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Racing News: Papadakis Racing Returns to Formula Drift

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Fredric Aasbo recently visited the SEMA Garage to photograph the new Rockstar Energy, Hankook Tires Scion tC.

Papadakis Racing Returns to Formula Drift With Rockstar Energy Drink

Last week, Papadakis Racing and driver Fredric Aasbo unveiled the new yellow, black and gray color scheme on their 800-plus-hp ’15 Rockstar Energy Drink/Hankook Tire Scion tC. The 2015 Formula Drift season starts this weekend with the Streets of Long Beach competition, April 10–11. Driver Aasbo enters the 2015 season as an early favorite for the title. Runner-up in the 2014 Formula Drift championship, he earned the "Top Gun" award for having the highest battle win rate, and the "Ace Driver" nod for having the best overall winning percentage. The Norwegian driver campaigns a full international competition calendar and also won the Formula Drift Asia championship last year. The seven-round Formula Drift championship begins with qualifying on Friday, April 10 in Long Beach, California, followed by Saturday's main event.

VP Racing Fuels and Road Atlanta Announce Multi-Year Partnership; VP Named Official Fuel for DRO Nostalgia Nitro Challenge

VP Racing Fuels Inc. and Road Atlanta have announced a multi-year partnership that will make VP the new official fuel of the road-racing circuit in Braselton, Georgia. As the Official Fuel of Road Atlanta, the track’s fuel station and gas pumps located in the north paddock dispense VP’s C9, VP110 and C12 race fuel blends. These fuels will be accessible year-long to the many competitors and car clubs that visit Road Atlanta.

VP has also been named the “Official Fuel of the DRO Nostalgia Nitro Challenge” for this season. Under the agreement, VP will deliver nitromethane and alcohol fuels to competitors at all six events on the Hedman Husler Hedders Nostalgia Nitro Challenge presented by Comp Cams 2015 schedule.

After trail riding at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, Justin Pawlak will compete in the Streets of Long Beach this weekend.

WELD Drift Series Driver Justin Pawlak to Open the Season on the Streets of Long Beach

WELD’s new partnership with Justin Pawlak for the 2015 race season will take the professional Formula Drift series driver from the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, to the streets of Long Beach for the season’s first race. At the Streets of Long Beach this weekend, Pawlak will pilot a ’14 Ford Mustang. He changed the car's color scheme this year to a satin black and what he describes as more of an old hot-rod or “rat-rod” look.

Lucas Oil Named Official Oil of the 2015 Festival of Speed

Lucas Oil Products Inc. will be a major event sponsor, and has been named the official oil of the 2015 Festival of Speed at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, April 11–12. The two-day California Festival of Speed is the Porsche and exotic car enthusiasts' dream weekend.

Formula DRIFT Announces Gumout Sponsorship for 2015 Season

Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro has announced a sponsorship with Gumout for the 2015 Pro Championship season. Gumout will launch the “You Get My Drift” sweepstakes at Round 1: Streets of Long Beach; the winner will take home a brand-new custom ’15 Ford Mustang RTR. Gumout supports the 2010 Formula DRIFT champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and will increase their presence on Gittin’s Ford Mustang RTR.

Falken Tire Launches Extensive Motorsports Program

From local SCCA autocross events to the highest levels of North American road racing and off-road competition, Falken Tire has launched its most diverse and extensive motorsports program in the history of the company. The racing action will continue with the addition of several new initiatives targeted especially at grassroots motorsports enthusiasts. At the heart of Falken’s motorsports programs are the Falken AZENIS line of ultra-high performance tires and the Falken WILDPEAK line of light truck tires.

Falken Tire’s 2015 motorsports program includes:

  • IMSA United SportsCar Series (TUSC)
  • Formula DRIFT
  • Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)
  • Pro Touring
  • Ultra 4 Series
  • SCORE International
  • Best in the Desert
  • W.E. Rock Crawling Championship
  • Rally Aicha Des Gazelles du Muroc 
The 15th Annual SCT NMRA Ford Nationals is returning to Budds Creek, Maryland, May 1–3.

World's Fastest Fords Take Over Maryland, May 1–3

The 15th Annual SCT NMRA Ford Nationals, presented by is coming back to Budds Creek, Maryland, May 1–3, and will feature an all-Ford car show, vendor midway, swap meet and burnout contests. The NMRA Keystone Automotive Ford Nationals has classes for all levels of racers from 200+ mph VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaws to tire-burning Edelbrock Renegade and ProCharger Coyote Modified. The street-legal HP Tuners True Street class, presented by Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, gives everyone a chance to test their car's quarter-mile speeds no matter their level of racing prowess. There will be an SVT-only event during the 3rd Annual SVT Shootout presented by VMP Superchargers has stepped up once again to sponsor the Terminator/GT500 Shootout class that brings together some of the quickest Cobras and GT500s in the country for a winner-take-all format. The final goal is to make it to the Aerospace Components Winner's Circle.

Yokohama Tire Corp. Goes Drifting for Fourth Consecutive Season

Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) is returning for the fourth consecutive Formula Drift season, which starts April 10–11 in Long Beach, California. YTC is partnering with three drivers this year, including 2013 Formula Drift champion Michael Essa, along with Masashi Yokoi and Matt Field.

Essa will pilot a new car this season: Street Legal Performance’s Chevrolet Camaro, which has a 750-plus-hp, supercharged V8 engine. Yokoi, who competed last season in Formula D Japan events, will drive the Nissan D-MAX Racing Silvia S15, which has a 1,000hp Toyota 2JZ engine. Field, a Formula Drift podium winner, will be in the Drift Cave Nissan 240SX (S14), powered by a 1,000-hp Vortech supercharged Chevrolet V8 engine. In the six overall years YTC has been involved with Formula Drift, they have won three championships.

Tanner Foust's ’15 Rockstar Energy Drink/Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat.

Tanner Foust Debuts Rockstar Energy Drink/Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat

Two-time drift champion Tanner Foust has unveiled the brand-new Rockstar Energy Drink/Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat drift machine that he will drive this weekend in his return to Formula Drift. The rear-wheel-drive converted Volkswagen Passat from Tanner Foust Racing will produce some 900 nitrous-boosted hp from a V8 engine. The driver, who has won two Global Rallycross championship titles since he shifted focus from drifting to rallycross after the 2010 season, said he wanted to bring that level of creativity to the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink/Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat.

The car features a four-speed dog-engagement transmission, a Tilton clutch, AEM Infinity-10 fuel injection, RS-R suspension and an extroverted APR Performance swan-mount wing. Its distinctive supercar exhaust note comes from a specially designed eight into one sequential collector. It rides on KMC wheels wrapped in Nitto tires.

Foust's first of three select rounds of the Formula Drift championship will take place at the season opener, Streets of Long Beach, April 10–11. He will also compete at the Road to the Championship round in Braselton, Georgia (May 8–9) and the season-ending Final Fight in Irwindale, California, October 9–10.