Tuesday, April 05, 2011
CYPRESS, Calif. (April 5, 2011) – As the Formula DRIFT (Formula D) Pro Championship circuit slides into downtown Long Beach, Calif. on April 8-9, Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. once again will be there, sponsoring an expanded lineup of teams and drivers -- showcasing unique cars, memorable personalities and a motorsports experience like no other.
Now in its seventh year as a sponsor of Formula DRIFT, Nitto will back five teams and six drivers in the season’s inaugural event, “Round 1: The Streets of Long Beach” and in a half-dozen venues to follow during 2011. All teams and drivers will use the Nitto NT05 tires. The NT05 is Nitto’s most aggressive non-competition street tire, created with the performance driving enthusiast in mind. Developed through extensive computer simulation modeling and on-track testing, the NT05 provides precise, responsive handling.
Fans have been flocking to Formula D events, and another sellout is anticipated this weekend. Crowds will witness more than 60 teams skillfully sliding their cars sideways back and forth – called “drifting” – across the track's turns while taking in enticing views of the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, Shoreline Drive and the Long Beach Marina. This week’s action includes the qualifying rounds and an autograph session, with the main competition rounds following on Saturday. A full schedule can be found at www.formulad.com.
From Long Beach, the circuit continues its nationwide tour:
o “Round 2: Road to the Championship” - Road Atlanta (Braselton, Georgia) - May 6-7
o “Round 3: Invasion” - Palm Beach International Raceway (Palm Beach, Florida) - June 3-4
o “Round 4: The Gauntlet” - Wall Speedway (Wall, New Jersey) - June 17-18
o “Round 5: Throwdown” - Evergreen Speedway (Monroe, Washington) - July 22-23
o “Round 6: After Dark” - Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Las Vegas, Nevada) - August 26-27
o “Round 7: Title Fight” - Toyota Speedway (Irwindale, Calif.) - October 7-8
“Nitto has been a part of Formula DRIFT almost since its inception,” said Harry Kong, marketing & event specialist, Nitto Tire U.S.A. “On the Formula D circuit, quality and performance are essential. That’s why we’re especially proud of both our sponsorship and the opportunity to shine a light on the NT05, a tire that is made for competitive and everyday use. As we see it, if it's good enough for these guys, it should be a standout performer on any car.”
As a testament to the increasing popularity of drifting and Formula D, Nitto this year increased its sponsorship from five drivers to six on the five teams. On this season’s lineup:
o Ryan Tuerck/Gardella Racing: Tuerck is the primary driver for New Jersey-based Gardella, the first East Coast team Nitto has sponsored. He finished second in the overall standings in 2009 and third in 2010. This year, he will be behind the wheel of a state-of-the-art Chevy Camaro SS, built by Gardera.
o Eric O'Sullivan/Gardella Racing: Formula D's Rookie of the Year for 2009, O’Sullivan joins Gardella this year. He will drive a 2008 Pontiac Solstice, previously used by Tuerck and powered by a Gardella-built Chevy LS3 V8.
o Joon Maeng/Bergenholtz Racing: Maeng starts his second year with his Mazda RX8, saying he's “excited to get out there” with the Full Tilt Poker Mazda Nitto Drift Team. This year’s car includes some aerodynamic additions including front splitters and a wing.
o Matt Powers: In 2010 Powers was the youngest driver to place in Formula D's Top 16. His Nissan s14 features an LS7 engine out of a Corvette Z06 mounted by GTI. Powers' title sponsor is Electronic Arts’ Need for Speed series of video games.
o Charles Ng Racing: Ng was Formula D's Rookie of the Year runner up in 2010. “Kaki” will again drive a Mazda FC RX7 with an LS7 engine, which has seen several upgrades during the off-season.
o Michael Essa/GSR Autosport: This Southern California native's BMW Z4, with a turbocharged E46 engine, is the first Z4 to be used in Formula D competition.
For up-to-date reports on the action, fans can also visit the Nitto Tire Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/NittoTire.