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Daigo Saito No Longer in Formula Drift – Still With Wanli Tire As Reported

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Daigo Saito is officially official not coming back to Formula Drift for the 2016 season. Just five days ago I made a post predicting that “Pretty big announcement that makes me think no Daigo Saito in Formula Drift for 2016.” when we broke he was running Wanli Tires in Japan for D1GP. So now Achilles Radial has released an official statement that Daigo is not returning to America this year. Bye Daigo and thanks for the memories!

 

OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON DAIGO SAITO

There have been many rumors floating around lately, and we find it unfortunately necessary to address them. Daigo Saito notified us that he intended to focus on D1GP and would not be competing in Formula Drift in 2016. Achilles Tires will be returning as a Major Sponsor of Formula DRIFT USA, and this series will be the cornerstone of our motorsports marketing efforts globally. Without a commitment to compete in the series, it did not make sense to continue the relationship. We wish Daigo the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Achilles Motorsports will be making our official 2016 Motorsports Program announcement on March 24th.

Ryan Tuerck Debuts 2016 Formula Drift Toyota with Gumout

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Ryan Tuerck debuts his 2016 Formula Drift livery showing off his new tire company (Hankook Tire) and his big title sponsor Gumout. The unveiling was done via Twitch TV with Forza Motorsport. Tuerck has seemingly left the Retaks camp for 2016 and is now running the team more on his own from what we have seen. He retains other partners from years past including WiseFab and Disc Brakes Australia. Ryan and his program are now official Scion Racing by Toyota members as well which was announced earlier this month.

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2016 JUST DRIFT PRO AM TOP DRIFT ROUND 1 [RESULTS]

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JustDrift kicked off their 2016 Pro-Am series, dubbed “Top Drift”, with the first round of competition taking place on the Balcony course at Willow Springs. Formula Drift veterans Taka Aono, Hiro Sumida, and Justin Pawlak judged the competition, and nearly 60 drivers registered to attempt to make the top 16 tandem bracket. Jason Kim and Adam Knapik had a fierce battle of V8-swapped S14’s in the final, but many people (including Justin Pawlak) were hyped on Kelvin Arreola’s podium finish in his sub-200hp Corolla.

Here’s a look at the podium results:

1st – Jason Kim – Nissan S14

2nd – Adam Knapik – Nissan S14

3rd – Kelvin Arreola – Toyota Corolla

Photo Credit: JustDrift

Extreme Drift All-Stars Releases 2016 [SCHEDULE]

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The guys at Extreme Drift All-Stars just released a solid 2016 schedule with stops in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa! They also rolled out a new title sponsor with Monster Energy for the 2016 season. Monster Energy will be bringing some of their star drivers with Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni and Dmitriy Illyuk competing alongside the current EXTREME Drift Allstars roster of world class drivers.

Round 1. Abu Dhabi Drift GP Yas Marina Circuit April 7-8th
Round 2. British Drift GP Lydden Hill May 1-2nd
Round 3. Global Warfare EXTREME Drift Allstars Vs Irish Drift Championship @ Mondello Park July 2-3rd
Round 4. Estonian Drift GP-Laitse Rally Park July 29-30th
Round 5. Latvian Drift GP -Bikernieki Circuit August 5-6th
Round 6. German Drift GP August 12-13th
Round 7. Hungarian Drift GP August 26-27th – Trackwood Festival
Round 8 . Thai Drift GP Chang International Circuit October 21-23rd
Round 9 – South African Drift GP Cape Town December 16-17th

 

We have this schedule and many more on our Find An Event Page.

Back 2 Basics at Ebisu Circuit Japan with BC Racing [VIDEO]

An awesome and unique look at Ebisu Circuit done by BC Racing with some quality interviews with Chris DeJager and Andrew Gray about drifting in Japan. They also swing by Fat Five Racing and look at some of Daigo Saito’s cars sitting around the shop. Sit back and enjoy some great cinematography and drifting out of Japan.

Daigo Saito Moves to Wanli Tire for 2016

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For quite some time we have been hearing rumors about Daigo Saito and Achilles Radial breaking up and it looks like that has come true. Dennis shared us this image of Daigo Saito’s Lamborghini sporting Wanli Tires today (original post found here). It also appears that D1GP has gotten the memo and under the Tokyo Drift listing has his team as Wanli Fat Five Racing (here). Pretty big announcement that makes me think no Daigo Saito in Formula Drift for 2016. I checked with my contacts and was told Wanli is not a tire sponsor of Formula Drift for 2016. We will see where the chips fall but losing Daigo in 2016 would be a huge loss for the series.

Nexen Tire Announce Ken Gushi and Fredric Aasbo

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Nexen Tire is making a big return back to the Formula Drift championship in 2016. They have officially announced that Fredric Aasbo and Ken Gushi will be on the Nexen Tire team for the new season. In February we announced that former champions would be heading to Nexen Tire and it looks like we nailed Aasbo making the move! Pretty exciting that Ken Gushi has made the jump to a new tire for the 2016 season. Assuming the tire is decent quality, he has a serious chance at a 2016 championship run after watching him perform last season.

Kelsey Rowlings Showing Off Ford 5.0L Nissan 240sx for Pro 2

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Kelsey Rowlings has a new Nissan 240sx build getting set to debut for the 2016 Formula Drift Pro 2 season. Kelsey Rowlings has been on our radar for years and was mentioned in our Tribute to Women of Formula Drift along with this insanely awesome qualifying video of her throwing down at Three Palms seen here. Her new Pro 2 build includes a Ford Performance 5.0L Coyote engine that already gives her and the car a unique stepping stone for 2016. The car is a full blown Pro 2 build and we can expect her to debut it at Round 1 in Atlanta.

2016 Formula Drift Japan Round 1: Suzuka [RESULTS]

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For the second consecutive year, Andrew Gray took home the win at the Suzuka round of Formula Drift Japan. Despite having 32 entrants, only 29 drivers could muster a qualifying score, landing the top three drivers in qualifying a first round bye. Andrew Gray defeated defending Pro 2 champion Alex Heilbrunn in the top 32 round, a rivalry that should heat up as both drivers kick off the Formula Drift Pro season in just four weeks. Gray defeated top qualifier Seimi Tanaka in the semifinal, the second consecutive year he faced Tanaka towards the end of the competition. Daichi Oshiro snuck into the podium after taking out defending Formula Drift Rookie of the Year Masashi Yokoi in the top 16.

Here’s a look at the final podium:

1. Andrew Gray
2. Daichi Oshiro
3. Seimi Tanaka

Source: Hanny_Jey

Formula Drift Japan at Suzuka Twin Circuit

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The Formula Drift season is kicking off this weekend in Japan with a non World Championship round at Szukua Circuit. Alex Heilbrunn is running Daigo Saito’s old Lexus SC430 for the weekend and competing so keep an eye out for him.

Saturday March 12
1:00 PM (JAPAN STANDARD TIME) – Qualifying
8:00 PM (Friday March 11th PST) – Qualifying
Sunday March 13
9:30 AM (JAPAN STANDARD TIME) – TOP 32
4:30 PM (Saturday March 12 PST) – Top 32
1:00 PM (JAPAN STANDARD TIME) – TOP 16
8:00 PM (Saturday March 12th PST) – Qualifying