In the context of motorsports, 10 years is an eternity. During the decade that’s passed since the Scion brand was established, we witnessed the launch of Formula Drift, Rally America, MPTCC, Redline Time Attack, and a variety of other series that would grow to become a focus of the Scion Racing program. Our family of teams and drivers expanded from a single Scion tC with a rear-wheel drive conversion, to a stable that includes some of the most talented road, rally, drag, and drift drivers that are in active competition.
In the context of motorsports, 10 years also isn’t a very long time. We’ve been fortunate enough to count Toyota Racing’s storied heritage as part of our own, but in the process of forging our own path through disciplines both old and new, we’ve learned that there’s still a lot left for us to prove outside of the Toyota umbrella.
Our 2013 season served as a benchmark year for us – one that’s proven that we’ve built a solid foundation for the sustained success of all our teams, while at the same time, showing us that there’s plenty of room for growth. So, with the season officially behind us, here’s a look back at one of our most exciting years yet.
All three of our drift teams and drivers from 2012 returned for another tour of duty, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get the chance to welcome a new face into the fold. With the TAngelo Racing Scion tC having been retired after last season’s finale, Tony Angelo and his team took the offseason as an opportunity to rebuild his program around the Scion FR-S platform.
The team built the car from the ground up in just over three months, transplanting the 2AZ engine from his tC into the body of an FR-S he salvaged from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. While it took a couple of rounds to get the car dialed in, Tony and his team had it top form by season’s end, and gave everyone in the field a clear look at why their particular combination of chassis and motor would make for one of the most competitive cars in the series going forward.
In just four short years of Formula Drift competition, Fredric Aasbo has earned a place among the series’ top drivers, accomplishing far more than what many other drivers could hope to in a full career. His 2013 season was easily his best yet, finishing a 4th in the overall standings while earning a podium at Evergreen Speedway and making at least the Great 8 at every single event.
At the root of Fredric’s success over the past three seasons has been the Papadakis Racing team. Though the team is small by any measure, consisting of just Shawn Hillier, Aldo Villagran, and its namesake, Stephan Papadakis, they’ve been able to take on the absolute best with the resources they’ve had on hand, and propel the Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC to the top of the standings. Their work has paid dividends both on and off the track, with Fredric being named this season’s fan voted Driver of the Year, while Shawn and Aldo together shared the award for Crew Member of the Year.
Over the years, there’s a lot we’ve asked from Ken Gushi on both a personal and professional level, and no matter the responsibility he’s been tasked with, he’s proven himself capable of delivering time and time again. Whether it was helping us introduce the first RWD converted Scion tC, ushering in the era of the Scion FR-S, or making a trip to the summit of Pikes Peak, he’s consistently shown an ability to perform with the best, all while keeping a finger on the pulse of the Scion community.
2013 was a rollercoaster of a season for Ken and the GReddy Racing team, as they faced their fair share of ups and downs, but the foundation they have in place for next season and beyond should bring them back to where they want to be. You’ve seen glimpses of what they’ve got in store for next season with the GReddy Racing Scion FR-S prototype, and if that’s an indication of what we’ll get on the track, 2014 may very well be Ken’s best year yet.
From the moment Andrew Comrie-Picard and Jeremy Wimpey kicked off the Sno*Drift Rally all the way back in January, we knew that this would be a huge season for them. Race after race, and stage after stage, ACP and the Scion Racing Rally xD team flew past the competition, filling their trophy case along the way with a podium at every single event this year.
The Rally xD team earned their best finish to date, earning 2nd Place in the Rally America 2WD Championship and only barely missing out on 1st Place by 6 seconds on the final stage of the season. Their success has been paramount in establishing the Scion xD as a platform that’s viable for the rough and unforgiving terrain of rally trails, and proving that they’re as driven as any other team to reach the top of the standings.
Pirelli World Challenge Championships
A development year typically means tempered expectations, but Robert Stout and the KSR team have never been known to hold back. Accordingly, their first year competing in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships with the LoanMart KSR Scion FR-S has been spent pushing boundaries and finding out what their car is truly capable of.
The TRD supercharged car has shown flashes of its full potential at times this season, and with Robert at the wheel, there’s a bright road ahead for the KSR team. Together, they’ve already earned an award for Best Standing Start, and there’s certain to be even more accolades in the future with the kind of work ethic the team has displayed.
MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championships
It’s not easy winning a championship, as Michele Abbate and the Dynamic Autosports team can tell you from experience, and it’s even harder defending one. Coming into the 2013 MPTCC season as the series’ reigning champion, Michele and the team hit a run of bad luck and mechanical issues that ended up costing them a second run at the title. In spite of the issues, the team has kept their heads held high, and Michele is more than ready for a comeback season next year.
With a track record of consistent success, it’s only a matter of time before she finds her way back to the top with the support of her team. The Dynamic Autosports Scion tC will be back on the track going wheel to wheel with the best that MPTCC has to offer before we know it, and with a full season of development on the car, they’ll once again be the favorites to take back their title.
Scott Kelley and the Scion Bullet xB have found their way to multiple titles over the years, first taking opponents by surprise, and now taking victories by force. His car is one of the few cars in the world capable of posting sub-10 second quarter mile times, to say nothing of its naturally aspirated front wheel drive setup.
Another season of NHRA competition has allowed Scott and his team to reestablish their dominance as one of the premier drag racing teams, and show that there’s far more to being fast than appearances would suggest. With a short offseason to rest and recover, the Scion Bullet xB will soon be back on the asphalt, blazing down the track.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The Evasive Motorsports Scion FR-S joined us for our second consecutive trip up Pikes Peak, joining our contingent led by the Scion Racing Rally xD and the GReddy Racing Scion tC. Last year’s hill climb left ACP and GReddy driver Takeshi Aizawa itching for more, eager to best their times conquering the world famous race.
Though the Evasive Motorsports team submitted an impressive time of 10:59.744 in the Unlimited class, adverse weather conditions hit as ACP and Takeshi were beginning to make their ascent, preventing them from pushing their respective cars to their limits. Still, ACP and the Scion Racing Rally xD earned the fastest time of any FWD car on the hill, making it in only 12:39.891, while Takeshi followed close behind with a time of 13:20.045. A second return to the hill looks probable for next season, and conditions permitting, we think we’ll see the absolute best from each of the teams in 2014.
With one big year behind us, and another huge one quickly making its way around the corner, we’ve got a lot to do to prepare. Watching it unfold is going to be amazing, and we’re hoping you’re there to join us as we continue to add new chapters to the Scion Racing story.