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?


Follow on Facebook:

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.


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.

Formula D Vegas to have a new track layout [RUMORMILL]

We’ve heard some mumblings in the pits, but heard it again last night from Danny George’s interview on a radio show. Similar to the change that came in Palm Beach and in Atlanta, Formula D may be changing up the track again in Vegas. The area that FD uses is purpose-built for Formula D by the Vegas Motor Speedway staff, and is the only asphalt track that is essentially a blank slate to build a unique configuration. We’ve seen two different track layouts in years past, and may see a third configuration if the rumors are true. Saito made the podium at both events, and Aasbo made his second-career FD podium in Atlanta, perhaps proving that the shake-up in track configuration does lead to new faces on the podium.

Top 16 predictions in Seattle

Every once in awhile, we get a little ambitious and decide to make our own predictions for the event. With some of the closest qualifying scores ever, we thought Evergreen Speedway would be a good opportunity to make some daring predictions. Here’s our stab at who will move on from Top 32:

1 Vaughn Gittin Jr vs 32 Miro Ovcharik
16 Mike Essa vs 17 Odi Bakchis

JR has looked great the past two events, and he’s out to make a chase at the championship. Miro’s car won’t be able to tame the Monster. Odi has also been looking strong, and I think Essa losing out on some practice on Thursday due to some transport issues will hurt him a bit.

8 Walker Wilkerson vs 25 Chelsea Denofa
9 Matt Powers vs 24 Kyle Pollard

Chelsea is out to prove that he was the right choice for this car, and beating hometown hero Walker Wilkerson would help his cause. Matt Powers looked strong despite the lack of practice on Thursday, and I think his V8 power will be too much for the lone SR20 powered car in the Top 32.

4 Pat Mordaunt vs 29 Jhonnathan Castro
13 Matt Field vs 20 Taka Aono

Mordaunt looks like a totally different animal with his new powerplant. Aono’s car is looking deceivingly fast on the bank, and that may catch Field off guard.

5 Chris Forsberg vs 28 Rhys Millen
12 Dai Yoshihara vs 21 Dennis Mertzanis

Forsberg qualified well, but Rhys looked amazing in NJ minus the contact with Dai that lost him the match. If Dai takes out Dennis, this could setup a great rematch.

2 Justin Pawlak vs 31 Jeremy Lowe
15 Ryan Tuerck vs 18 Robbie Nishida

Pawlak’s car is very fast, and he’ll be sad to take out a fellow FC driver, but he’s got a championship to win. Tuerck will be looking to return to the podium for the first time since moving on from his Solstice, I think his comfort in the S13 chassis will take out Nishida.

7 Freddy Aasbo vs 26 Pat Goodin
10 Ryan Kado vs 23 Alex Lee

Aasbo loves this track, and he drives it well. Goodin will likely be happy he made top 32. Kado’s car has also looked great with the new turbocharger, I think he will be able to handle Alex Lee.

3 Toshiki Yoshioka vs 30 Tony Angelo
14 Ken Gushi vs 19 Kenny Moen

Yoshioka has looked shaky in some runs, but stronger in others. An Angelo upset wouldn’t surprise me, but Yoshioka should earn the win if he can step up his consistency. Gushi’s anti-lag system hasn’t been functioning 100%, but neither has Moen’s car. Look for the FR-S to move on

6 Conrad Grunewald vs 27 Tony Brakohiapa
11 Darren McNamara vs 22 Daigo Saito

Conrad Grunewald’s angle is tough to follow, and I don’t think Tony B has the seat time in his car to be able to adjust to it. Daigo Saito is always a tandem maniac, and if he takes out Darren McNamara, it could setup the third consecutive Conrad vs Daigo matchup.

Ryan Kado will debut his turbocharged V8 motor in Seattle [BREAKING NEWS]

Turbo by Garrett announced today that Ryan Kado will be turbocharging his VK56 V8 motor in time for Seattle. We spoke with the marketing people at Garrett and they told us that Kado will be using a GTX4294R Turbocharger which should be pushing well over 700hp for Seattle, but is capable of over 900hp. Ryan Kado is currently sitting in 17th place overall with 163 points, and will be looking to improve his standings at the track he qualified 30th last season. This marks the third driver this week who will be bumping their horsepower up over the 700hp threshold. Back in 2009, Chris Forsberg won the championship with just under 500hp, and now nearly every driver in the top 16 is over 600hp if not more.

Are you happy to see more HP in the series? Or does it take away from the full-throttle days of Corolla’s and nearly-stock SR20′s?