Rumors/Gossip

Vaughn Gittin Jr. Testing Nitto Tires [RUMORMILL]

The rumors around this Vaughn Gittin Jr. program come to us in the time span of about three day. The first big announcement came when the Falken Tire Motorsport PR lacked the name of Vaughn Gittin Jr. on the first day of the 2012 SEMA Show. Coming off the SEMA show we heard several rumors that a deal had been resigned with Falken Tire but now at best that seems to be up in the air.

Recently the guys at ASD and Vaughn Gittin Jr. have been testing Nitto Tires with his 2013 Ford Mustang. We did hear this from several reliable sources but it is unclear if a deal has been struck with Nitto and Vaughn Gittin Jr. yet. It sounds like the new program has quite a few things to work out but who knows what tire company we will see Vaughn on in 2013 at this point.

Will the Daigo Saito Championship Open the D1GP Flood Gates for 2013?

We all watched Round 7 of Formula Drift which turned the world on its head and allowed Daigo Saito to drive his way into a championship after Rhys Millen crashed out of competition (see above) and Vaughn Gittin Jr. took an early defeat to regin Daigo in the 2012 Formula Drift champion. Will this open the floodgates of D1GP drivers and other internationals looking to arrive in America to make a championship run and cash in on larger opportunities for sponsorship and endorsements? Some rumors have already been floating around at SEMA about some internationals petitioning for a license in 2013.

Justin Pawlak’s 2013 Formula Drift Team Managed by Former ASD Employees [RUMORMILL]

Justin Pawlak

While we lack quite a ton of details we heard over and over again at SEMA that two former ASD employees are settung up a shop to maintain, build, and run the 2013 Ford Mustang RTR program. It appears the guys at SPD Metal Works (who run the Dai Yoshihara and now Darren McNamara program) did not wind up with the third team to manage for 2013. Not 100% confirmation on what employees are coming together for the build but that should help put JTP in good hands for the new season. Can he take a great third run at a championship in 2013 after learning from his mistakes over the last two seasons? Only time will tell with his new old crew/team.

Falken Announces 2013 Formula Drift Team – No Vaughn Gittin Jr. Present

Falken’s motorsport PR released information about the 2013 campaign and mentioned a team of three drivers which didn’t include 2010 champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. at all. The list noted Justin Pawlak in a 2013 Ford Mustang, Darren McNamara in his V8 S14, and Dai Yoshihara developing a BRZ for 2014. We will work right away to find out what is going on with the Vaughn Gittin Jr. camp but sources have mentioned to me no plan is signed for 2013. We heard since being at the 2012 SEMA Show he has been in talks with other tire companies. Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Falken Tire seperating would and should leave me scratching heads as he truly is in my opinion the driving force behind the brand marketing wise.

2013 Formula Drift with Otto Graven Update- Scion FRS and 1000hp+

Just before Irwindale we made a 2013 Otto Graven returning post and quickly since then details about his program and links to his new team Facebook page have been sent to us through our contact form. The program from Otto Graven involves a Scion FRS and a partnership at some level with World Racing (Chris Rado) for 2013. The World Racing team is taking the knowledge they have of making big power with Toyota engines and plugging that into a Tundra 6.2L that has been rumored to be running wel over 1,000hp. The horsepower wars seem to be officially here thanks to our weight/tire rulebook in place. What does everyone think of this upcoming build?

 

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Chris Forsberg Planning for a Two Car Team for 2013 Formula Drift [RUMORMILL]

There was a buzz around the parts of the grid this weekend at Irwindale Speedway that Chris Forsberg Racing is looking to field a second car for the 2013 season. When I asked Chris about the rumor, he was very vague but from what I can gather, there has been no decision on who will drive the second car but that the team is in fact hoping to field a second 370Z that would be built identically to Chris’ competition 370z.  This sounds like this could be the best opportunity on the grid for a title sponsor or for some privateer driver looking to drive for a team in 2013.

Otto Graven Set for 2013 Formula Drift Return [RUMORMILL]

The South African Otto Graven is rumored to be planning a huge comeback to Formula Drift in 2013. Otto missed the complete 2012 season after his debut season in 2011 with this ALMS engine equipped Nissan 350z. The last we really talked about him was in December 2011 when we caught wind of his court case in South Africa about abandonment and some unpaid contracts here in the United States. Now the rumor is Formula Drift is heading to South Africa for an international demo in early 2013. We should have more news on Otto Graven as Long Beach gets closer but it sounds like he will have a whole new build for 2013 that isn’t a Nissan.

The HP war continues: Daigo puts down 1,138hp on a dyno

At the beginning of the season, it was rumored that Daigo Saito had 1,200 horsepower under the hood. Nobody really believed it until he proved to be the fastest driver on track in tandem. When Ryan Kado, Toshiki Yoshioka, Mike Essa, and Pat Mordaunt all upgraded their powerplants, it seemed like they might be able to finally keep up with Daigo, who’s actual horsepower was rumored to be around 900hp after a more conservative tune. A few days ago, Daigo Saito took his car back to the dyno and cranked out 1,138 HP on a chassis dyno (although it is unknown if that number was with or without nitrous).

For a second, it looked like everyone else in FD was starting to catch up to Daigo.

Tony Brakohiapa Blames Judges for not Qualifying in Las Vegas

Formula Drift Las Vegas as far as controversy goes was pretty light if you compare it against other rounds this season like Wall Speedway. Tony Brakohiapa doesn’t agree with this lack luster of controversy if you read his eBay motors blog post on the weekend. Most of my personal memories of this car/the team this weekend is the engine laying all over the pits and I couldn’t even recall a single run the car actually made through the race weekend. Apparently he did attempt to qualify and failed to make the Top 32. Below in the block quote is what Tony reported on the race and his results. Read his review of the race and let us know what you think!

My last practice run would prove be near fatal (for the car, not me). As I’m finishing my run I notice an immediate loss in power. I look at all my gauges. Everything reads normal. I fear it’s the supercharger cog belt, yet again. I limp the eBay Motors Mustang back to our pit. The cog belt is intact and still attached! It’s in fact the cog pulley at the bottom of the engine that’s bolted to the crank pulley that has broken all six studs off! We were all scratching our heads on this one! No one had ever seen a break like this before! Certainly a result of pushing 1,000 HP and eventually finding a weakness on the engine. The good thing was the internals of the engine were fine. With some time and hardware, a short-term fix could get me through qualifying.

My crew finds new bolts for the crank pulley. Though we can only use three bolts instead of the six due to some broken studs being difficult to extract. The guys feel it’s just strong enough to get me one, maybe two qualifying runs. We were already making preparations for a more permanent fix once qualifying was over.

I line up for my first run. I enter in 4th gear, come in with good speed and angle, hit my clipping points, and put off some good smoke on the infield. Just as I’m about to finish my run, I notice something let go on the engine. My power is reduced, but enough to let me finish off the last corner. I score a surprisingly low 68.

The short-term fix was extremely short-term. I don’t think anyone even noticed I broke on my run because it was near the very end. I jump on my radio and tell the guys we have a problem and meet at the pit! I pull in the pit, the crew has “that look” on their face as they see the temporary bolts did not hold. The question now was, will it get fixed in time for a second qualifying run. The short answer…no! The damage was too great this time around, but we did have time to fix it through the night and next morning…if I qualified.

Nonetheless, The crew pushes to fix the car to try and get me a second qualifying run. I would undoubtedly score better with a second qual run helping secure my place for Top 32. While they are doing that, I am watching the other drivers qualify. I’m keeping tabs on scores and how good the runs are to see where I will end up. My second run is about to come up but I’m still standing in the spotters stand. I gesture to Jarod the M.C. that my crew is working on my car, that it’s still broken and I won’t make a second run.

Qualifying was over and I’d been bumped from Top 32 After seeing a fair amount of drivers struggle to put in good qualifying runs, I’m confused as to their scores being noticeable higher then mine given all their corrections. Now, I’m not saying my run was perfect. I could have been a bit closer to the last outer clipping point and my line was a little shallow entering the infield portion. It felt (as other people watching remarked and after looking at the video replay) like a mid-to high 70’s run. More than enough to qualify for Top 32.

The team and myself approach the judges as to their justification of my score relative to other drivers. We ask to compare my run with other drivers via video playback. The judges said they would be happy to review my score with us, but they couldn’t change my score since it was already locked in.

We select a particular drivers’ run that we felt was similar to my run, but actually made more corrections, but still scored 12 points higher. After looking at both runs over and over and getting some commentary from one judge as to my line being a bit off, there was no discernable difference that warranted a 12 point advantage to the other driver. There was a remark from another judge about a “major correction” during my run. After video playback, no judge could point out said major correction.

After the “review” was over we thanked the judges for their time and walked back to our pit. There wasn’t anything else we could do, but our point had been made. We felt the score was low given other drivers very similar yet higher scored runs.

We hope the professional and diplomatic process in which we approached the judges and reviewed the qualifying runs will somehow improve their “in the moment” judging. Although time intensive, one suggestion could be using the instant replay resources they have to warrant a more comprehensive review of qualifying runs before final scores are given.

Source: http://www.ebaymotorsblog.com/looking-for-lady-luck-at-formula-drift-las-vegas/

A 2013 Title Sponsor for Justin Pawlak that isn’t Falken Tire [RUMORMILL]

Last month in July we confirmed that ASD and Falken Tire will be splitting ways in 2013. What this means for the Falken Tire program seems to be a mystery of how it will move forward next year but ASD I feel like will be around in 2013 but at what capacity is a mystery? Falken Tire has historically ran a program without other sponsors retaining the teal/blue vehicle with Falken over the rear quarter panel.

Now a rumor has been flying around the pits about JTP courting a potential title sponsor for 2013 which almost begs to ask will JTP and VGJ even be running Falken in 2013? If they release these guys or cannot come to terms on a program I think it would be a huge mistake for the Falken Tire brand.

As for a sponsor for Justin Pawlak I can only imagine his sponsor being a dog fighting ring, a UFC company, or maybe even an evil third world dictatorship. The reality is probably far from that and while we cannot dig up much information on the title deal at this point our guess seems to point to HPI Racing if we are looking at a sponsor that is already on board with him. HPI has been doing things with Justin Pawlak and VGJ and you can currently see the logo on JTP’s car in the photo above in orange on the rear quarter panel.