Team Falken launches expanded drifting program
The inaugural event in the 2009 Formula
Drift season began on the famed street course of Long Beach where Team
Falken faced a very competitive field of works drivers and privateers
and successfully qualified eight cars in the top 32 tandem competition,
a new component to Formula D this season.
This is the 4th year Formula Drift has competed on the tough track that
was previously the domain of open wheel racing. However, the increasing
popularity of drifting, especially in Southern California, has prompted
its addition to the track for a dedicated weekend. It also was the
perfect location for Team Falken to debut its new team which consists of
veteran member Vaughn Gittin, Jr., driving his brand new 2010 Ford
Mustang; Daijiro Yoshihara in his Discount Tire Lexus IS350; Tyler
McQuarrie with his Nissan 350Z Convertible; Calvin Wan, competing in a
Nissan S15 Silvia; and Darren McNamara, returning in his Sears Auto
Center Saturn Sky.
"Considering four out of our five team vehicles are completely new
builds to our team, we had a very successful first showing," declared
Nick Fousekis, Senior Consumer Marketing Manager, Falken Tire. "This
accomplishment truly is a testament to our drivers' skill, our vehicle
builders' capabilities, the Azenis RT615s' performance and Falken's
dedication to the sport of drifting."
After the final session, overall standings had Gittin, Jr., tied for
6th; McNamara stood in 10th; Yoshihara finished at 18th; and McQuarrie
tied with his Falken teammate Wan in 19th. All Team Falken drivers used
the lightweight and high-gripping Azenis RT615 line.
"This was a great start for our expanded program as we launched our new
consumer activation area and our VIP hospitality tent," stated Andrew
Hoit, Director of Marketing, Falken Tire. "We rolled out our new
display, which was the largest in the pit area, underscoring our
commitment to Formula Drift. And while we would have liked to have
taken the top rungs of the Long Beach competition, we are confident we
will in the very near future."
To kick off Falken's comprehensive marketing program tied to its
expanded motorsports efforts, "Dai" Yoshihara helped give away a special
Falken-Discount Tire?America's Tire guitar to James Warner, a member of
the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in San Diego. Additional promotional
items were handed out by Falken's new group of Spokesmodels who
attracted a large crowd throughout the two-day event. Guests of Falken
were treated to the company's new hospitality section.
The full complement of activation area, hospitality rig and factory
support will travel to all seven rounds this year. Team Falken will
next compete in Formula D on the proving ground at Road Atlanta, May
8-9. Prior to Round 2, rigorous vehicle testing will take place for all
Team Falken drivers.