Team Falken, a two-time manufacturer’s champion in Formula Drift, came to the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time to compete in Round 3 of this year’s Formula D Championship, and despite stiff competition, continues its push toward the title with Falken team member Justin Pawlak remaining in 5th place overall.
Fifty-eight entrants participated in round one of the night’s series of eliminations. Pawlak advanced to the Top 16 round, but was stopped from progressing when a tough “one more time” run took his opponent to the next stage. The night went to Vaughn Gittin, Jr., as the overall winner.
Falken teammates Darren McNamara and Daijiro Yoshihara, the 2011 Formula D champion, continued to suffer mechanical gremlins and did not fare well. They sit in 11th and 31st, respectively, in this year’s standings.
A capacity crowd cheered on all the drivers, experiencing the rush from the sport of drifting for the first time at this highly regarded oval track. Fans continuously visited Falken’s Activation Booth to collect autographs as well as receive Falken giveaways and posters from the brand’s Spokesmodels. Another part of Team Falken’s focus was hosting more than 50 dealers at the raceway.
Falken remains committed to moving forward in its quest for a third Formula D championship, as it gains more data – from a new circuit – to advance the durability and grip of its Azenis line of tires. The AZENIS RT615K tire used by all three drivers in Formula D is extremely balanced for many of today’s sports cars, performance compacts and sedans. It is available in 21 sizes, from 14- to 18-inch.
Pawlak, who pushed hard in his Ford Mustang, noted the challenges Team Falken has experienced, but remains highly optimistic about the balance of the season.“We’re heading to some of Team Falken’s favorite tracks in the next two rounds, and I’m confident we’ll back on the podium shortly.”
On a related note, Formula Drift introduced its Pro 2 Series, which will provide a platform that allows younger drivers to compete in what’s being called a “Formula D feeder series” preparing them to step up into the Pro 1 class.Falken Driver Nate Hamilton took second place in the inaugural Pro 2 Series round at Miami.
Round 4 of the 2013 Formula Drift Championship will take place June 20-21 when drivers will take on “The Gauntlet” that is Wall Speedway in Wall, NJ.The 64-year-old racetrack has currently been renovated and will provide drift fans with dynamic show on the track’s inner oval.The schedule for this year’s racing events can be found at:http://formulad.com/schedule/pro-championship/
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.