2011 Falken Formula Drift Test

Coming off a dominating 2010 season in which Team Falken driver Vaughn Gittin, Jr.¸ competing in the Monster Energy/Falken Tire 2011 Ford Mustang, became the Formula Drift Champion, the high performance tire manufacturer will be gunning for a repeat performance of last year. Falken's ultimate goal is to have one of its five factory drivers again claiming the top rung of the Formula D ladder, and each team member will have the horsepower to do it. All drivers plan on fielding a new or improved vehicle with more power, which the sport has demanded. The cars will be unveiled this weekend on the streets of Long Beach for the opening event of the 2011 Formula Drift season. Gittin, Jr., will be aboard a Ford Mustang 5.4-liter, its motor built by Ford Racing and Huffaker Engineering, while Daijiro ("Dai") Yoshihara, who placed fourth in the standings last year, returns in his re-engineered Nissan 240SX (Silvia S13). Finishing fifth in 2010, Darren McNamara also returns this year, running a new Saturn Sky built by Autosport Dynamics in Charlotte, NC, losing the convertible for a hardtop which adds an aggressive stance to the car. Tyler McQuarrie also recognized the value of a fully enclosed coupe, choosing a new hardtop Nissan 350Z, which allows for a significant change in weight distribution, making the Z a far more competitive vehicle. Finally, Justin Pawlak, returning for his second year with Falken, will again field a Ford Mustang, with an engine built by Ford Racing/Roush-Yates of NASCAR fame. "Our team has worked hard to develop their new cars and we're pumped and ready," declared Jonathan Bradford, Team Falken's Formula Drift manager. All members of Team Falken will be using the company's Azenis RT615K, which is DOT-approved and designed with the track competitor in mind. The RT615K is a tire with maximum grip and concentrated contact patch, which increases the driver's ability to fully exploit the capabilities of the engine, brakes and suspension, precisely what each drift competitor needs. Naturally, the RT615K performs equally well on the street during everyday driving. "Each year, Formula Drift gets bigger, with more participants and more companies who want to be a part of this vital motorsports effort," stated Nick Fousekis, Director of Motorsports and Consumer Marketing for Falken. "We know what it takes to be competitive in this race series and we realize all the other teams will be aiming for us, but we have every intention of repeating our dominance, and continue running at the top. It's great to be back!" To kick off Falken's comprehensive Formula Drift marketing program, special prizes will be given away at the team's display and activation area inside the paddock. Additional promotional items will be handed out by Falken's new group of Spokesmodels who will be in attendance throughout the two-day event. Guests of Falken will also enjoy the company's highly anticipated hospitality area. The full complement of Team Falken, including its five factory drivers, along with Falken's display, hospitality rig and the company's factory support, will travel to all seven rounds of the 2010 Formula D Pro Championship.

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