Papadakis Racing Toyotas deliver in front of sold-old out Formula Drift Orlando crowd

Papadakis Racing Toyotas deliver in front of sold-old out Formula Drift Orlando crowd

ORLANDO, Florida (May 28, 2023) – Fredric Aasbo secured an impressive second-place finish in the Rockstar Energy Toyota GR Supra while top qualifier Ryan Tuerck won a battle of titans to halt a rival’s run on the championship at Formula Drift this weekend.

Ryan Tuerck showcased an impressive balance of aggression and control at the Orlando track to secure the No. 1 qualifying spot for a second time this season. He advanced through the Round of 32 to face rival Matt Field in the Top 16 for a pivotal championship battle.

Coming into Round 3 with a 40-point lead, Field had been threatening to run away with the championship this season, but he would have to get past Tuerck and the Rain-X / Nitto Tire Toyota GR Corolla to do it.

It was the match-up of the night. Judges called for two one-more-time reruns to determine a winner as both Tuerck and Field pushed the limits on the Figure 8 Orlando Speed World course. After six head-to-head matches, it was Tuerck who finally won the battle and advanced.

"Eliminating Matt Field was a victory all in itself,” said Tuerck. “I felt like we ran a marathon just to get through the Top 16.”

His race up the ladder halted in the Great 8 and he recorded a solid fifth-place result to move into the championship Top 10. He remains a strong contender for the title.

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 sport’s bracket-elimination format means that drivers have no room to hold back with the threat of elimination around every turn.

“There are no easy rounds,” said team owner Stephan Papadakis. “From qualifying through to the Finals, we’re seeing impressive, 1,000 hp cars and world-class driving across the board. This is the show fans are here for and the kind of challenge that motivates teams like ours to do incredible things out there.”

In qualifying, three-time champion Aasbo scored a season best fifth by letting loose and driving for the so- called “X Factor.” New for 2023, X Factor scoring represents 10 per cent of the available qualifying points and is loosely defined as the “wow” factor, designed to maximize crowd-pleasing, edge-of-control driving.

But the defining moment of the weekend for Aasbo came in the first round of tandem competition. “There’s always an element of luck in motorsports and this time we definitely had all of it,” said Aasbo.

Facing Ken Gushi in the Top 32, an unusual mechanical failure caused him to straighten during his chase run. It was an incident that would usually result in an automatic elimination, but Gushi also pulled up short and judges awarded the round to Aasbo based on his excellence in the first half of the battle.

From there, the driver ran the ladder to an all-Nitto final against Chelsea DeNofa where he earned his second podium of the season. The second-place result, coupled with Field’s early elimination by Tuerck and the subsequent points shakeup, was enough to vault Aasbo into the championship lead.

“We’re going to have to work very hard to keep this momentum going into New Jersey,” said Aasbo, who is still looking for his first event win of 2023. “And we’re ready for that challenge.”

Formula DRIFT used a Figure-8 layout on the banked oval at Orlando Speed World. The track was revised slightly for 2023, with Outside Zone 1 lengthened and Outside Zone 2 shortened to improve the flow of the course. The event sold out early, recording capacity crowds for the Round 3 showdown Saturday night.

Now, the team has a month to regroup before returning to competition in Englishtown, New Jersey, at the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Competition starts Thursday, June 22 with Pro class qualifying, and the Top 32 begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday June 24. The New Jersey round features the ProSpec development class, which will compete on Friday, June 23.

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 and has shown strong results in the Toyota GR Corolla, 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 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 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.