Fredric Aasbo crowned Formula Drift champion for a second time
IRWINDALE, California (October 24, 2021) – Fredric Aasbo won the 2021 Formula Drift championship on Saturday, taking second place at the Irwindale Speedway season finale in the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra to clinch the title.
“We did it. We freaking did it,” said an emotional Aasbo on Saturday. “The competition has stepped up tremendously since 2015 when I won my first title and this one was much harder fought. It took so much from everyone to keep up the charge all season and I have nothing but gratitude to my team, our partners and our families who make it possible for us to chase our dreams.”
The result also locked in the Manufacturer’s title for Papadakis Racing partner Toyota, while partner Nitto Tire won the Tire Cup crown.
Aasbo joins a short list of multi-time Formula Drift champions, including Tanner Foust, who scored back-to-back championships with Papadakis Racing in 2007 and 2008. Papadakis Racing is the most winning team in Formula Drift history.
“Championships are won on the track, but they’re built in the shop,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “A lot of things need to come together to bring home a title, not only with the driving but technically as well. I’m proud and humbled by the commitment of everyone in this effort including car chief Shawn Hillier, and the teams at Rockstar Energy Drink, Toyota and Nitto Tire, who all worked so hard behind the scenes to make this happen.”
It was an all-or-nothing weekend for Aasbo, who entered the season-ender needing to score second-place or better to guarantee the championship title. He started strong, qualifying in the No. 1 position bypass the opening Round of 32. In the Round of 16, he faced Jonathan Hurst and advanced to meet his teammate Ryan Tuerck in the Great 8.
Even with high championship stakes, the Papadakis Racing Toyota team encourages its drivers to earn their wins on the track and does not issue team orders. Fans were treated to a showcase battle as two of the best drivers in the sport were unleashed on track. It was close, and Aasbo had the edge to advance past his teammate into the Final 4.
There, he met longtime rival Vaughn Gittin Jr., a formidable opponent who had denied Aasbo a title in a similar Irwindale face-off in 2018. It was another close fight but this time Aasbo prevailed to lock in the championship. He went on to face Odi Bakchis for the final battle and secured second place in the event.
The story of the championship was one of consistency for Aasbo, who scored six podium results in eight rounds this season in the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra. The final tally included one win, four second-place and one third-place result. He entered the last round needing to fight off three other close contenders for the championship and won the title by 31 points over closest challenger Matt Field.
For his part, Tuerck started the weekend sixth in the standings in the Gumout / Nitto Tire / Mobil 1 Toyota Corolla Hatchback and came back from a practice crash in the minutes before qualifying to earn the 22nd spot on the ladder. He met Taylor Hull in the first round, then advanced past Dylan Hughes in the Round of 16 before teammate Aasbo halted his run in the Great 8. The result was all that was needed to keep Toyota on top of the Manufacturer’s Championship standings and with a record of two second place finishes this season, he finished the season sixth in the points.
Aasbo joined Papadakis Racing in 2011 and earned the series crown in 2015. He started his Formula Drift career in 2010 as a privateer in a Mark IV Supra. He has a record 16 career victories in the series -- all with Papadakis Racing.
Tuerck is a leading social influencer and top-tier driver. His down-home charm, commitment to the sport's grassroots, and talent in front of the camera have brought him a social fanbase of over a million followers.
The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and is the most winning team in Formula Drift history. Two-time champion Aasbo has 16 career wins to date. The team also won back-to-back championships with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008.
Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control. In the Formula Drift series, drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan the sport has rapidly grown to one of the most popular youth-oriented motorsports in the world. Here in the United States, Formula Drift events routinely host capacity crowds, while live-streamed multi-platform broadcasts attract millions of online viewers.