Papadakis Racing and Fredric Aasbo aiming for Formula Drift title at Irwindale

IRWINDALE, California (October 8, 2015) — Fredric Aasbo and Papadakis Racing are heading into a big Formula Drift season finale at Irwindale Speedway this weekend with a championship lead in their Rockstar Energy Drink/Hankook Tire Scion tC.

Although Aasbo is the favorite as Formula Drift prepares to crown its 2015 champion on Saturday, he says he’s going to take this weekend’s competition one face-off at a time.

“What I love about drifting is how intense it is in the moment of every battle and I’m really excited to get back into the car and compete,” said Aasbo. “What I can do this weekend is what I always do: aim to win. At some point, you have to focus on the match right in front of you and let the championship take care of itself.”

Aasbo has an 80-point lead in the Formula Drift standings heading into the season finale this Friday and Saturday at Irwindale Speedway. A result in the Top 16 or better will guarantee him the title over closest challenger and fellow Scion Racing and Hankook Tire driver Ken Gushi. Aasbo is also leading the Formula Drift World Championship and, with the finale scoring double points in that championship, a Top 16 finish will lock up a double title for the driver.

“This is definitely the position you want to be in heading into the last event of the season, and we’ll be pushing hard at Irwindale to close out the year with a win,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “But no matter what happens, we’re thrilled that both our manufacturer, Scion, and tire partner, Hankook Tire, have already locked up their respective championships.”

Aasbo and the Papadakis Racing team hope to build on the momentum gained at last month’s perfect weekend at Formula Drift Canada, where the Rockstar Energy Drink/Hankook Tire Scion tC qualified in the top spot and ran the ladder all the way to the top step of the podium.

Aasbo has won three of six events so far in the 2015 Formula Drift Championship: the opener on the Streets of Long Beach in April, as well as back-to-back wins at Wall Speedway in New Jersey in June and Evergreen Speedway near Seattle in July. Aasbo is also aiming for the record books this weekend: no driver has ever won more than three events in a single Formula Drift season.

Papadakis said the team will stay the course and return to competition with what has proven to be a winning formula. “This isn’t the time to start trying new things,” he said. “We know what works and our plan is to go into this event with a known, good combination.”

Papadakis Racing has competed at every Irwindale Speedway event since the first series event there in 2004. The organization already has two Formula Drift titles to its credit, having won the championship with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008.

Aasbo is campaigning his fifth season in the series with Papadakis Racing and is looking for his first Formula Drift title in the U.S. He finished 2014 in the runner-up position and earned “Fan Favorite of the Year” for the third season in a row. Also in 2014, he won the Formula Drift Asia championship with the RS-R / Toyota FT-86.

The final round of the season at Irwindale Speedway is a highlight event for the series. Fans typically pack the Southern California venue, known as the “House of Drift” for its historic involvement in the foundation of the sport of drifting in the United States. With the championship on the line, the competition is always intense. The Formula Drift season finale’s Livestream will be online Friday starting at 12:30 p.m. and again Saturday starting at 3 p.m.

Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control skill. Drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world.

Fredric Aasbo returned to Papadakis Racing in 2015 for his fifth season with the team. The Norwegian driver finished the 2014 Formula Drift champion in the runner-up position and “Fan Favorite of the Year” for the third year in a row. Earlier this year, he released the first video in his Dreamride YouTube project, #DreamrideLA.

The two-time Nordic Drifting champion (2007, 2008) made his U.S. debut at a global drifting invitational in 2008 and turned heads when he won the 2010 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year title. He has rapidly progressed through the drifting ranks around the world and has established himself as both a fan favorite and proven championship contender.

Aasbo is originally from Ski, Norway, and now splits his time between his native country and Southern California. He campaigns a full international season, in 2015 running the full Formula Drift schedule as well as select events worldwide in Europe and in Asia.

Team owner Stephan Papadakis is a legend of sport-compact racing who began building his reputation in the 1990s with the first front-wheel-drive, tube-chassis drag car in the U.S.

The team earned multiple records and championships in the discipline, turning in elapsed times and trap speeds previously thought unattainable in front-drive drag cars. Papadakis’ successes in front-wheel drive were matched by his efforts in rear-wheel drive when he campaigned a Civic that became only the fifth car to join the NHRA’s Sport Compact 200 MPH club.

The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and has shown impressive results in Formula Drift competition, earning two championship titles with driver Tanner Foust (2007, 2008). The team finished in the runner-up position in the 2014 championship with driver Fredric Aasbo. The Rockstar Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Scion tC is the team’s latest competition build. See video of its engine assembly here:¬†

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