Tyler McQuarrie is returning for the 2016 Formula Drift season in his Chevrolet Camaro. Tyler continues to be with Falken Tire moving into the new year along with Mobil 1. His new partnership for 2016 appears to be with Safecraft. The GoPro branding does seem to be reduced for the 16 season which is happening across Formula Drift and noted here. From our reports, it sounds like Tyler McQuarrie will also be assisting the likes of Pat Mordaunt again for 2016 in his 350z.
This new drift series Turismo Drift is offering some serious payouts for drivers in the southeast willing to make the trek around the state of Tennessee. Four rounds between May and November offer a $12,000 purse for each round. If you pay for the season the price comes out to just $200 a round. This means by qualifying in the Top 16 you would make $50 minimum. The big caveat here is getting paid out of course – so do your research and see if you think it will happen. Many series promising big payouts have come and gone in the past failing to pay out drivers so keep that in mind. If you have some talent behind the wheel and can swing four podiums out of the series then you are looking at a really nice pay day.
Michael Essa has debuted the final look of his 2016 Formula Drift BMW. He is returning to the E46 BMW chassis that won him a championship in 2013. Essa has also moved to Achilles Radial and continues to work with great brand such as Ignite Racing Fuel. His title sponsor is Loud Mouth Exhaust which is a new aftermarket exhaust company entering the marketplace. We also expect to see Michael Essa at some of the Street Driven Tour events across 2016 which I am pretty excited about!
Sikky Manufacturing also took to social media this week to announce that they will forego supporting their Formula Drift team of James Evans and “Rapper” Dan Savage for the 2016 season to focus on their V8 swap kit business instead. Savage was the 2014 Pro 2 Champion, while Evans finished fifth in 2014 and second in 2015 in the Pro 2 ranks. Both drivers competed in the Pro class for the entire 2015 season, with Savage finishing 25th and Evans finishing in 34th. Sikky will continue to have a presence on the Formula Drift grid as they sponsor several drivers including 2015 Pro 2 champion Alex Heilbrunn. Savage tells us he will be spotting for a Pro 2 driver this season, so he will still be available at a few events if fans are seeking autographs.
“Mad” Mike Whiddett posted some images of his RADBUL MX-5 Chassis this week on Instagram, which is now wearing bodywork from the Mazda MX-5 ND Chassis. This car started as an NC chassis Miata, and Whiddett explained via social media that he personally hand-built nearly all the panels to fit the chassis. This car looks awesome, and appears to possibly have some chrome blue vinyl as part of the livery. This car should be back in the US with plenty of time for the Long Beach round in 6 weeks, especially since there’s no strike at the Port of Long Beach like the one that backed up cargo traffic last year and caused Whiddett to miss Long Beach.
The Bergenholtz Racing Mazda RX-8 was driven by some of the biggest names in Formula Drift and built by a NHRA winning pedigree team. The car is a turn key Formula Drift build with a price tag of $85,000. The car was last driven by Chelsea DeNofa in Formula Drift at Irwindale Speedway in 2011.
The engine found inside the car is a Mazdatrix 3-Rotor with a dry sump system and a Garrett GTX GT42 Turbo to top it all off. If you are interested in the build or want more details on how this build came together head over to the Bergenholtz site where they have a complete page and write up on the build that is up for sale.
Earlier this year we broke the story that Jhonnattan Castro was no longer going to be a driver for Chris Forsberg Racing.I always felt like the Dominican Republic driver would have something up his sleeve for 2016 and here it is! Jhonnattan took to social media to post a Toyota FR-S clearly in progress just 43 days before Long Beach. The car does have a long way to go but we have even more juicy rumors to share about this project! From what we hear, Jhonnattan Castro will be on Nexen Tire for the 2016 season. The engine will be a 2JZ turbo setup to help push the car along the 2016 season and keep the car eligible for manufacturers championship. The rumor that got me the most was that the car/team/crew chief was falling under the likes of 2015 champion Stephan Papadakis. WOW, if all that is true it will be interesting to see how Castro performs in this upcoming season.
Alex Heilbrunn is going to debut in the Pro series for 2016 after winning the 2015 Pro 2 season. He is sticking with a E46 BMW with a big Chevrolet V8 under the hood. The car has quite a few more stickers than last season including Scoggin Dickey Performance Center, Chevrolet Performance, Sikky Manufacturing, and KW Suspension. Only time will tell if he can translate the dominating success in Pro 2 with the faster and more skilled drivers in the Pro series.
Our friends at Street Driven Tour tipped us off to this awesome new games in the iTunes store called Thumb Drift. The game allows you to select and unlock over 50+ cars that you can drift with just your thumb and an iPhone. I have had a blast playing it today on my flight home and just managed to unlock Hert’s RX-7 put in the game by Street Driven. Watch the trailer or head over to iTunes to check out Thumb Drift! Love to hear what cars you have unlocked or how you like the game. Another update coming soon once I dig into the game.
Takahiro Ueno received an approved petition for Formula Drift and will be running in the 2016 season! We have been told by several readers he currently has his 2JZ powered BMW for sale and will be running this Lexus RC for Formula Drift. This is another huge Japanese driver coming to America to battle it out with the best in the world. He will be a nice replacement since Yokoi isn’t going to return this year. If you aren’t familiar with Ueno we suggest checking out the video below from GT Channel.