Born in New York and raised in Huntington Beach, California, Papadakis Racing principal Stephan Papadakis first quenched his thirst for speed on the streets and local tracks of California in a modified unibody Civic hatchback. As sport compact performance grew from an underground subculture into a mainstream attraction, Papadakis grew with it. He legitimized his race team (and sport compact drag racing) by developing the first front-wheel-drive, tube-chassis drag car in the U.S. The AEM Drag Civic Hatchback set the standard for sport compact drag racing by establishing Pro and Outlaw classes, and turning in elapsed times and trap speeds previously unheard of — and thought unattainable in front-drive drag cars.
Papadakis’ next racecar, the 2001 AEM Drag Civic Coupe, shattered all previous records and became the benchmark for front-wheel drive sport-compact performance. By the time Papadakis was ready to move into PRO RWD competition, he had set records that took his competitors two seasons to break.
In 2003, Papadakis made history again by piloting the rear-wheel drive AEM/DriverFX.com Civic to World’s Fastest Sport Compact and World’s Quickest Honda titles with a 207.8 MPH trap speed and a best E.T. of 6.71 seconds. This racecar also became only the fifth car to join the NHRA’s Sport Compact 200 MPH club.
After a crash during testing that caused him to miss the first three races of 2004, Papadakis earned seven #1 qualifiers in the last eight Sport Compact events, and won three of the last eight events he competed. He made 11 final round appearances and won six events overall, while setting three National E.T. records and one National MPH record in NHRA (6.54 @ 211.73). Papadakis and the Civic also set the NDRA (NOPI Drag Race Association) Series E.T. and MPH records in 2004.
In 2005, after achieving legendary status in sport compact drag racing, Papadakis added a Honda S2000 Drift car to the team’s stable. On the drag side, Papadakis notched two wins, two runner-up finishes, two #1 qualifiers and set a track E.T. record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (6.55 seconds), while retaining the title of World’s Quickest Honda. In only his first year of professional drifting, Papadakis qualified in four of the seven events he entered, with a best finish in the Great 8 at Formula D Drift Chicago. He won “Co-Rookie of the Year” honors with Formula D Drift in 2005, achieved a 22nd overall ranking in the Formula D series and earned a coveted D1GP license, making him eligible to qualify for D1GP events in 2006.
Papadakis then shifted focus to the management of his motorsport business and, under his stewardship, the team has shown impressive results — earning three Formula DRIFT championship titles (2015, 2008, 2007). Fredric Aasbo signed to Papadakis Racing in 2011 after claiming the previous season’s “Rookie of the Year” title and in 2015 won the Formula Drift Pro Championship and the Formula Drift World Championship.
Papadakis currently owns and runs the daily operations at Papadakis Racing, Inc.
2012 Formula Drift Team Manager of the Year
2010 Formula Drift Championship Runner-up with driver Tanner Foust
2008 Formula Drift Championship with driver Tanner Foust
2007 Formula Drift Championship with driver Tanner Foust
2005 Formula D Rookie of the Year
World’s Quickest Honda (RWD)
First Honda into the 6s (RWD)
First Honda into the 7s (RWD)
First Drag Honda to break 200 MPH (RWD)
Member of NHRA Sport Compact 200 MPH Club
World’s Fastest Sport Compact (RWD)
First Honda in the 9s (FWD)
First Front-Wheel-Drive in the 8s
First FWD to break 150 MPH
First FWD to break 160 MPH
First FWD to break 170 MPH
First FWD to break 180 MPH
World’s Quickest FWD
World’s Fastest FWD
1999 SEMA Import Racer of the Year
2000 Turbo Magazine Outlaw Class Racer of the Year
2001 NIRA Pro FWD Champion
2001 IDRC Outlaw Class Champion
2000 NIRA Pro Comp Champion
2000 IDRC Outlaw Class runner-up