The success of the Scion Racing program has always come as a direct result of what our teams have been able to accomplish on the track. In 2012, we were fortunate enough to be able to work with an unparalleled group of professionals that helped make this year one of our absolute best to date. From drift and time attack to drag racing and rally, every one of the drivers carrying the banner for our program achieved far more than what we could’ve asked of them, giving us much reason to look forward to what’s in store for 2013. As the current year winds its way to a close, however, we’d like to take a minute to look back on each team’s performance during the 2012 season.
Joining the team after a 3 year hiatus from driving, Tony Angelo stepped out of the judge’s booth and into Ken Gushi’s former Scion tC for his return to the track. Tony quickly proved that rust from his time away wouldn’t be an issue as he managed to qualify for the Top 32 at every event, moving to the Top 16 at two of them. Although mechanical issues with his car threatened to derail his season, the TAngelo Racing team persevered through them and made it out to the final event at Irwindale Speedway. Their performance there was good enough to earn them 23rd in the standings – better than over half the field in only his first year back with a new car.
Fan favorite driver Ken Gushi was back with Scion Racing for the 5th year, this time with a few new faces in tow. Now backed by the GReddy Racing team, Ken was tasked with piloting the Scion FR-S for its competitive debut. GReddy’s work building the car during the offseason helped get the FR-S off to a running start, and gave them the early momentum they needed to establish a foothold among the top of the standings. Their work eventually led to a big payoff, as Ken managed to finish the season in 8th place – a 6 spot jump from the previous season. A full year or data under their belts and more time to jell as a team have their prospects for 2013 looking brighter than ever.
Fredric Aasbo returned to competition in the Need for Speed Scion tC, and spent the season living up to his “champ killer” nickname, driving his way to podium finishes at both Round 2 in Atlanta, and Round 6 in Las Vegas. His performance in Las Vegas was particularly impressive, as he both took on and took down a number of former Formula Drift champions, including Chris Forsberg, Dai Yoshihara, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. Stephan Papadakis and the Papadakis Racing team kept the tC running flawlessly through each event, and had it pushing out an impressive 720 horsepower to the wheels by the final round. Appropriately, Stephan was honored with the Team Manager of the Year award, while Fredric’s “hold stumt” approach to the track earned him awards for Best Driving Style and Fan Favorite Driver. Their combined teamwork led them to a 6th Place finish for the season, and kept them in the championship hunt until the very end.
Back for another year in the Global Time Attack series was Chris Rado and the WORLD Racing team in the Need for Speed Scion tC. Chris and the GTA series shared the spotlight with Formula Drift for 2 of the season’s first 3 events, but he still managed to make them both all his own with 1st place finishes in the Unlimited FWD class at both. Combined with his other podium topping performances at Buttonwillow Raceway Park and New Jersey Motorsports Park, Chris once again showed why WORLD Racing is one of the premier names in the time attack field.
Michele Abbate, now with the Dynamic Autosports team, proved she wasn’t just a competitor on the track, but a champion as well. Her rookie year in the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championships saw her powering the Gruppe-S Scion tC to one strong finish after another, eventually earning her the MPTCC crown by season’s end. All throughout, the Dynamic Autosports team was able to keep the car running strong, doing everything they could to keep Michele in front of the field. Although Michele hasn’t been on the circuit for long, she’s managed to quickly establish herself as one of the premier road racing drivers, and a valuable member of the Scion Racing roster.
The Sparco Rally xD welcomed back Andrew Comrie-Picard for his first full season piloting the car. ACP and the Rally xD team raced out to the top of the standings immediately, holding on to the spot for the majority of the season. A catastrophic rear suspension failure at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally forced the team to relinquish their grasp on the position by way of a DNF, but the team quickly bounced back and finished the year 2nd in the FWD standings. The success of the team during their first full Rally America season not only established the Rally xD as a force in the discipline, but also served as an indicator of what’s still to come for the crew. With an entirely new build under way, the Rally xD team will be back even stronger in 2013.
For the 2012 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, ACP and the Sparco Rally xD team were joined by Takeshi Aizawa and the GReddy Racing Scion tC. Ken Gushi also made the trip out to Colorado to participate in the race, taking the wheel of the Lexus IS F CCS-R. Although PPIHC is one of the most demanding races in the world, with 155 corners and 4,720 feet worth of elevation along the course, each of the teams and drivers successfully made the trek to the summit. Pikes Peak offered the three groups a rare opportunity to combine their efforts and work closely with one another, which contributed to the quick times they each submitted. With 2012 in the books, the teams are looking forward to making the trip back to the mountain next year.
Scott Kelley and the Kelley Racing team were back in 2012 for a third straight run in the NHRA Super Stock division. Although appearances would suggest that the Scion Bullet xB makes for an unlikely drag car, the competition has seen his taillights enough times to know that it’s what’s under the hood that truly matters. Accordingly, Scott and the team took home a number of wins this season, including a Summit Series victory at Irwindale Speedway, and an NHRA Sport Nationals trophy at Las Vegas. Although none of his achievements have come easily, Scott and the Kelley Racing team have been able to find their way to the top time and time again through sheer hard work in the garage and unparalleled dedication to the sport.
2013 and the Road Ahead
The 2012 season was one of the most successful yet for the Scion Racing program, but there’s still a lot of work to be done for the upcoming year. We’ll be welcoming Robert Stout into the fold, as he takes the reigns of the Ken Stout Racing Scion FR-S for our inaugural season in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships. Meanwhile, the rally, drift, time attack, and drag teams are all in the garage, preparing their cars for runs in 2013. There’s a lot of great racing in store, and we can’t wait to see it all unfold. Join us in Atlanta, Michigan on January 25th, as ACP and the Sparco Rally xD team kicks things off at the Sno*Drift Rally!