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Over the past four years, Formula D’s Rookie of the Year award has gone to an international driver who has made the transition to compete in Formula D. This year, the award seems up for grabs, with several pro-am graduates competing with a few international drivers for the right to be crowned Rookie of the Year. Several of the previous ROTY award winners have gone on to sign lucrative sponsorship deals, so earning the trophy can truly change someone’s career. We’re giving you a look at this year’s rookie class.

Walker Wilkerson

Walker Wilkerson

Team Walker Wilkerson Racing

Car 1992 Fatlace / Intec Racing Nissan 240sx

Entering last year’s ProAm finale at Irwindale, Wilkerson earned a top qualifier award and a podium finish in his local Evergreen Drift proam series, but was unable to make all events in the series and finished 7th overall. At the ProAm final, he earned a humble 8th place qualifying effort, but utilized his tandem skills to earn a 2nd-place overall finish. However, as the 2011 Formula D season got underway, it was clear that Walker has been practicing in the off season. Walker has become known for his ‘backwards’ entries and extreme steering angle, despite driving one of the only SR20-powered cars on the FD roster. He has lead the rookie-of-the-year points standings for the first half of the season, but will have a target on his back for the second half of the year. Will he have enough to hold off the competition?Walker Wilkerson

 

Age 21

Height 5’ 7”

Weight 145

Nickname Masamori

Car Number 95

Hometown Snohomish, WA

Occupation College Student

Engine 2.3L Stroker SR20DET

Horsepower 500whp/440wtq

Sponsors Fatlace, Garage Autohero, Falken Tire, Intec Racing, APEXi, NorthwestNissans.com, AW Films, Seibon, EastInde Records, Exedy,
S-Gear, 326 Power, ShaftMasters, Factory 83, KAAZ, Yaer Productions

 


Pat Cyr

 

Pat Cyr

Team Drift Posse

Car 1986 HSD Suspension Toyota AE86

Pat Cyr was probably the biggest favorite during the off season due to his experience in the Drift Mania series in Canada. Pat has won 5 rounds in the DMCC series, finishing 2nd in points overall last season. Cyr also won the year-end Pro-Am event at Irwindale last season after qualifying second overall, showing his experience particularly in tandem. In the off season, Cyr focused on lightening his AE86 chassis even further, fabricating his own fiberglass doors, fenders, hood, trunk, and roof. Pat’s Corolla is powered by a turbocharged F20C motor out of an S2000, making his car one of the most unique cars on the grid.

Age 27

Height 5’ 10”Pat Cyr

Weight 175

Nickname Lord Cyr

Car Number 68

Hometown Ontario, CA

Occupation Mechanic

Engine F20C Turbo

Horsepower N/A

Sponsors HSD Suspension, Falken Tires, Misimoto, JRP, u2ndyno.com, visual sugar.com, Cyrious Production, Weir Performance

 


 

Otto Graven

Otto Graven

Team Drift Posse

Car 1986 HSD Suspension Toyota AE86

 

A relative unknown coming into the 2011 season, Otto Graven is only the second driver ever to be born in the continent of South Africa (Tony Brakohiapa was born in Ghana) and the first driver to earn a championship in Africa before coming to the US. Graven is the reigning two-time champion of the South African National Drifting series, and has previously trained with famed Team Orange driver Nobushige Kumakubo in Japan. Graven is an entrepreneur in his native country of South Africa, having purchased a local race circuit to convert it into a world class circuit as well as body shop, mechanic shop, and driving school all open to the public. Drifting in South Africa is relatively new, with competitive drifting having only 3 years of presence in the country. Look for Graven to be the first of many South Africans to come to Formula D.Otto Graven

 

Age 36

Height 6’ 2”

Weight N/A

 

Nickname N/A

Car Number 113

Hometown Kimberley, SA

Occupation Entrepreneur

 

Engine 3.8L Stroked Twin-Turbo’d VQ35

Horsepower N/A

Sponsors Monstermob Racing

 


 

 

Kenny Moen

Kenny Moen

Team N/A

Car 2003 BK Racing Nissan 350ZKenny Moen

After seeing fellow Norwegian Freddy Aasbo win the 2010 Rookie of the year award, Moen decided it was his turn to compete in Formula D. Moen shipped his 350Z chassis over for the series, the same one that piloted Tanner Foust to back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008. Moen also owns the S2000 that Stephan Papadakis had competed in for several seasons before committing to being a full-time owner and crew chief. Moen has won se veral events in Europe, routinely beating some of the other European drivers who now compete in Formula D. Look for Moen to make his mark in Formula D in the coming years.

 

Age 32

Height 5’ 8”

Weight N/A

Nickname Fast Kenny

Car Number 76

Hometown Oslo, NOR

Occupation Car Painter

Engine Nissan Twin Turbo VQ35

Horsepower 500whp

Sponsors BK Racing, Gumball 3000, Carbonetic,Lillestrom Bil, Don’t Trust Anyone

 


Aurimas 'Odi' Bakchis

 

Aurimas 'Odi' Bakchis

Team Bakchis Motorsports

Car 1995 Forged Racing Nissan 240 SX

In 2010, Odi Bakchis made a name for himself by winning the XDC round in Vegas, and later winning the Formula D Pro-Am event in Vegas as well. Bakchis competed in rally and motocross before adopting drifting as an excuse to get seat time for his rally racing, but soon dropped other motorsports after enjoying the fun-factor of drifting over other forms of wheeled sports. Odi’s S14 is a new build for the 2011 season, powered by an LS1 for a combination of power and reliability. Odi has proven that he has what it takes to win at the amateur level, look for him to increase his presence at the professional level in coming years.

 

Age 27Aurimas 'Odi' Bakchis

Height 5’ 10”

Weight 155

Nickname N/A

Car Number 723

Hometown Kaunas, LT

Occupation Owner of Feal Suspension

Engine LS1 V8

Horsepower 500whp/440wtq

Sponsors Forged Racing, Feal Suspension, 702 Graphics, Clutch Masters, Torco, CBM Motorsports, R Rated Motorsports, Godspeed, Dstroyr, Hot Bits

 


 

Luke Lonberger

Luke Lonberger

Team BLU808, Hankoo Tire, LG Motorsports

Car 2005 BLU808 LG Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette

 

Lonberger is one of the most experienced of the 2011 Rookie class, having driven in Formula D back in 2004 and 2005 before taking several years off to focus on his fabrication shop Blu808. Lonberger toured for the 2010 season as Conrad Grunewald’s crew chief and chief fabricator on the Hankook Camaro before building up his own Corvette for the 2011 season. Lonberger qualified via the ThunderDrift ProAm series in Norcal, and also competed in a handful of Just Drift events as well. Blu808 has turned into somewhat of a specialist in the GM LS family of motors, starting with Lonberger’s own FD RX7 back in 2005 and most recently the Hankook Camaro (originally LS-A, now LS-7 powered) and Lonberger’s Corvette.Luke Lonberger

 

Age 28

Height 5’ 10”

Weight N/A

 

Nickname N/A

Car Number 28

Hometown Los Gatos, CA

Occupation Blu808.com

Engine Turn Key Engine Supply Ls2 stroke

Sponsors Blu808, Hankook Tire, LG Motorsports, Laboratory17, Turn Key Engine Supply, Exedy,Clutch, Forgeline wheels, Driveshaft Shop, Aim Sports, Extreme Dimensions, TD Garage, Aeromotive, Nos energy drinks, Jordan Innovations, Newtech Performance, Orlandi Trailer inc., Bob’s Donuts, Cutty Clothing, K-sport, ThunderDrift, CGR, Magna Design


Kyle Pollard

Kyle Pollard

Team Intec Racing

Car K's Silva S13

 

Pollard, like many ProAm drivers, started with an AE86 Corolla as his first drift car, and has been hooked on the chassis ever since. Moving from the 4AG engine to the F20 Corolla engine, Pollard has always been in an underpowered car, which has allowed him to focus on his driving skills. For 2011, Pollard is building an authentic RHD K’s Silvia, with a stroked SR20 motor which will debut at the Seattle round of Formula D. Pollard has previously worked with the Intec Racing Formula D program which has fielded cars for Mitsuru Haraguchi and Dean Kearney, and feels that he has what it takes to be competitive in the series.Kyle Pollard

 

Age 22

Height 5’ 8”

Weight N/A

Nickname N/A

Car Number N/A

Hometown Portland, OR

Occupation Fabricator

 

Engine Tomei-stroked 2.2L SR20

Horsepower N/A

Sponsors Intec Racing, Tomei, Doc Race, JUN TUN