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Formula DRIFT arrived at Road Atlanta this weekend for the NAPA Auto Parts: Road to the Championship presented by Rain X. Round Three would be the first time in 2018 that the Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship would run alongside the Formula DRIFT Linked ECU Pro2 Championship. The series was also joined by Global Time Attack and the US F4 championship to give fans an action-packed weekend.

That action leapt into overdrive during Friday qualifying for the Pro category when two familiar faces rose to the top. This included Justin “JTP” Pawlak (USA) qualifying first in his Roush Performance / Falken Tires 2018 Ford Mustang. With 13 years drifting experience, he scored 97 points in qualifying, narrowly beating Daijiro Yoshihara (Japan) in second place. Dai scored 96 points in his Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire Subaru BRZ and is one of a handful of drivers who have been with Formula DRIFT since the series was founded in 2004. The 2011 FD champion held off Fredric Aasbo (Norway), himself the 2015 FD champion, in his Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla. Aasbo recorded a best score of 95 points to put him third. He was placed ahead of James Deane (Ireland), the 2017 FD champion, who also scored 95 points in his Worthouse / Falken Tire Nissan Silvia S15. However, James was awarded fourth by virtue of a lower score on his second run.

To give an indication of the competitive nature of the 2018 Formula DRIFT season, positions five through eight all scored and identical 94 points. In fact, the top 12 drivers were only separated by seven points on their best scoring runs. They were placed according to the combined score from the two permissible qualifying runs, with very little to choose between these top drivers.

Qualifying fifth with two very consistent runs – scoring an identical 94 points each time – was Kristaps Blušs (Latvia) in his HGK Racing Team / Achilles Radial / MAST Motorsports BMW E92 “Eurofighter”. He’s been a professional drifter since 2010 and completed his first full Formula DRIFT season in 2015 when he finished 28th overall. The following year Blušs finished 12th and stepped up to fifth overall in 2017. And with such steady progression through the ranks, it should come as no surprise to students of Formula DRIFT that he won his first event at Road Atlanta in 2018.

The maiden victory for Blušs didn’t come easy. With the field separated by the smallest margin, the competition was among the toughest of any Formula DRIFT event. In fact, there was a record number of “One More Time” runs with 11 called throughout the competition. For those who don’t know, “One More Time” is requested when the judges call for the drivers to repeat their runs because it was impossible to pick a winner from the first runs.

The climb to the top for Blušs began in the Top 32 against Kevin Lawrence (USA) driving his Enjuku Racing / BC Racing Nissan S14.3. Following that victory, his path was blocked by Forrest Wang in his Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15. Wang is back from a one-year sabbatical and finished second at the opening round before standing on the podium twice at the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge. The on-form Wang didn’t make things easy for Blušs. In fact, the judges called for “One More Time” an unprecedented two times.

The Latvian would move on to the Top 8, where he met 2017 Formula DRIFT champ James Deane in yet another Nissan. It was a similarly titanic struggle against Deane that must have had Blušs seeing double because once he’d vanquished the Irishman, Kristaps lined up against Deane’s teammate, Piotr Wiecek (Poland) in an identical Worthouse / Falken Tire Nissan Silvia S15. The intensity continued to mount as Wiecek – currently sitting fourth in the championship – piled on the pressure, determined to reach the final himself. However, the Pole was on the Blušs hitlist and would fall like the drivers before him.

In the Final, Blušs met 2015 FD champion, Fredric Aasbo. The Norwegian drifter is top of the 2018 championship standings thanks to a win and third place in the previous rounds. Driving his brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla, Aasbo had a slightly easier path to the Final thanks to a bye round in the Top 32. He then brushed aside Dan Burkett (USA) in his RAD Industries / Nexen Tire / Toyota Supra in the Top 16, and Chelsea Denofa (USA) in his BC Racing / Nitto Tire / Ford Performance Mustang RTR in the Top 8. The semi-final was against multiple Formula DRIFT champion Chris Forsberg driving his NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z on Nexen Tires. Forsberg put up a valiant fight but couldn’t resist Aasbo, who proved to be unstoppable until the final.

When Blušs met Aasbo it was a meteoric contest. Both drivers committed everything to the struggle and the judges once again requested “One More Time.” It would take one tiny mistake to separate them and eventually the decision went to Blušs.

“I’m exhausted but happy to be covered in champagne,” said Aasbo immediately after stepping from the podium. “This is exactly how I want to be after a night like this. I’m ecstatic that we broke our Atlanta curse – we haven’t done well here since 2012 but today we got on the podium and lost against the guy to beat. Kristaps (Blušs) totally deserved the win. He’s been at it for many years and his car was a rocketship. I’m super-relieved to be on the podium and stoked to extend my lead in the championship.”

For Kristaps Blušs it was an emotional moment to finally claim a Formula DRIFT Pro category win. “It feels really great to have achieved this. I had two One More Times against Wang before battling both Worthouse guys, who are crazy good. Fortunately, my Achilles tires performed well and I got to the Final with Fredric Aasbo. I’d battled with him five times before and always lost but finally I beat him. It feels crazy to be standing here and I’m going to try to maintain the momentum for the rest of the season.”

The excitement of Formula DRIFT Atlanta was summed up by FD president, Jim Liaw. “Road Atlanta never fails to excite. The fans are amazing and contribute so much to the energy of the event. What they bring is contagious and the drivers feel it – you see it on-track with amazing competition, which gave the judges a really hard time to pick a winner from some of the battles. This is why Road Atlanta has been on our calendar for the last 15 years. It’s a great place and the fans are awesome.”

Round Four: The Gauntlet takes place in Wall, NJ on June 1-2. Visit for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles and Livestream information.

Road Atlanta hosted the opening round of the 2018 Link ECU Formula DRIFT Pro2 Championship. A full field battled for the top step of the podium and Travis Reeder (USA) put everybody on notice by qualifying first in his Achilles Radial Nissan 240SX. He would defeat Crick Filippi (USA) in his Fitzgerald Glider Kits / Nexen Tire USA Nissan S13 in the Top 16 run-off, and then Kelsey Rowlings in his Top 1 Oil / Achilles Radial Nissan S14 in the Top 8. Travis’ run would eventually be halted by second place qualifier, Dylan Hughes (USA) in his Advanced Auto Parts / Nexen Tire Nissan S13.

For his part, Hughes had to overcome Adam Knapik (Poland) in the Knapik Racing / Achilles Radial Nissan S14 in the Top 16 before meeting Kenric Meyer (USA) in his BC Racing / Achilles Radial BMW M3 in the Top 8.

Hughes would eventually lose the final to Ola Jaeger (Norway) who was driving his Team Japan Auto / Nexen Tire Toyota Supra. Having qualified fourth, Ola first met Trenton Beechum (USA) in the Roush Performance / Nexen Tire Ford Mustang. Trenton had finished third in the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge in Long Beach last month but couldn’t hold off Jaeger, who would subsequently beat Andy Hately (USA) in the Hateley Motorsports / Achilles Radial / BMW E30 before reaching and defeating Dylan Hughes in the Final.

“It’s been a long day,” said a relieved Ola Jaeger after the Link ECU Pro2 podium celebrations. “I had been a little concerned coming into the weekend but my confidence increased battle by battle. I’m delighted to have beaten Dylan (Hughes), who is among the best in the Pro2. To win each of those battles felt unreal, and I’m delighted to be standing here after the team worked so hard all winter. We’re really looking forward to the remainder of the season and hope for continued success.”

Jim Liaw, Formula DRIFT president, was also extremely happy with the outcome: “After developing the Pro2 category for so many seasons, it’s really hitting its stride now. Last season ended well with tough, close competition, and today’s Top 16 was super-exciting and competitive, which is a great sign for the future of the Link ECU Pro2 Championship. We’re definitely looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Round Two of the Link ECU Pro2 Championship takes place at Round Six of the Formula DRIFT series in St Louis, MO on August 10-11. Pro2 then moves on to Dallas, TX on September 14-15 and culminates at the series Finals in Irwindale, CA on October 12-13.

Visit for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles and Livestream information.


Top 16 finishing places from FD Atlanta

To view the Top 32 finishers, click here:
Top FivePro Championship standings after three rounds

To view the 2018 Pro Championship standings, click here:

Top Five Pro2Championship standings after one round

To view the 2018 Pro2 Championship standings, click here:

Top FiveAuto Cup standings after three rounds

To view the 2018 Auto Cup standings, click here:
Tire Cup standings after three rounds

To view the 2018 Tire Cup standings, click here:

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Third-straight Formula Drift podium for Fredric Aasbo

From Papadakis Racing

Driver leads points after Road Atlanta as series approaches mid-season

BRASELTON, Georgia (May 13, 2018) – Fredric Aasbo earned another podium at Road Atlanta this weekend, facing down fierce rivals to reach the final round. Aasbo has now stood on every step of the podium this year and leads the championship points as the 2018 season approaches its mid-point.

“I am ecstatic to break the curse here at Road Atlanta and beat some heavy hitters,” said Aasbo, who has earned mixed results on the challenging road course over the past several years. “I feel great and I am absolutely worn out.”

Aasbo landed in second after the final head-to-head battle of the night against rival Kristaps Bluss went to a One More Time round.

“Kristaps and I have a history of going all out against each other. We end up with pushed in doors and scarred race cars,” said Aasbo. “When you get a One More Time against the fastest car and most hungry driver in the sport, you know it’s going to be an amazing battle.”

The fans who packed into Road Atlanta were thrilled to see the competition come down to a no-holds-barred rematch between the two drivers. In the end, Aasbo would record a second-place result and extend his lead in the championship points.

Aasbo is the most-winning driver in Formula Drift history, but he has never earned victory at Road Atlanta. Balancing blistering performance against the risk of error paved his way to the podium this year.

Earlier, Aasbo locked in the No. 3 qualifying position to earn a bye past the opening bracket. In the Top 16, he received a unanimous decision to advance past Dan Burkett and then faced down Chelsea Denofa in the Great 8. He battled past champion Chris Forsberg to reach the final.

“It was great to see Fredric have a redemption at this track to extend our points lead,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “The top-three drivers in the standings are all champions and we have to bring our A-game to every round.”

The Atlanta event saw a typically packed house, and a lively online audience tuned in worldwide to enjoy the action. Recently released attendance numbers from last month’s opener showed 20,000 fans filled the seats of Long Beach, with 1.7 million tune-ins to the series’ popular livestream. Packaged content picked up another three million views across social channels including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.

Next, the series celebrates its 100th event in Wall, New Jersey (June 1-2). Aasbo has won twice in New Jersey, scoring his first career victory there in 2014 and following it up with another win in 2015, en route to the championship title that year.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world. Fans of Formula Drift can watch live stream coverage of the series online, or catch the broadcast coverage on the CBS Sports Network.

Third podium in three rounds for Fredric Aasbo at Road Atlanta this weekend.
(Photo: Larry Chen / Toyota Racing)

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Forrest Wang: Atlanta Qualifying

Forrest Wang qualified 12th Friday Night at Formula Drift Round 3 – Atlanta
Click on the images to view the 90 point qualifying run video

Forrest scored an 86 on his first qualifying run and bettered it on his 2nd qualifying run laying with a 90. The score earned him the 12th qualifying spot, placing him in the bracket against Jeff Jones in Top 32 Competition.

The Formula Drift live stream will be broadcasting the Top 32 starting at 4:30 EST.
Watch Here –

Car Title
The Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations – Nissan s15/s14

Vapetasia / Get Nuts Lab

Garret Nicholich – Crew Chief
Jeff Woodruff – Mechanic 1
Jake Hakaraia – Mechanic 2
Kyle Leblanc – Tuner
Joe Tardiff – Spotter
Nicholas Dizon – Team Manager

Achilles 123s

Competition Clutch – 215 Ceramic Twin

Andrews w/ Get Nuts Lab Bell-housing adapter

Winters Quick Change IRC

Winmax Pads w/ Get Nuts Lab rear dual caliper brackets

2F Performance / Super Doof
Three Piece US / SSR Vienna Courage
Big Country Labs / 1850 Wing

NRG Forrest Wang EditionWheel
NRG RS 600 FIA / HANS Seat
NRG SPH-RS 6pc – FIA Harness

Toyota 2jz-VVTI
Supplied by JDM of California
Built by Universal Machine
Turbo By Honeywell GTX3584rs
Brian Crower Internals/Valvetrain
OCD Ported VVTI Head

Haltech 2500 Elite ECU

BC Racing ZR Threeway Coilovers w/ Swift Springs,
Wisefab Angle Kit w. Wisefab Crossmember

Fuel System:
Powered by VP Racing Fuels Q16
Radium Multi Pump FST
Radium Multi Pump Regulator
ATI Fuel Cell

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Fredric Aasbo has score to settle with Road Atlanta


Driver aims for third podium in a row at challenging track

BRASELTON, Georgia (May 8, 2018) — The most winning driver in Formula Drift has a score to settle with Road Atlanta. Eleven-time event winner Fredric Aasbo is hoping to claim his first victory on the challenging road course this weekend at Round 3 of the 2018 Formula Drift Championship season.

“Road Atlanta has always been my favourite track but it’s the only event we’ve never won,” said Aasbo, who scored a personal best second-place result there in 2014. “The last two years we gambled and lost, so we need to focus on fundamentals and be really precise.”

Aasbo is hoping to extend his early season momentum after starting the year with a win at the Long Beach opener and following that up with a third-place result in Orlando.

The driver said that despite an uneven history at Road Atlanta, the event remains one of his favorite stops on the calendar because of the incredible tailgate experience it offers fans. “I think it’s going to be a party,” he said. “I’m really excited to go to Atlanta and see our friends and fans.”

The Formula Drift layout at the track offers an elevation change that requires drivers to deliver a combination of finesse and aggression. “Road Atlanta is about having great grip, more than just big horsepower,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “Our Nexen tires are very competitive and we’re fine tuning the setup to make sure Fredric gets the most out of the car.”

The Road Atlanta course starts with a steep downhill that pushes drivers toward the third-turn keyhole feature. On exit, there’s a long acceleration zone before a final turn that sends vehicles smoking back up the hill. Managing tire wear while pushing to the limit will test every driver on the entry list. High temperatures are forecast for the event weekend.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world. Fans of Formula Drift can watch live stream coverage of the series online, or catch the broadcast coverage on the CBS Sports Network.

Fredric Aasbo has a score to settle with Road Atlanta this weekend.
(Photo: Larry Chen / Toyota Racing)

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10 Things Learned From Formula Drift Orlando

Written by Joey Redmond of Wrecked Magazine

10. Dean Kearney Had Best Chase of the Weekend

The best chase of the Formula Drift weekend was Dean Kearny against Alex Heilbrunn in the Top 32! I just went back and watched it on the recommendation of someone else and it blew me away. I think I forgot about how well he performed since it was so early in the weekend. I really do love Dean’s commitment and dedication to the chase run he has developed in that Dodge Viper. It was one of the last battles in Top 32 if you want to pull it up and enjoy. What a great return to Formula Drift he’s making after missing Long Beach with engine issues.

9. The Frenemies Rivalry Could Use A Little More Rivalry

For those not keeping score at home Odi Bakchis has 4 wins and 0 losses against Matt Field in his Formula Drift career. I think the Frenemies video series by Donut Media is solid but every true rivalry needs two people who win. I really want to see Matt Field take home his first victory against Odi in the Corvette. Hopefully they can meet this season again! Matt Field pushed his Corvette way harder this weekend and looked way more confident in the Corvette from Long Beach.

8. Should the Cone Rule Be Analyzed a Bit?

I’m a little torn adding this mention because it seems irrelevant in the grand scheme of things but when it comes to the banked starting tracks (Orlando and Wall) it seems cone touching happens very frequently. The extreme bad side of this restart is what happened in Top 32 with Vaughn Gittin Jr. smashing right into the back of Chris Forsberg. Luckily, both drivers could continue on but how much of a cone touch really warrants a restart flag? If they indented that first cone in about 5mm I think most drivers would have missed tapping it completely. I didn’t 100% verify this but by memory I think every driver who tapped the first cone and got a restart also won their battle. A bit of an ice the kicker situation perhaps?

7. Matt Van Kirk Is A Potential Rising Star but I Cannot Be Sure

The other standout rookie on my radar is Matt Van Kirk this season. He took an easy pass into the Top 16 since Michael Essa couldn’t get his BMW to the line in time to compete with mechanical issues. His Top 16 opponent was once again Fredric Aasbo in his Toyota Corolla. Can we give this rookie a break? He has two losses in Formula Drift this season and both are against Fredric Asabo! I’m waiting for him to draw an easier opponent in Road Atlanta so we can see him show off his potential a little more. He currently sits 17th in the championship and is just one point behind ROTY leader Dirk Stratton.

6. The World Sold Short On the Deane v. Wang Battle Again

Every Silvia/240sx owner in the world just wants to see the two legends of the S-Chassis do battle and it once again didn’t live up to the hype. In Long Beach, Deane suffered a DNF from his previous crash and couldn’t come to the line against Wang. This time, the battle happened but Wang hits the wall in his lead run and his car shuts off coming down from the bank ending the battle. Hopefully before this season ends we can see a no holds bared battle royale between these two legendary S-Chassis competitors.

5. A Three Way Championship Race is Looking On for 2018

I KNOW only two rounds of eight are in the books but I think a potential three way championship race can be on our hands this season. A 32 points gap has already developed between 3rd and 4th place while 3rd place to 1st place is just 20 points. The three-way championship chase looks like it will be between Aasbo, Deane, and Forsberg at this point in time. Aasbo currently holds the championship lead but has never won at Road Atlanta in his career, while both Forsberg and Deane have taken home a victory there. Looking down the road, I think the real championship wild card will be Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis so don’t forget to miss that weekend as well. New tracks also bring up new challenges and it is interesting to see which driver can rise to that occasion.

4. OSW Continues to be A War of Attrition

Say what you want about this little old oval east of Orlando, Florida but it really puts a hurting on the cars. Quite a few of the tandem battles on the weekend ended up being lack luster due to the war of attrition at hand. Tires were running out of grip towards the end of battles, people were crashing into the bank, and just breaking overall at an accelerated pace on the weekend. I like these hurdles it throws more challenges at a race team than just driving the best all weekend. A championship should show you could overcome every obstacle on top of performing the best as a driver. Several big name teams got caught not managing tires and other issues that left them behind on the day. The good news for most teams is Road Atlanta tends to see less mechanical wear so being the best drifter on the night in Atlanta will rely more heavily on driving skill than strategy.

3. The RTR Mustangs Need A Good Road Atlanta

The poor RTR Mustang duo of Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Chelsea DeNofa has had a really rough start to the season. DeNofa sits currently in 16th place while Vaughn sits in 19th place not too far behind him. Vaughn took a tough loss to Forsberg in the Top 32 and DeNofa couldn’t even get his Mustang to the line for competition after a mechanical issue. I want to see both of these guys banging doors and competing at a high level so let’s hope Vaughn can channel his 2014/2016 season in Atlanta where he managed to take home the win under the lights to put this season back on track.

2. Forsberg’s Victory Highlights How Impressive Aasbo’s Legacy Really Is

While I know the big story should be Chris Forsberg’s return to victory lane (see #1), I think one of the biggest stories here should be Fredric Aasbo. Fredric currently is the most winning driver in Formula Drift history with 10 wins but one interesting fact makes this way more impressive. When Chris Forsberg won his last event (Long Beach 2014) Fredric Aasbo had zero event victories. ZERO! Yes, in the time Chris Forsberg took to win one event the young Norwegian has won 10 events. If you are a numbers nerd, that means Fredric Aasbo has won an event every 139 days since he started off with his first victory at Wall Speedway. That number is made even more impressive when you consider an event only takes place an average of every 46 days a year. A big round of applause is owed to Aasbo and his Papadakis Racing team for this one.

1. It Only Took 1,485 Days

That is how many days it has been since Chris Forsberg stood on top of the podium box and won an event. He even managed to win a championship in 2016 without ever winning a single round of Formula Drift. You have to wonder if that is how many sleepless nights he has had wondering if he will ever win again? This victory sets him up with 9 total, putting him at a tie with Sam Hubinette and Vaughn Gittin Jr. for the second most winning driver in Formula Drift history. An even more alarming stat is that since his last victory Chris Forsberg has stood on the podium 14 times in either 2nd or 3rd place. Orlando seems like a fitting place for him to take home his big victory after the fire suppression drama in 2015 eliminated him from competing in the final against Ryan Tuerck and taking second place.


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Fredric Aasbo third in Orlando

ORLANDO, Florida (April 29, 2018) – This weekend saw another podium finish for Fredric Aasbo as he snagged the top qualifying position and advanced through the Formula Drift competition ladder to score third place in the brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

“To debut a new car with back-to-back podium finishes is incredible,” said Aasbo following the Round 2 champagne ceremony in Orlando, Florida. “These results say a lot about the whole team and are a credit to the fantastic support we get from Rockstar Energy Drink, Toyota, and Nexen Tire.”

The driver crushed qualifying on Friday, earning a 97 on his first run and topping the leaderboard with a 99 on his second. The score earned him a bye into the Top 16, where he advanced cleanly past rookie Matt Vankirk and closed proximity on Ken Gushi in the Great 8 to move into the Final 4.

There, he lined up against multi-time champion Chris Forsberg in a battle of titans. Aasbo drove a strong lead run but lost ground on the chase. The battle was one of the narrowest of the event and judges deemed the result too close to call, setting up a One-More-Time battle.

“I knew Chris would do well when I saw he was coming back onto Nexen tires this year,” said Aasbo. “He’s really able to make the most of the power and I had a hard time chasing him down. He was on rails all day.”

Back-to-back podiums for Fredric Aasbo. All-new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback is third in Orlando. (PHOTO: Larry Chen, Toyota Racing)

The Orlando Speed World track configuration started with steep banking before drivers dropped down through a rough transition onto an infield flat. In the One-More-Time re-run, Aasbo lost ground to his rival through the transition and locked in a third place result.

Aasbo opened the season last month with a win in Long Beach, California. The pair of strong performances from the brand-new vehicle is a remarkable achievement for the Papadakis Racing team.

“I really can’t think of a better way to start the season than with back-to-back podium results,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “We know we have huge untapped potential in this Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback and it’s already proven super-strong in competition. Now it’s just down to setup changes for our next event.”

The next event is approaching fast. The series moves to Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, for Round 3 in just two weeks’ time (May 11-12). Although Aasbo is the most winning driver in Formula Drift history, with 11 career victories, he is still looking for his first win at the challenging Road Atlanta track. His best career finish there came in 2014, when he earned a second-place result.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world.

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Fredric Aasbo ready for Orlando

ORLANDO, Florida (April 26, 2018) – Fredric Aasbo is ready for the tricky Orlando Speed World track as Formula Drift makes its way east to the Sunshine State this Friday and Saturday for Round 2 of the 2018 championship.

The driver returns to series competition after a strong start to the season. He drove his brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback to victory three weeks ago at the opener in Long Beach, California. The result raised his total career wins tally to 11 — more than any other driver in Formula Drift history.

With back-to-back Orlando wins in 2016 and 2017, Aasbo is a heavy favorite this weekend. Even so, he remains focused heading into the event. A heartbreaker of a 2015 run there saw the usually consistent driver eliminated from competition in the Top 32. “I’ve seen my share of ups and downs in Orlando,” he said. “That 2015 defeat was a big turning point I’ll never forget: It taught me how to drive the track.”

The driver ultimately fought back to win the championship title that year.

The Formula Drift track configuration at Orlando Speed World features a steep banked first corner with a bumpy and challenging transition to a figure-eight on the flat. Managing the rough transition at speed, door-to-door with a rival, separates the field as the best advance through the knockout competition.

Weather is typically a factor at this event and near-record heat is expected this weekend. High temperatures and humidity can sap engine power and put drivers under tremendous strain.

Despite forecasts, however, locals know that rain is always a possibility.

Grandstand tickets are still available, while the event will be available to watch on the popular series livestream.

The team is feeling optimistic after the Papadakis Racing built Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback won its maiden event.

“Toyota trusted our team to be the first to work with their new Corolla Hatchback and we’re thrilled with how the car performed,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “We’ll continue to make small changes based on what we learn every time we take it into competition but to debut with a win shows incredible potential in the new car.”

Since Long Beach, the team has been busy refining the new build, as well as travelling to Dallas and Arizona for Toyota appearances that have given Aasbo the chance to put in some extra time behind the wheel.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world.

Fredric Aasbo heads into Formula Drift Orlando following a win at the season opener earlier this month. (Photo: Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

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