Yokoi Not Returning for 2016 Formula Drift Season

Posted on Jan 18, 2016 In Formula D International Japanese


Masashi Yokoi is slated to not return for the 2016 Formula Drift season. Our speculation is that Yokohama Tire leaving has triggered Yokoi not coming back for the new year since he carries a long term relationship with Yokohama. His style will be greatly missed in America this season but it does sound like he will campaign and drive in Japan for 2016. Thanks Jeffrey!


  1. apieceobacon says:

    Well that sucks.

  2. WingZeroCustom says:

    Dammit! 🙁 I knew that he wouldn’t be coming back but I was still hoping.

  3. JanetJacksonHioThrust says:

    Well, there goes the 2016 champion that should’ve been.

  4. Japan is where the taken’s at.

  5. scooter says:

    He was my fave driver last year.

  6. Samurai Sam says:

    first rookie of the year to not return the following year. Then again, there wasn’t much competition.

  7. Blaze1 says:

    Was I the only person tuning in just to see him drive? He was too fast for FD anyway…


  8. rotarypower says:

    Not happy about this one bit

  9. Alexb says:

    Who’s Jeffrey?

  10. NUTTERBUTTER says:

    now if only a sponsor could leave and have j rod not return next season. then we would have something to high five about.

    utter disappointment. really wanted to see him and forest do battles this season.

  11. apieceobacon says:

    But if Jarod left then who would tell the doctor to look at something?

  12. Twitch_6 says:

    Damn that sucks. Can’t say im surprised, or that I blame him either.

    Drifting is fucked lol. They’ve moved away from grassroots drifting, but they’ve moved to a place that no vehicle or tire manufacturer wants to fuck with. Stupid horsepower, tires that last all of 1 minute…there’s no reason to invest R&D in either a car or a tire because there’s no practicle application.

    I love drifting, I love the crazy builds, but there is zero sustainability right now. If the situation isn’t addressed soon, drifting as we know it will kill itself off.

  13. Jabroni says:

    Maybe if some of the tire brands who bought into the series actually offered tire packages for drifters and grass roots guys outside of Fd it would be worth their time. There’s only a handful doing it. I’m not drifting on 1000+ dollar a set yokohamas. you get fans buying them For their street cars but what’s the ROI? What’s really in it for these tire companies. They invest the most money I’d have to imagine out of most of these sponsors. People pitching parts or discount to 40 guys ain’t shit.

  14. jeffrey says:

    im jeffrey.
    Yokoi comes and drives with us at the Lone Star Drift Series once a year in Texas.
    I talk to him every year when hes here and he was even so impressed with a build me and my team did, he had us send him the whole thing in depth.
    since i have a very small relationship with him, i talk to him here and again on facebook, when i heard about Yokohama dropping out, i asked him if he was going to have a new tire sponsor this year. sadly he said no, he was only going to be competing in japan.

    he DID NOT state if he was only going to be competing in D1GP, or if he was going to do FD Asia aswell, but from his message to me, he will not be returning to the states for competition in the 2016 season. If he does, I hope we are all informed.

  15. otis says:

    From yokoi’s Facebook “I won’t be participating the Formula D USA this year.
    The reasons are, first the biggest thing is because of YOKOHAMA TIRE is leaving.
    Of course there were offers from other Tire manufacturers but the support from Yokohama Tires in the US was so huge that if I had got support from other Tire manufacturer I would be feeling uneasy without the same level of support in the US.

    Second is the budget. USA is so far and huge that the expense to move from one place to another costs a lot.

    I understand that every environment has to be perfect, in order to win in the world of Formula D.

    I will rest this year to participate Formula D next year with perfect condition.

    Please don’t misunderstand that It’s not that I am not satisfied with something.

    With awesome Judges, awesome Drivers, awesome Fans, I am looking forward to meeting all of you guys again next year.

    This Year I am planning to build several drift cars. If anybody comes to Japan, I would be able to rent those cars or have drift lessons together.
    Guys I’ll be waiting in Japan!!

    Formula Drift Rocks!!”

  16. Davidna2fi says:

    Ehhh Yokoi will most likely be making an appearance in our grassroots drift series here in TX called the Lone Star Drift Series, which he’s been flown in yearly. So if you wanna ride with him and have him drift your car gotta come to the event. 😉

  17. KPA says:

    Major tires companies see no gain from competing with tire companies like Achilles. They consider Achilles to be an “off brand” and the risks out way the gains. There is little, to no ROI on the money teams like Falken spend. What was it like 4 million dollar budget per season back in the hay day with Ian at ASD milking them?

    Achilles runs their team on the cheap and the team and lack of reliability shows it. Daigo always finds a way to get paid.

    Hankook has a strong showing but for how long and at what cost. Please change that damn commercial! Its more like an ad for a cologne then a tire company. “be done with it” should be the campaign

    Nitto had all their funds tied to two drivers and the back door relationship between Nitto and Toyo who supply ford with a majority of the factory available tires. Odi and Mike got some table scraps

    Maxxis need to stick with Mountain Biking and pull the plug on the last remaining driver.

    The fact that tires can be rated on tread ware by their own internal lab is crazy. ATR II 400 tread ware and you can push a thumb nail half way through them. Stuff like that makes the other tires companies look at other ways to burn up the funds. As long as Achilles is paying FD to be on not so live stream “Its all good we tested them” IMO this is very short sighted for the sport and other supporters. No tires support no drifting unless you are independently parent wealthy.

  18. Drift Bukake says:

    Most teams in FD are snuffing themselves out financially, chasing a mystical dragon that isn’t there. Yokoi proved that you don’t need $200k builds, semis and copious amounts energy drinks to do well. A good car built with quality parts the first time will hold up if you take care of it. The biggest attribute to a team is the skill of the driver, not how nice the quick change rear end or radiator is. Look at VGJ and how much money that team spends. He lacks the raw talent to yield results in today’s competition, yet that team keeps trying to buy results with hardware. But what do I know, I most do Paida Drift events in a KA24 S13 with Megan Racing and Godspeed parts.

  19. Twitch_6 says:

    Exactly!! Other than a couple pro-am guys and a few trust fund kids, who is buying all these tires? Most people who go drifting want tires that last a while. No one wants to lug 10 sets to the track with them every time they go. It’s rediculous.

    The oldest people involved with FD only started paying attention to motorsport in the mid 1990s. They were drawn to driftong because it was a counterculture, and a counter to the tradition “snobby” racin community. I understand the draw, but here’s the problem. They missed out on the golden age of motorsport (1960-1994), and therefore not in touch with the mistakes made and lessons learned from that era.

    Group A Touring Cars, Group B Rally Cars, Group C Le Mans Prototype….all of these were the pinicle of their respective discipline; all had open tire wars (iirc); all achieved their goals through means of excess; and all are now dead.
    -some TC racing has survived with BTCC and V8SC, but those are almost spec series nowadays with many shared parts and a control tire.
    -WRC replaced group B. The crowds never recovered, but that cars partially have, with modern WRC cars completing stages faster than Group B, with a fraction of the HP. One of the major issues with Group B (aside from people dying) was no manufacturers outside of Audi, Peugeot & Lancia had any interest because it was so specialized. WRC opened doors for more manufacturers.
    -LMP1 cars have come full circle and are now back to within a couple of seconds of F1 cars (part of The reason Group C was shut down), but the recent resurgence has only been due to some creative regulations which stimulate competition in ways that manufacturers are interested in (namely hybrid power units).

    So while some of these sports have recovered, it took them the better part of 20 years to do so, and they were only able to do so by having the right people grab the rulebook by the neck and set things straight, in a SUSTAINABLE WAY.

    Formula 1 spent the 90s and 00s chasing the ever elusive carrot on a stick that is faster lap times. More power, more grip, more gizmos, more money, more more more. And where has it got them? F1 is now at an all-time low, both competition wise, and viewership wise. Teams like Manor, Force India, Sauber, and Lotus basically go into bankrupcy every year to just make the grid and finish a lap or more behind the leaders. Half the drivers on the grid are the infamous “pay driver’s” (Maldonado) who earn their seats with their checkbook, not their racing skills. F1 is now on a constant state of “how do we fix this guys!!” Of the 22 cars on the grid for 2016, only 4 have a real shot at winning (with an additional 4 depending on how winter development goes, lookin at you, Honda!), and most of that comes down to budget. The small teams, even a team as well established as Williams, knows they don’t really have a shot at competing with Merc and Ferrari because of their budget.

    In many ways I think FD is to the internal combustion paradigm what the Spruce Goose was to aviation, ie, the pinicle of development in a completely nonsensicle direction. The two most common motors in FD are a pushrod V8, and a turbo straight 6 designed in the 1980s. There is no interest in developing this tech any further. All the major auto manufacturers have moved on. Merc, Honda, Renault, and Ferrari all have heavy investment in F1’s hybrid V6 turbos (1000hp from 1.6L), VAG and Toyota have massive investment in WEC’s hybrid motors (Porsche is a 1.4L hybrid turbo making 1000+ HP).

    Jaguar just announced they will be entering Formula E, stating that “over the next 5 years, the auto industry will see the biggest paradigm shift since Ford released the Model T, and we feel that aligning ourselves with FE is the best way to be at the forefront of the coming revolution. Renault, Citreon/Peugeot/Nissan, VAG, Toyota, and others all have either direct or indirect involvement in FE, Ford and GM have both expressed interest as well. So if all these companies see FE as the future, why on earth would the waste money on FD?

    I say all that to say this. I don’t mean to come across as a know-it-all or something like that. I’m just a guy who really likes motorsports. Everything I said I got from following different series, and from reading a couple websites a couple times a week (like autosport.com). I want to see drifting carry on, and I want to see FD succeed. I just feel it’s being run by a bunch of muppets who are completely out of touch with the global motorsport scene, and who aren’t able to look around and learn lessons from the mistakes already made by others.

  20. WingZeroCustom says:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BAvmIhfHTKz/ For those that think he’ll never come back. Apparently he’s planning to come back next year. So 2017. 😀 Most professional response to anything I’ve seen in a while.

  21. SamuraiSam says:

    The oem and tire championships seemed like a good idea

    then scion and hankook stomped everybody the past 2 seasons, and that championship is more boring than the main championship

    Ways to make FD interesting:
    GPS speed for each ‘sector’ (isnt hard to figure out how to do this)
    stop requiring outrageous entry fees from the teams, and pay the drivers who make top 16
    separate the judges
    produce a reliable stream with knowledge and facts that educates the audience instead of drunken rambling, made-up info, and shout-outs to family members
    A spec tire (since tire companies can’t earn ROI only sponsoring a handful of drivers, make them all compete to be the only tire in the series)

    As long as FD tries to keep milking drivers and tire companies for every last penny, the actual ROI for a team or sponsor will be nearly non-existant

  22. Super says:

    Hey FD and most importantly Jim and Ryan why the fuck don’t you guys pay the drivers more? They do all of the work and all you guys do is blab and go to Abu Dubai and promote your series that is built on the hard work all the drivers are putting in. You guys should be the least paid in all of the series yet the payout for winning barely is above the cost of entry fees

    Do everyone a favor and tell Jarrod to find a new sport to blab Doctor over and get your priorities straight, but hey I know it’ll never change cause your pockets are lined with money that should go to drivers.

  23. super nerd says:

    formula drift is ruining everything that makes drifting great. I wish all the tire companies would just pull the plug so fd can die and we can start over.

  24. Twitch_6 says:

    I agree Samurai Sam. It pains me to say it, but I think a control tire is the only way to move forward.
    -I would have the tire designed to last multiple runs
    -I would allocate a set number of tires per driver for a weekend, for all sessions. How a driver uses those sets is up to them.
    -I would stipulate a mandatory minimum tire pressure that would be checked by FD before every competative run.

    I think those ideas would work to remove the necessity for stupid high HP builds, which would drastically cut down the costs of building and maintaining a car. It would also force the driving style to be more in line with what the average spectator can relate to in their own drifting.

    The other biggest issue is the way the whole money side of things is run. As convoluted as F1 is, still, at the end of the season, each team is given a share of the overall profits. This money from the sanctioning body is what allows most of the smaller teams to even think about operating. In FIA WEC and WTCC, both international series where the travel costs are immense, the FIA pays, in full, all of the travel costs of all of the teams. When V8SC goes from Aus. to NZ, the sanctioning body pays for everything. These series learned a loooooong time ago, that if the sanctioning body doesn’t help out financially, the sport dies, as the ROI on an international motorsport competition is just not there due to the costs being so astronomical.

    So I don’t know how things work with FD. I don’t know what their overhead for a season is (paying staff, the livestream, etc) vs the money they bring in from sponsorships like the ones with GoPro or USAF. Do the tracks who host FD events pay FD to come to them (like how F1 works), or is there a different system. Do the tracks take the majority of the profits from an event, or does FD? Basically I don’t know if there is actually money in the bank to divy up between the teams at the end of the year. I must say though, from the outside looking in (with little to no info being disclosed) the way FD is run seems extremely shady, moreso than F1.

    Again, this isn’t rocket science. People have been down this road before. FD has every opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others and correct the problems before it’s too late. I hope I’m not on Wrecked in a couple years saying “told you so”.

  25. apieceobacon says:

    I believe that the organizers have also been kind of afraid to support the drivers like above because they would probably have to raise ticket prices and im pretty sure that i can speak for everyone that if you make the changes actually somewhat visible and heading in a good direction then we don’t care if the prices go up.
    Literally the only reason why I have supported Formula Drift this long, this religiously is because there is no other events to watch. Yes there are events like D1GP and Drift Allstars but I really dont want to stay up til 4am to watch an event. FD has honestly gone nowhere in the last few years as far as event quality, the only thing that has really improved has been the amount of people watching and the driving skill involved. I mean seriously there has been a live stream for what, eight years now? When has there been a stream that we haven’t complained about because it cuts out or there’s no audio or they have commercials hop in the middle of a run or there’s just a picture of a desktop with a dog background because someone managed to minimize the page. All we want is a quality show with a quality support for drivers. I love drifting and my soapbox has obviously been more of an angry rant than an actual solution like what people have posted above and what I used to comment to help but really I have just stopped trying to post ideas because they just dont listen. The community on wrecked, speedhunters, and multiple other automotive websites have made numerous ideas that would easily fix multiple problems that the series currently has and the organizer just don’t don’t seem to listen. We all know the organizers of Formula Drift read these comments because when we start talking shit they magically show up to defend their side of the story. Just take our advice for once. I understand very few of us have ever hosted a large event before but it doesn’t mean that we don’t know what needs to be changed.

  26. OGLarry says:

    One thing has puzzled me regarding tire sponsors in FD. Excluding Toyo and I guess Falken all the providers are kinda off brands… Hankook is getting more well known. But in D1PG for example you see, Dunlop, Toyo, Goodyear legit big name and road race tire makers sponsoring vehicles. They don’t do in the US though.

  27. KPA says:

    @ OGLarry

    Its just this reason why larger brand companies don’t feel they need to participate. If they are not competitive then they only stand to lose. FD’s loose system for ensure everyone is playing by the same rules makes it highly unattractive.

    Its the same reason why companies like Dodge aren’t around anymore. Besides giving all there budget to Travis for world rally cross. Having a 2015-2016 chassis getting beat by a 25 year old s-chassis is something the higher ups frond upon.

    FD suggestions;

    Have a spec tires for everyone. In exchange for visibility and coverage. Offer the tires at a heavily discount rate (same for all team). All cars would be required to have logo placement. This would be attractive to companies looking to break into the us market. Like Achilles and West Lake.

    Phase in a 15 year if not a 10 year rule for car competing cars. Maybe have a classic car class with AE86, S-chassis and alike

    Prove to the fan base you are reinvesting in the sport! What have you changed or brought to the table in the last few years ? Understanding extra events means extra cost for teams that already struggle. More is not always better. You can make more money winning at a gaming convention.

    Change the Judges at least every 2 years. No other judged event other then American Idol keeps there judges for so long. Have past drivers rotate in.

    Oh and on a personal note. Get rid of staff that you feel doesn’t represent your company well and that have a God complex. This is highly unprofessional and unacceptable behavior that “screams” volumes about your organization.

    Just my thoughts from the outside looking in.

  28. SamuraiSam says:

    “I believe that the organizers have also been kind of afraid to support the drivers like above because they would probably have to raise ticket prices and im pretty sure that i can speak for everyone that if you make the changes actually somewhat visible and heading in a good direction then we don’t care if the prices go up.”


    have you seen the ticket prices lately??? they are raising the prices anyways, that money just isn’t going to the drivers. now that theres a cap of 40 drivers, there’s even fewer drivers to pay. No more taka aono or joon maeng because they were just ‘roster fillers’. even more reason to pay the drivers who can stay in the top 32 each season

  29. justsayin says:

    Dear tire wizards of the internet.

    How do you design a tire to last longer when it is being driven past its point of grip, in excessive heat , often with varying tire pressures ?

    How do you pick a single tire manufacture while cutting ties with your previous supporters ? What if the majority of your drivers are unhappy with the choice?

    Bonus question : Because we have all seemed to find our new key word (ROI), how do you see any ROI on a tire designed specifically to be drifted on in a competition environment and will more then likely be illegal for road use, and because it needs to meet the demands of 800-1000+ HP.

    We should all strive to have attitudes like Yokoi’s.

  30. KPA says:

    @ Just sayin

    Long lasting tires weren’t part of my solution and how long any tire last is subject to more then chemical compound.

    You have the current tires companies that are interested bid on the opportunity to be the only and official tire. Bidding would decrease the cost to the driver or increase the allotment per team. If they go over the allotment they pay for more tires, How many tire companies are in F1

    ROI would be grass root guys buying tires to set-up and run for those events. As any suspension tuner knows you need to set-up traction based on what you can get out of the grip of the tire. Why do kids buy Nike’s it doesn’t make then hit more jumpers. It because they want to wear what the pros are wearing. If some driver’s don’t like so what ! Its a even playing field work it out.

    Imperial grand internet wizard “justsayin”

  31. Blaze1 says:

    How many tire suppliers has D1 lost?

    How many sponsors has D1 lost?


  32. Twitch_6 says:

    @Justsayin, I’m guessing your comments regarding tires were directed at my suggestion of running a longer lasting tire.

    Thank you so much for your response. You couldn’t have illustrated one of my points any better. I don’t mean to insult you, but based on what you posted, you are either new to motorsport in general, or are a drift enthusiast who pays no attention to racing.

    Basically every road racing series, from F1 to NASCAR, Indy, WRC, WEC, BTCC, V8SC, WTCC, ETCC, PWC, IMSA…basically everything aside from Japanese Super GT….every one these series have already dealt with these issues 5, 10, 15 years ago. All of that information is out there, all you have to do is open your eyes and pay attention.

    In regards to your bonus question, do some research on how Pirelli sees returns on their investment in F1, or Michelin in WEC, or Goodyear in NASCAR, or Continental in IMSA. I mean, no one is buying F1 tires for their road car, so Pirelli must be involved because they like pissing their money away.

    There is absolutely nothing new about the problems FD is/will be facing. Other forms of motorsport have already been through this, and many have pulled through. The solutions are already at FD’s finger tips, all they have to do is act.

    The only disadvantage FD has is that it lacks the heritage that something like F1, NASCAR, or GT racing has. That heritage helped to pull some of those other seris through their tougher times (it’s the only reason F1 is still breathing), and FD doesn’t have that luxury. Right now FD’s biggest concern is that they don’t grow too big too fast, end up tapping out all of their competitors, and burst their own bubble. With the rate the builds are progressing, and FD seemingly wanting to add more events and overseas events, they are well on their way to driving the whole thing into the ground.

    Btw, I’m not a wizard…just a guy with an Internet connection. Everything Ive said is out there for you to discover on your own.

  33. KPA says:

    @ Blaze1

    Add how many teams have pulled out vs jumped in?

    I predict a long winded reply soon by Sage that people will skim and not fully read but, he should take notice these are all CORE fans with good/bad points of concerns.

  34. SamuraiSam says:

    If there is a spec tire, the ROI is in charging the teams for the tires. Even NASCAR teams pay for their tires. But it’s at a flat rate and everyone has access to the same tires. If they are just a tire supplier its way cheaper than trying to run competitive teams

  35. Blaze1 says:


    You didn’t answer my question. But anyway, compared to FD not many have bought in. But they still have most of their champions/veterans active in the series. Can’t say that for FD. They also have some good up and comers in their ranks as well.

    FD on the other hand has two (was three) major champions who don’t even drift at all anymore. And I can list a whole lot of podium finishers that have been exiled from the series as well. One of them being our good Japanese buddy Yokoi.

    I think most foreigners are coming to FD thinking they only have to spend a year in the series, do well, and become factory backed by year two. In a perfect world or in another sanctioning body it would be the case. But as many have found out the road leads to no where. There is almost zero driver development or talent scounting on part of the series, teams, and sponsors. At least D1 actually promotes their stand alone street legal series.

    This is the best debate I ever seen on wrecked, I see good points coming from both sides.

  36. IrishFan251 says:

    dmac used to be the iconic driver to outsiders. Ship your pikey-built Corolla over, compete in 1 event, get picked up by Falken on a full ride for 8 years, even when you smash all their cars to bits.

  37. KPA says:


    You might have had one too many pints and posted in the wrong thread.

  38. StillPlayingIntheKittyPool says:

    I think having one specific tire for all the teams has pros and cons but I think it could have more cons. I think seeing different tire company’s compete year to year is helping to keep teams motivated. Sure the financial burden that these companies may pay to keep their “top performing” teams alive has been going up, but so what? I’m not a stat guru but I do follow fd religiously (even tho we have our differences) and my point is that how often do we see a tire sweep the podium? One event it’s hankook, then it could be Achilles, and then it could be a no name guy at top.

    Another thing to think about is the evolution of the cars themselves. This just might be me and my own opinion, but I think it’s reasonable to say that saying “there’s no money” in drifting is somewhat naive and a bit of a lie. I think it’s noticeable that sure guys aren’t going home and living lavish lives but the cars being built today are exponentially better than say a car from 4 years ago. So this extra money to engineer these cars is coming from somewhere. To also say the series hasn’t improved is a lie. I think that all of our wants in our posts on blogs like this drive the fascination and interest in the series. We had more camera angles last year and more commercials, an improvement to the series with an obvious cost.

    I think one way to diversify what fd has to offer is to bring team tandems into comps. Like maybe the same day as qualifying and after qualifying. I know we’ve all seen the final bout stuff, and if you think about it, the community’s fascination with FB has to be because when we were all individually discovering drifting on le enterwebz we would watch hours of option videos with no English or even subtitles!

    I think something that would really help the whole drifting scene in general is the development of an actual drift track/stadium that can be ran a number of different ways combing elements of tracks we all love and hate. A big bank, maybe a jump, high speed entries to low speed corners, and obviously some walls. All of the tracks that fd attend aren’t really drift tracks to begin with. Imagine a track that can be changed and can put more seating where and as they need it. I mean it’s just an idea but think about it. My brother went to the past 2 Texas events and he said that they sit somewhat far away from the carnage. But at irwindale I have to option to be on the wall. What’s cooler?

    Also, what is ROI?

  39. apieceobacon says:

    He competed in multiple d1 events before that and from what I remember he’s only totaled one car in his Formula drift career which seems to be about average these days.

  40. ALL HEART Steve says:

    Holy Fuck!!! Best read I’ve Had In A Long Time. I really Don’t have anything to add because everyone Killed it. I will say tho, There IS CLEARLY Some practices, and Individuals Involved In the organization that are rapidly Declining You’re Core Following And credibility. Obviously. Just Because Your The only Game In town (Right Now) doesn’t Mean its always Gonna be… “OH Doctor”

    I can honestly say I Hope the rug does get pulled out from under you guys. I could stand to Not have A North American based Super series For a couple Years So That New Organization Could Right All your Wrongs.

    -Food for thought-

    Table tennis

    Commonly known as ping pong, table tennis regular-season matches carry prize money that ranges between $3,000 and $35,000. However, a championship win in an International Table Tennis Federation event can earn a player up to $50,000.

    I wonder what The Overhead Is Like On Paddles and Balls….