The 2011 Formula Drift season culminated at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California, known affectionately as the “House of Drift.” This year’s final race was quite a thriller, as multiple teams were within striking distance of the season championship spot. Our final episode of Driven to Drift for 2011 is full of excellent race footage and insights from our two favorite drifters.
The Speedway was packed with plenty of excited drift fans. RS-R driver Ken Gushi said, “I don’t think I have ever seen that many fans in a Formula D venue, ever.” Our Scion drivers Gushi and Fredric Aasbo’s pre-race excitement was certainly an indicator of the energy at the event.
Before having a chance to drive in the qualifying round, Aasbo had valve train issues with his Need for Speed 2011 Scion tC, which caused some frustration and tension for Fredric and his team. They took the setback in stride, knowing that the new car and new driver would cause surprises, and they repaired the tC as best as possible.
Gushi went up against Taka Aono in the Round of 32, and raced well enough to secure a win without taking too many risks. Aasbo rushed to the track for the Round of 32 after last minute repairs were made to his tC. He faced closely-matched opponent Kyle Mohan. Aasbo’s trademark aggressive performance unfortunately led him to clipping the wall with his back end, sending the front of the car slamming into the wall. The team attempted to repair the car in the 5 minutes allowed between runs, but the suspension damage proved to be insurmountable and Fredric’s season came to an all to abrupt en
Ken Gushi drew the toughest position in the stadium when he was matched up with season points leader Dai Yoshihara of Falkan Factory racing in his Nissan Silvia, aka 240sx S13. Ken bravely put it all on the line, throwing loads of smoke with his 2010 tC and drifting dangerously close to the wall in order to throw Dai off his game. Ken eventually took a bump from the shaken Dai, and he went on to defeat the season leader.
But there are no breaks in Formula Drift, and the Round of 8 placed Ken opposite the gutsy Tyler McQuarrie in his Nissan 350z. Although Ken never pulled back on the aggressive racing and massive smoke screens, McQuarrie pushed through it all to force Gushi to make the same mistakes Yoshihara had made in the round before. McQuarrie took the round and the rest of the event, placing 1st at Irwindale and 4th on the season.
Ken and Fredric had commendable attitudes and pride in their teamsand the lessons they learned throughout this tough season, which had many ups and downs for both drivers. They each also improved one position over last year, Aasbo 12th and Gushi 14th, providing a personal victory and proof of a hard-fought season.
Congratulations to our Scion drivers, Dai Yoshihara on his 2011 season win, and well done to all the Formula Drift drivers and teams, whose performance and dedication are making Formula Drift grow at a thrilling rate!
Watch Episode 7 of Driven to Drift for all the exciting details and footage! Check back with us to find out everything you need to know about Formula Drift 2012 and Scion Racing!