In case you saw some photos of Patrick Mordaunt’s Nissan 350z this weekend you should of noticed that it has some Falken Tire stickers on it and running Falken Tires in the Axis Wheels Booth. However, Patrick confirmed with me that this sponsorship and tires were just for the 2010 SEMA show. Several people tipped us throughout the week that Patrick Mordaunt is working to sign a deal currently with Nexen Tires for the new season. This is the only other SEMA relevant buzz about sponsor swaps this year. We will see if anything help starts to get talked about on the last day of the show as things wind down.
The Hankook press conference is kicking off in about 30 minutes and we can now tell you about the top team driver moving over to Hankook Tires with Rhys Millen and Ken Gushi. The driver is Chris Forsberg who will be ending a multi year partnership with Maxxis Tires and moving to Hankook Tires in 2011 for Formula Drift. From what we do know this completes the current SEMA announcements for Hankook Tire and drifting at the SEMA show.
A rumor that has been floating around the 2010 SEMA show is that Ken Gushi will also be on Hankook Tires for the new season. They have a press conference tomorrow that will confirm this from what I understand but it looks like Gushi and the RSR/Scion Racing program are ready to hop on board to grow Hankook’s presence in the series. We have also heard the rumor that a top five team will be joining Hankook Tire for 2011 Formula Drift and we will have details up on the website as soon as we know them.
I have heard some buzz recently that Rhys Millen was going to Hankook Tires and a PR from Weber Shandwick pretty much confirms that Rhys Millen will be moving to Hankook Tire in 2011. He is listed under “celebrity appearances” for the 2010 SEMA show with Hankook Tire and they list him running the Hankook Ventus R-s3 tire in Formula Drift 2011. They will be formally making a statement during this week at some point surely but this looks like how Rhys Millen will be looking in 2011 (with my great photoshop above). This is a great acquisition for Team Hankook and a major loss for Toyo Tires who’s imprint in the sport is fading fast. We have a feeling more announcements and teams will be signed on/announced to Hankook Tire by the end of the week. We will of course keep you posted here all week.
It looks like Jeff Jones will be taking the place of Brian Wilkerson this weekend in the BMI Racing/Snap-on Mazda Rx-8. This weekend is the final round of XDC in Phoenix, Arizona. It is interesting to see this partnership come together since Jeff Jones already drives a Mazda in Formula Drift. Is it possible this will be a new pairing for Formula Drift 2011?
ACP just took to his Wrecked Magazine blog and announced he is returning in the Dodge Viper this weekend for Formula Drift Irwindale. The car has been changed up a little including a new AEM EMS to run the engine management in the Dodge Viper. You can head over to ACP’s blog and find out what all he said about his return this weekend.
Read ACP’s Blog: http://wreckedmagazine.com/acp/
Another big rumor already going around the grid for the off season is the entry of another professional drag racing team. This team hails from Orlando, Florida and has been building some amazing Toyota Supra’s and one impressive full drag Scion tC. Many people that know the NHRA and Titan Motorsport have told me that this team will be a force to watched even in their debut season. Now the real question is going to be what driver will they land if they decide to venture down this new avenue?
Over the last few weeks several team owners and other drivers in the series have mentioned to me that they have been looking at picking up Robbie Nishida for the 2011 season. He did remain in the United States we were told to speak with other teams possibly for getting on board for the 2011 season. Right now it seems like just a small buzz going around the pits but many team owners expressed interest in picking him up to me. One even told me he is a top five driver with a different program behind him.
It looks like James Deane will finally be returning to Formula Drift at Las Vegas Motor Speedway here in a few weeks. It appears he will be returning to the Falken S15 for the last three round of Formula Drift. After a great performance at Streets of Long Beach he has been absent from Road Atlanta to Seattle. Remember to pick him up out of the free agent pool in your Fantasy Drift rosters if your looking to collect some quick points.
D1GP USA just announced that in fact, no 2010 season will be happening this year at all. This doesn’t come as a shock to us after the unreliability of this series and it’s owners in the past. The real question I have is…. why even try to come back in 2011? You have already wasted our resources and time this season so what is the point in doing it again next year?
I am sure the D1GP PR machine is going to hop on here soon and tell you how great the new series is going to be in 2011 and how awesome the television show is but nobody here cares. Hopefully this is the final nail in the coffin to a pipe dream of Japanese fanboys that no one in America can seem to make a reality. On the bright side of things happening in American drifting we do have Formula Drift Las Vegas coming up this month and it actually will be happening.
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