Michael Essa captures the Formula Drift title
Yokohama Tire Corporation-sponsored Michael Essa is the king of Formula Drift – but it wasn’t easy. Essa, who drives on Yokohama’s newest ultra high-performance ADVAN Neova AD08 R tires, claimed the 2013 Formula D championship in front of a sellout-crowd during Saturday’s Round 7 “Title Fight” season finale at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California.
Essa entered the final day of competition with a seemingly comfortable15-point lead. It increased with a first-place qualifying effort, but the engine blew on his GSR Autosport E46 BMW M3 during the first competition round and he was unable to compete again. He and his crew had to then nervously wait for hours to see if the point lead would hold up – and it did.
Gaining the title is amazing,” a jubilant and relieved Essa said afterwards. “I had a big enough points lead to get it done. But I really would have liked to get it done on the track. That’s not necessarily the way we wanted to do it. It was bittersweet, but we still got the win.”
Essa credited the AD08 R tires for helping win the title and two races during the year. “All season long the tires were great. I never had to worry about their grip, which helped give me confidence to push the car on the track to victory.”
“Congratulations to Michael and his GSR Autosport crew,” said Matt Johnson, Yokohama performance marketing supervisor. “I think I was more worried than they were about winning the championship. It was tough to see the car, which has been so reliable all season, go down with engine problems, but he and the team remained calm and upbeat, the mark of a true champion.
“We at Yokohama are proud our Neova AD08 R tires, which feature a specialized compound to enhance grip. By helping Michael win the championship, it really shows the performance capability that can benefit all enthusiasts around the world. The championship was hard-fought and well deserved.”