under the big caveat of what will change with each program and the money coming into it.

KenGushi

Article source: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2016/02/03/toyota-to-carry-on-formula-drift-and-chase-back-to-back-championship/


Scion Brand to Transition to Toyota

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TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 3, 2016 – Scion, established as a separate brand in 2003 as a laboratory to explore new products and processes to attract youth customers, is now transitioning back to the Toyota brand. Scion achieved its goals of developing unique products and processes, and bringing in new, younger customers to Toyota. With more than a million cars sold, 70 percent of Scions were purchased by customers new to Toyota and 50 percent were under 35 years old.

“This isn’t a step backward for Scion; it’s a leap forward for Toyota. Scion has allowed us to fast track ideas that would have been challenging to test through the Toyota network,” said Jim Lentz, founding vice president of Scion and now CEO, Toyota Motor North America. “I was there when we established Scion and our goal was to make Toyota and our dealers stronger by learning how to better attract and engage young customers. I’m very proud because that’s exactly what we have accomplished.

“We could not have achieved the success we have had without the incredible support of Scion’s customers, dealers and team members, so supporting them throughout this transition process will be one of our top priorities,” said Lentz.

Toyota’s decision was made in response to customers’ needs. Today’s younger buyers still want fun-to-drive vehicles that look good, but they are also more practical. They, like their parents, have come to appreciate the Toyota brand and its traditional attributes of quality, dependability and reliability. At the same time, new Toyota vehicles have evolved to feature the dynamic styling and handling young people desire.

Scion has consistently been the youngest brand in the auto industry with an average age of 36 years old. At 29, the tC sports coupe has the lowest-average age buyer in the industry. The most recent additions to the line-up, the iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback, are bringing in new buyers with 70 percent being first-time new car purchasers. Additionally, more than 50 percent of iM and iA buyers are under 35 years old.

As part of the brand transition, beginning in August 2016, MY17 Scion vehicles will be rebadged as Toyotas. The FR-S sports car, iA sedan and iM 5-door hatchback will become part of the Toyota family. The tC sports coupe will have a final release series edition and end production in August 2016. The C-HR, which recently debuted at the L.A. Auto Show, will be a part of the Toyota line-up.

The service and repair process for Scion customers will be unaffected by this change as customers will continue to visit Toyota dealerships’ service departments.

“We appreciate our 1,004 Scion dealers and the support they’ve given the brand,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations. “We believe our dealers have gained valuable insights and have received a strong return on their investment. During this time of transition, we will work closely with them to support this process and help communicate this change to customers.”

Scion’s 22 dedicated team members, who represent sales, marketing, distribution, strategy, and product and accessories planning, will have the opportunity to take on new jobs at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. in Torrance. Scion regional representatives will assume different responsibilities in their respective Toyota sales offices.

“Scion has had some amazing products over the years and our current vehicles are packed with premium features at value prices,” said Andrew Gilleland, Scion vice president. “It’s been a great run and I’m proud that the spirit of Scion will live on through the knowledge and products soon to be available through the Toyota network.”

Scion Accomplishments:

Scion Processes – Scion served as a laboratory for products and key sales and marketing processes that have provided valuable lessons for other Toyota brands:

  • Pure Pricing – dealers set a price for a car and customers did not need to negotiate
  • Mono-Spec cars – providing cars with only two options: transmission and color
  • Personalization – offering a large array of accessories to help customers customize their vehicles
  • Pure Process – transparent financing process
  • Pure Process Plus – an online system so much of the car-purchase process could be completed online
  • Scion Service Boost – pre-paid maintenance plan
  • Release Series – dynamic life cycle management through special features and options
  • Grassroots marketing – initial Scion brand was “discovered” by customers through unique events

Scion Products — Scion has had some outstanding products that have made an impact in the industry including the original “box,” the xB and the FR-S affordable sports car. The tC sports coupe has consistently attracted the youngest buyer in the industry.

Scion Executives — Scion served as an important training ground for Toyota vice presidents, many of whom have been promoted to other roles:

  • Jim Lentz — Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Motor North America
  • Mark Templin – Managing Officer, Toyota Motor Corporation, Executive Vice President, Lexus International
  • Jack Hollis – Group Vice President, Toyota Marketing
  • Doug Murtha – Group Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Planning, Toyota Motor North America
  • Andrew Gilleland – current Vice President, Scion

Click here to read the full Press Release

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2016/behind-the-scenes/scion-brand-to-transition-to-toyota/


Official Statement Regarding Scion Announcement

©2015 Formula Drift Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved. Designed and developed by The ID Agency, The Official Marketing Partner of FD.

Article source: http://news.formulad.com/2016/fd-news/official-statement-regarding-scion-announcement/



Scion Wins Championship and Goes Out of Business

Aasbo-Texas-2015

I was just told the news tonight that Scion (under Toyota) in America has closed its doors for the last time. The struggling “youth” brand failed to really deliver a car the consumers wanted and after 13 years it has left the market. This hits home in Formula Drift in a big way as the championship team was a factory backed Scion program. Drivers such as Ken Gushi and Fredric Aasbo could find a big hit to the budget coming into 2017.

KenGushi.RyanTuerck

Scion will be remembered for brilliant marketing strategies much more than its subpar car offering. The 2015 season brought 56,167 total car sales in for the whole brand. Without the Scion FR-S under its umbrella – I imagine the brand would be in much worse shape numbers wise. If Toyota wants to continue marketing inside Formula Drift I suggest they should look more towards how Ford has pushed into the market.

Source: CarBuzzard

Article source: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2016/02/03/scion-wins-championship-and-goes-out-of-business/


Fredric Aasbo Reflects on his 2016 Championship [VIDEO]

Fredric Aasbo won the championship with the smallest engine in the Formula Drift series. He talks about some tricks with his Borgwarner turbo setup and how he loves drifting. I am starting to think Fredric Aasbo can win a second championship in 2016 if his team is focused and his great setup holds together.

Article source: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2016/02/02/fredric-aasbo-reflects-on-his-2016-championship-video/



2016 D1NZ Round 3 at Taupo [RESULTS]

NicoReid.D1NZ

It turns out that Nico Reid might prove to be unstoppable at D1NZ this season. He takes home a second victory in a row after dominating the competition at ASB last week. Fanga Dan got a little aggressive in his tandem chase run trying to run through and over a Nissan Silvia in the process. The whole stream of the event is still available here if you want to check out how the action happened at D1NZ Round 3.

 

Here is how they finished:
1st – Nico Reid
2nd – Cole Armstrong
3rd – Bruce Tannock

Article source: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2016/02/01/2016-d1nz-round-3-at-taupo-results/


TXSL Offers the Best Prize in American Drift History

TXSL.Japan.Drifting

If you are drifting for the grand prize in a series you probably quit 15 years ago. The events are really based upon glory hunting, the thrill of victory, and feeling good about winning a competition. Some of the local and Am series offer great free products that help younger drivers and teams along in their career path. Holley’s LS Fest offers a huge prize for winning it’s Chevy V8 only Top 16 in Kentucky which I consider one of the best events in America.

However, Aaron Losey’s TX Street Legal series has offered the best prize in American drifting history. The fact that Formula Drift offers an embarrassing low payout compared against what running an event cost and the money they also rack up in driver fees. In fact, they did offer free transport to the World Championship round in China but it was canceled before a container left port. I am mostly excited for drivers about this deal because I know that Aaron and his organization will see it out and make this pie in the sky prize a reality for someone. For someone to replicate this package – I would imagine they are looking at $25,000 easy.

So for the winner of the 2016 TXSL series, they will get to make a choice when they win the series.

1. A prize package that includes 1 plane ticket to Japan, and a D1SL experience where they get to compete in a single round of D1SL in a prepped car during the 2017 season at Ebisu on the Minami track. That is the famous jump track at Ebisu! A small disclaimer, while D1SL has agreed to give us a D1SL license for the winner of the TXSL Series, they reserve the right to refuse anyone to the series. Our buddy Yokoi is in charge of all this for us with his connections with D1SL, so we have to keep him impressed with your ability to not embarrass us. Don’t embarrass us.

2. Plan B is even more exciting in my mind, but I know Plan A gets people super fired up, so I wanted to give people a couple choices. Plan B is a plane ticket to Japan, and a car waiting for your drifting fun at Ebisu for an entire week, along with 20 tires to destroy!

Article source: http://www.wreckedmagazine.com/blog/2016/01/28/txsl-offers-the-best-prize-in-american-drift-history/


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