Papadakis Racing Toyotas battle in Seattle
SEATTLE, Washington (August 14, 2023) – It was a weekend of upsets in Seattle that saw multiple one- more-time rounds and the Papadakis Racing Toyotas face off in early competition.
Fredric Aasbo emerged from the weekend second in the championship points in his Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra and teammate Ryan Tuerck put his Rain-X / Nitto Tire Toyota GR Corolla on rails to make his way into the Final Four.
But some unfortunate luck meant Aasbo faced Tuerck in the Round of 16 -- which, in the knockout elimination format, meant only one team driver would have a chance to advance to the trophy round.
“The cars are competitive and the drivers are two of the best in the field,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “It’s always mixed emotions when they face each other so early in the day but a Papadakis Racing Toyota wins either way.”
The two drivers typically find themselves head to head a couple of times a season, which makes for an unusual dynamic in the pits.“We’re both pretty polite guys and we tip-toe around each other here under the tent before we face-off,” said Aasbo. “We don’t share what we’re going to do but we know when we go against each other it’s all out.”
And all-out is what the fans pack grandstands to see. Both drivers put in strong runs but Tuerck had a clear edge and advanced unanimously. And although that left Aasbo sidelined for the rest of the day, his championship fight remains very much alive. He is second in the points with two more rounds to go. The three-time champion is looking to be the first driver in series history to earn four titles.
In the Round of 8, Tuerck outclassed Kazuya Taguchi and advanced to face Chelsea DeNofa in the Final Four. As the sun began to set and the shadows deepened, both drivers struggled with inconsistent grip and poor visibility. Judges called for a one-more-time battle after both drivers made mistakes and collided in the first match. The re-run was again too close to call. The third take finally saw a decision for DeNofa and ended Tuerck's run. He finished fourth.
Next for the team is Round 7: Elevated at Utah Motorsports Park, September 14-16.
The 20th anniversary season of Formula Drift is shaping up to be the most competitive in series history, with
a trio of three-time champions in the mix and any driver capable of scoring an outright win at every stop.
The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and is the most winning team in Formula Drift history, earning the 2022, 2021 and 2015 titles with driver Fredric Aasbo, as well as back-to-back championships with driver Tanner Foust in 2008 and 2007. Partner Toyota has won the manufacturer’s cup eight times since 2014. Tuerck joined the Papadakis Racing team in 2020 in a Toyota Corolla Hatchback and has shown strong results, bringing home the third-place championship trophy twice in the past three seasons.
Fans can follow the action for Tuerck, Aasbo, and the whole Papadakis Racing Toyota team by tuning in to the Rockstar Energy YouTube series “Controlled Chaos,” which takes fans behind the scenes all season. Binge watch the 2022 season now on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/rockstarenergy and subscribe to be notified as this year's content drops.
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 officially launched in 2004 and its national schedule of eight events routinely host capacity crowds, while live-streamed multi-platform broadcasts attract millions of online viewers.