Aasbo Oct 2015 6 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

The seven-event battle amongst 40 of the top drivers in the world makes the Formula Drift Championship one of the most competitive drifting series' in the world. While the overall championship is the ultimate goal, many of the drivers are awarded for their accomplishments at the annual awards banquet. Here's a quick rundown of who took home what hardware:

TOP QUALIFIER + BEST TANDEM WIN PERCENTAGE + MOST TANDEM WINS
FREDRIC AASBO

Aasbo 0448 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

Fredric Aasbo completed an impressive triple crown at the Irwindale finale, winning the Formula Drift USA Championship, the Formula Drift World Championship as well as the event itself, which might be the final professional drifting event at Irwindale Speedway. Aasbo also won a trio of awards for being the driver who averaged the best qualifying position, the driver who won the most tandems, and the driver with the best tandem winning percentage. Most impressively, Aasbo ended Daigo Saito’s undefeated streak at Irwindale, finally handing Saito a tandem battle loss at Irwindale for the first time in Saito’s Formula Drift career. There’s no doubting that Aaasbo was the best driver over the course of the season, and the plethora of awards proves that.

Aasbo 6816 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

FD PRO 2 CHAMPION
ALEX HEILBRUNN

Heilbrunn Podium 9050 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

Formula Drift’s Pro 2 class entered its second season with a roster that was a mix of Formula D Pro 2 drivers from last season, international entrants and Formula D Pro Am graduates. Alex Heilbrunn quickly emerged from the pack to dominate the first three events, winning two of three and taking

second place in Seattle. Heilbrunn entered the final event with the championship already in the bag, but still earned a Top 8 finish. He looks poised to make an impact in the top Pro class next season, and we look forward to seeing how he fits into the grid.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
MASASHI YOKI

Yokoi Oct 2015 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

Masashi Yokoi entered the season coming o a pair of Formula Drift Japan podiums, winning the event at Fuji in July and coming in second to Aasbo at the December event in Okayama. Building a twin 2JZ-powered S15 to use in Formula Drift USA, Yokoi took a few events to get used to the judging, but broke out with a Top 8 finish in Orlando and a Top 4 finish in New Jersey. After a dip in performance in Seattle, Yokoi took the overall event win in Texas and finished in 6th overall in the championship. We expect Yokoi to come back stronger next season now that he has dialed his car in and knows what to expect from the Formula Drift judges. We think he could possibly compete for the championship.

OEM MANUFACTURER’S CHAMPIONSHIP
SCION

Scion 6488 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

Scion won the OEM Manufacturer’s Championship for the second consecutive season, and did so in resounding fashion. Counting the top two drivers at each event who drove a car that was powered by an engine from the same manufacturer as the chassis, Scion earned an impressive 1,110 championship points over the course of the season, with the closest manufacturer only holding 640 points using the same system. Three different drivers in Scion-badged cars contributed to this accomplishment and, in total, Scion badged cars took home 11 trophies on the season including five of seven event wins.

HERE ARE THE DRIVERS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE WIN:

DRIVERS CONTRIBUTED WIN 1

TIRE MANUFACTURER CHAMPIONSHIP
HANKOOK

Forsberg Oct 2015 15 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

For the third consecutive season, Hankook Tire claims the tire manufacturer championship. Much like Scion’s dominance in the OEM championship, Hankook earned 1,094 points, while the closest tire brand only earned 681 points using the same method. The top three drivers in the overall championship all used Hankook tires, and Hankook capped o the year by sweeping the final podium at Irwindale. Overall, Hankook took home 12 trophies on the season, including four event wins.

FAN FAVORITE CAR
DAIGO SAITO'S NISSAN GT-R

Saito Oct 2015 8 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

Although not the first Nissan GT-R in Formula Drift competition (Robbie Nishida competed in a Nissan GT-R in 2010), Saito’s GT-R was definitely one of the most impressive cars on grid all season. At times, Saito’s GT-R created walls of tire smoke that looked straight out of the SpyHunter video game. Unfortunately, the car didn’t have the best year mechanically, and his overall results suffered a bit. Looking beyond the gremlins, fans voted the car as their favorite, which is a title that many of the drivers hold close to their hearts.

FAN FAVORITE DRIVER
"MAD" MIKE WHIDDETT

MadMike 7620 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

“Mad” Mike’s return to the U.S. after a four-season hiatus was well received by the fans, and cheers for his name during Top 16 driver introductions were always among the loudest. Whiddett’s four-rotor Miata may be the smallest car on grid, yet it churned out incredible amounts of grip and tire smoke at every round. Whiddett’s outgoing personality is always a hit with the fans, and is a big reason for winning this award.

MOST IMPROVED DRIVER
ALEC HOHNADELL (RANKED 31ST IN 2014, RANKED 10TH IN 2015)

Hohnadell 0508 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

At the end of the 2014 season, Hohnadell looked like just another rookie who may have been in over his head by stepping directly into the Formula D Pro class after graduating from the Pro Am ranks. However, after joining the Get Nuts Labs team with Forrest Wang, Hohnadell drove on another level this season and was a tough competitor in all of his tandem battles. Hohnadell earned his first career podium in Seattle, and also had a pair of Top 8 appearances in Orlando and Texas. At 20-years-old, Hohnadell represents a new generation of drivers who are looking to unseat some of the veterans of the sport. Check out the full feature on page 72.

COME BACK OF THE SEASON
DEAN KEARNEY (QUALIFIED 21ST, FINISHED 2ND IN NEW JERSEY)

Kearney 6624 Formula Drift 2015 PASMAG

A stat-based award, this award goes to the driver who made the biggest improvement from his qualifying effort on Friday to the tandem competition on Saturday. By earning his second career Formula D podium in New Jersey, Kearney earned a Formula D award for the second consecutive season after earning the “Most Improved” award last season. At 14th, Kearney finished lower in the season standings compared to last season’s 10th overall finish, but he had some tough judging decisions go against him at times despite feeling like he could have won many of the matches. The ongoing joke is that if it weren’t for bad luck, the Irishman would have no luck at all. At least his luck held together for one event of the season!

HERE ARE THE DRIVERS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE WIN:

DRIVERS CONTRIBUTED WIN

Contributors: Jacob Leveton (www.jacobphoto.com JacobLevetonDrift), Brad Hodgin

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