Formula Drift Round 7

Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro returned to Irwindale Speedway for the final event of the 2013 season. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 takes the event victory. Michael Essa in the GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 is crowned champion. Lexus wins the inaugural manufacturer's championship and Hankook Tire wins the tire championship for 2013.

Round 7: Final Fight at Irwindale Speedway was held in front of a sellout crowd and was the largest motorsport event in the venue’s history. The exciting event marked the end of the tenth season for the Series and was also the most attended for the Series with approximately over 20,000 attendees over the two day event.

“What a way to complete the tenth season with the biggest crowd and probably the biggest motorsport event ever in Irwindale Speedway history,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “We are extremely grateful for the fans, sponsors and drivers that have helped grow the series over the ten years and we look forward to many more seasons to come.”

The action unfolded beginning with Michael Essa, who entered the event with the point lead, earning the number one qualifying position giving him a good position into the Top 32 and advancing into the Top 16 where he was unable to continue in the event with a blown motor. This opened the door for Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Nissan 370Z, who entered the event in second place in the standings. Essa secured the championship when Forsberg lost to the 2012 champion, Daigo Saito, in the Great 8. This marks the first time a European vehicle has won the Formula DRIFT championship.

“Coming into this event I wanted to prove that this season wasn’t a fluke and sitting on the sideline wasn’t how I wanted the event to go down, but unfortunately that is what happened tonight,” said Michael Essa, 2013 Formula DRIFT champion. “The Formula DRIFT championship has always been my goal and I am extremely excited. There are so many amazing drivers and teams in the Series and being able to just compete with them is an honor. We are hoping to carry this momentum into the next season and earn more wins.”

The consolation round saw Robbie Nishida in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 against Forrest Wang in the Get Nuts Lab / Achilles Nissan 240SX. Wang got the best of Nishida to earn third place for his first ever Formula DRIFT podium. The final battle pitted Daigo Saito vs Tyler McQuarrie in the Mobil 1 / GoPro Chevrolet Camaro. McQuarrie hit the wall on the second battle to give Saito the event victory.

“To tell the truth I was not really feeling it in practice, but when the battles began and the lights turned on I was able to pull it together when it counted and am happy for the win to end the season,” said Daigo Saito, winner of Round 7: Final Fight. “I had a lot of issues with the car this year and I feel we weren’t able to get the car to the condition I really needed to be more competitive, but coming in third overall is something I am proud and happy about.”

Two new championships were added to the Series that included the tire and manufacturer championship. After seven events for the season, Lexus comes out on top for the inaugural manufacturer championship, while Hankook Tire takes the first tire championship. 

For more information visit:

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2013 Final Standings After Seven Rounds

1. Essa, Michael

GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3 555.50 Points
2. Foresberg, Chris NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z 538.00 Points
3. Saito, Daigo Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 510.50 Points
4. Aasbo, Fredric Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC 487.50 Points
5. Gittin Jr., Vaughn Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR  481.00 Points
6. Pawlak, Justin Falken Tire Ford Mustang 425.00 Points
7. Field, Matt CX Racing / Maxxis/ Blacktrax Nissan 240SX 407.00 Points
8. McNamara, Darren Falken Tire Nissan S14 388.50 Points
9. Nishida, Robbie Bridges Racing / Achilles Tire Lexus SC300 387.25 Points
10. Bakchis, Aurimas Nexen Tire Nissan S14 379.00 Points
11. Yoshihara, Daijiro Discount Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 333.50 Points
12. Grunewald, Conrad Hankook Tire / Megan Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS 309.50 Points
13. DeNofa, Chelsea BC Racing BMW 3 Series 291.00 Points
14. Tuerck, Ryan Team Retaks / Maxxis Scion Racing FR-S 291.00 Points
15. McQuarrie, Tyler Mobil 1 / GoPro Chevrolet Camaro 290.50 Points
16. Powers, Matt Fatlace / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX 282.00 Points

Round 7: Final Fight Event Results

1. Saito, Diago Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 First Place 
 2. McQuarrie, Tyler Mobil 1 / GoPro Chevrolet Camaro Second Place 
 3. Wang, Forrest Get Nuts Lab / Achilles Nissan 240SX Third Place 

Manufacturers Championship Final Standings After Seven Rounds

1. Lexus 975.50 Points
2. Nissan 912.50 Points
3. Ford 906.00 Points
4. Scion 866.50 Points
5. BMW 846.00 Points

Tire Final Championship Standings After Seven Rounds

1. Hankook 1053.50 Points
2. Falken 1008.00 Points
3. Achilles 973.25 Points
4. Nitto 834.50 Points
5. Yokohama 788.00 Points

Tokyo Auto Salon 2014: Mihama-ku, Chiba, Japan

The Tokyo Auto Salon 2014 was, at least for me, a great weekend filled with all manners of entertainment and spectacle. Whether you enjoyed it or not came down to how you viewed the weekend or, more specifically, what you were looking for. In my case, as always, this meant going in with an open mind to uncover some of the gems the show was bound to hold. This also meant getting there before anyone else did, so I found myself prowling the halls on the Thursday set up, one night before the floodgates opened to the press and general…

Niagara Tuner & Truck Expo 2015: Niagara Falls, Ontario

Tom Wilga and the staff at Niagara Tuner & Truck Expo were on Mother Nature's "good list" this year at Firemans Park in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Words and Photography by Randi Bentia Historically, Tom's charity event hasn't seen the best weather. A week prior to the 5th annual Niagara Tuner & Truck Expo, it seemed that the weather had the same plans with a forecast of "80% chance of rain" for the weekend in Niagara Falls. Then after a chilly night in Southern Ontario, the clouds broke free the morning of show-day to allow the sun to shine on the…

Nisei Week 2010

The JDM-specific Nisei Week show held in downtown LA is one of the best shows for Japanese car fans. The show is small consisting of a tight knit group of JDM enthusiasts who are reinventing how trends will develop. By definition Nisei Week is a cultural celebration of all of the first generation of Americans of Japanese descent (the Nisei) many of whom are car crazy! Last year we reported that the Nisei Week show was coming to an end at its 10th anniversay. However, The 11th annual actually happened and the show did not disappoint.The pictures speak for themselves…