Taka Aono is one of the most legendary drivers in Formula Drift since 2004. He has flipped cars over, on their side, and totaled them out all in a days work in the series. His love of the AE86 has continued from his legendary days at Falken Tire up until his current setup with Nexen. I don’t know if the heat got to him on the road trip home last night or what but he mentioned on Facebook going to a Toyota Camry V6. At first when someone tipped us off and said Camry motor we though about the motor 2AZ-FE which is being run by Ken Gushi and Fredric Aasbo. However, it is a four cylinder engine and Taka did say he was going V6….. hopefully he stays four cylinder in his little Toyota Corolla and builds a solid 2AZ-FE platform. It is seemingly the only thing stopping the V8 onslaught right now in the series.
UPDATE 12:27pm – Taka Aono Shows a four cylinder 2AZ-FE engine sitting in his AE86. Maybe the four cylinder isn’t dead after all.
Next weekend the Dodge Challenger won’t be fielded by two time Formula Drift champion Samuel Hubinette. After having his worst season in series history he is going to step out for next weeks Round 4 and pursue the Traxxas TORC Off-Road series. Formula Drift rookie Kenneth Moen will be stepping into the Dodge Challenger for at least Wall Speedway next week. They will be doing some testing at Englishtown before the event.
If you look at the Traxxas TORC schedule it also conflicts directly with Round 5 in Seattle. Fans looking to see Sam Hubinette will be disappointed for the next two rounds as he spends time trying to win a TORC championship in a Dodge Ram. This could be a huge opportunity for rookie Kenneth Moen to extend his Formula Drift career. My real question is will Sam Hubinette return for 2012 and I file that under highly unlikely.
This week at E3 the guys at Need for Speed announced the new game The Run which will be released on November 15th. While we will be reviewing SHIFT 2 this weekend which is loaded with Mad Mike, Matt Powers, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. we have some news for the fresh new game The Run. We had a leak at E3 this week telling us that the Mustang RTR-X built by Vaughn Gittin Jr. will be in the game even though it hasn’t been announced officially by EA Games. It is possible some other drifting related rides will be in the game as well.
The original GRID game released by Codemasters (who makes the DiRT series as well) featured a great arcade drifting mode and featured some D1 Grand Prix cars. The game featured Team Orange cars, Toshiki Yoshioka’s AE86, and even Rhys Millen’s Pontiac GTO. The fun arcade style will keep you drifting for hours. The original game even included drift races where you ripped up a track while drifting with seven other cars.
GRID 2 is set for a 2012 release date and we have some leaked information about some Formula Drift cars that will be included in the game. As far as we know the the Mobil 1 x Redbull Energy Drink Chevrolet Camaro driven by Ryan Tuerck will be included in the game along with the NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370 driven by Chris Forsberg. Hopefully more Formula Drift cars will be added to the game making this a must purchase package of 2012.
Patrick Mordaunt’s S14 was loaded up with some other cars for the IRL Texas demo coming up this weekend. Rumor has it with all the engine troubles in his Nissan 350z he is in the process of towing out his Nissan 350z to IRL and swapping cars with his S14 after the IRL demo. Basically he would send his Nissan 350z back to California and then get the S14 to New Jersey quickly so he can qualify. It sounds like a logistical nightmare but doing anything to get a solid working car seems to make the most sense.
While the 2010 champion was on the sidelines all day Saturday another Ford driver stepped up to the plate and took home a victory at Long Beach. Justin Pawlak took the teal/blue Ford Mustang with a Roush/Yates engine to a dominating first place finish. The real question everyone should be asking is can Justin Pawlak be a championship contender?
The simple answer is yes. As a privateer he drove his way onto the podium at Irwindale Speedway showing he has what it takes to compete on the top level. Now he has fully prepped ASD Ford Mustang and a professional crew behind him. More importantly JTP has 44 points more than his closest teal/blue Falken partner going into Road Atlanta. He just needs to focus, not make any big mental mistakes in the next few rounds. Also he needs to stay ahead of Dai Yoshihara and Chris Forsberg in the immediate points race until the championship is in sight.
I talked to the guys working with Kenny Moen for the 2011 season and apparently the S14 of Patrick Mordaunt didn’t end up working out as a last minute solution for them. They still have intentions of running the 2011 season with Tanner Foust’s old Nissan 350z and the car should be clear of customs and other issues before Road Atlanta and ready for some competition.
Remember the S14 that use to sport Wrecked Magazine on the rear quarter panel and defeat everything in it’s path at Road Atlanta until a tire durometer test and the drama that ensued. Well the car got painted blue and lived on for a while longer in Formula Drift but now has been sidelined for his Nissan 350z. Since Kenny Moen’s Nissan 350z is sitting in a container at US Customs he has decided to loan out Patrick Mordaunt’s S14 so he can be present for Round 1 at the Streets of Long Beach. This should prove to be an interesting debut for the European as a Rookie in Formula Drift.
The world of drifting is up for a change when Long Beach kicks off next week with the addition of Canadian driver Ryan Lanteigne as the third man on the judging stand. Sadly the former Rotora driver Ernie Fixmer won’t be returning this year on the judging panel. However, Tony Angelo and Andy Yen will remain on the panel. We have seen a physical confirmation of this now and it seems like only a matter of days possibly until Formula Drift would announce it?
How do you feel about the addition of Ryan Lanteigne and his ability to perform on the judges stand with his DMCC experiences? What do you think about the departure of Ernie Fixmer as well?
The Japanese D1GP star Toshiki Yoshioka is BACK in Formula Drift for 2011. He will be piloting the Retaks V8 monster for the full 2011 season with the book bag brand Retaks. Yoshioka is one of the exclusive drivers in the series who have won an event by dominating Las Vegas in his AE86. I cannot wait to see the D1GP star driving a loud GM powered V8 in a 240sx for the new season. According to Facebook he has made his residence Los Angeles, California so it doesn’t sound like he will be returning to Japan for competition this season.
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