Champion driver Fredric Aasbo will pilot the modified Toyota Corolla Hatchback in the 2018 Formula Drift series. Its competition debut is set to take place April 6 and 7 at the series opener on the Streets of Long Beach.
"This car is so much fun to drive," said Aasbo. "Everybody who loves drifting knows about the Corolla's iconic heritage in the sport and I'm excited to continue that legacy with the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback."
Team owner Stephan Papadakis has built a reputation for challenging the status quo with his innovative competition builds. Based on the brand new Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the rear-wheel drive converted Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback produces 1,000 nitrous-boosted horsepower from its four-cylinder turbocharged Toyota 2AR engine.
"Toyota has a long history of partnership with Stephan Papadakis, Fredric Aasbo and the Papadakis Racing team, so we're thrilled that they're bringing the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback to track for the 2018 season," said Laura Pierce, motorsports general manager for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). "Stephan and his team build incredible vehicles and they've done it again with this 1,000 horsepower Corolla Hatchback. We're eager to see Fredric get sideways in the new Corolla and excited for the Formula Drift season to kick off for our entire Toyota Racing team."
The Papadakis Racing team worked closely with TRD and Jon Sibal to develop competition carbon/kevlar body panels for the vehicle and its sticky Nexen N'fera SUR4G tires are mounted on striking gold Motegi MR406 wheels. The car features a dog-engagement manual transmission, a Borg Warner EFR turbo, AEM Infinity-8 fuel injection and RS-R suspension.
"One of the things that's so great about drifting is that its rules give us a lot of freedom and creativity in the builds," said Papadakis. "There's no other series where you see such variety on the track. The cars are modified for the sport, but every one of them starts on the production line just like the car you drive to work every day."
The team's first rear-wheel drive drifting conversion turned heads in 2009 when driver Tanner Foust campaigned a TRD V8 powered Scion tC in the series. Aasbo joined the team in 2011 to campaign the next-generation Scion tC -- this one powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged engine. In 2017, the team developed its first Toyota Corolla and now launches its most powerful new build to date.
"We are excited to see Fredric hit the track with the all new 2019 Corolla Hatchback this year," said Jordan Pauly, Vehicle Marketing and Communication lead for the Corolla Hatchback. "With its new design and enhanced driving dynamics, this all-new Corolla will really turn some heads."
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, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world.
ABOUT FREDRIC AASBO: Known for his flat-out style, champion driver Fredric Aasbo has achieved 100-plus podium finishes on three continents over the past decade of competition. With 10 outright victories in Formula Drift, he is the most winning driver in series history.
Aasbo returns to the Formula Drift series in 2018 for a full season in a brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback, while also running a select season of events in Europe in the Rockstar Energy Drink / Icom Toyota 86-X, and drifting championship events in Asia.
Aasbo made his U.S. debut at a global drifting invitational in 2008 and scored the 2010 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year title. Since then, he has charged through the drifting ranks around the world and is both a fan favorite and championship winner.
Originally from Ski, Norway, Aasbo now splits his time between his native country and Southern California.
ABOUT PAPADAKIS RACING: The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and is the most winning team in Formula Drift history, earning the 2015 title with driver Fredric Aasbo, as well as back-to-back championships with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008. The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback is the latest competition build from the Hawthorne, California, based team.
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 just the fifth car to join the NHRA's Sport Compact 200 MPH club.
Nexen Tire Motorsports Team: Two-Year Renewal
Norway-born Aasbo captured both the Formula DRIFT Series and World championships in 2015, smashing the series record for most wins scored by a driver in a single season along the way. In 2016, he was named a runner-up, and was crowned second overall driver in 2017.
“I’m honored to be joining Nexen for another two seasons of Formula DRIFT,” said Aasbo. “Not only do the N’Fera SUR4G tires maximize on-track performance for myself and the vehicle, but the support of the entire Nexen Tire Motorsports team along the way has been invaluable.”
Representing the Nexen team at US, European and Japanese Formula DRIFT events –Aasbo will also appear on the brand’s behalf at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show and various dealer events.
“We are thrilled to have Fredric as part of the Nexen family for the next two seasons,” said Paul Jho, senior motorsports manager at Nexen Tire USA. “The incredible combination of the newly redesigned Papadakis Racing / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla hatchback, the Nexen N'Fera SUR4G extreme performance tire and Fredric’s world-class talent has the team going into the 2018 with big momentum.”
About Nexen Tire:
Inspired by Nexen’s global family of drivers to engineer superior performing tires – from championship-winning Formula DRIFT drivers, rock-climbing off-road enthusiasts to everyday commuters – Nexen Tire utilizes proprietary technology and the highest quality standards in the industry to guarantee world-class products backed by unrivaled customer support for the life of each tire. As a worldwide leader in high-performance, passenger, SUV / light truck and winter offerings, the company is second-to-none in research, development and state-of-the-art manufacturing. And as part of a select group of tire manufacturers worldwide that are specified as standard fitment on original equipment vehicles, Nexen delivers premium products at a sensible price. Find out more about how Nexen has your back at nexentireusa.com – and join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #WeGotYou #NexenTire #NexenRacing
2018 FORMULA DRIFT COMPETITION SCHEDULE:
Round 1: Streets of Long Beach April 6 - 7 / Long Beach, CA
Round 2: Invasion April 27 - 28 / Orlando, FL
Round 3: Road to the Championship May 11 - 12 / Atlanta, GA
Round 4: The Gauntlet June 1 - 2 / Wall, NJ
Round 5: Throwdown July 20 - 21 / Monroe, WA
Round 6: St. Louis August 10 - 11 / St. Louis, MO
Round 7: Showdown September 14 - 15 / Dallas, TX
Round 8: Title Fight October 12 - 13 - Irwindale, CA
PAPADAKIS RACING IS PARTNERED WITH Rockstar Energy Drink (www.rockstarenergy.com); Nexen Tire (www.nexentireusa.com); Toyota (www.toyota.com); TRD (www.trdusa.com), Motegi Racing (www.motegiracing.com); AEM Electronics (www.aemelectronics.com); SPC Performance (www.spcperformance.com); Gatebil Event (www.gatebil.no); RS-R (www.rs-r.com); Lucas Oil (www.lucasoil.com); BorgWarner (www.borgwarner.com); CTEK (www.ctek.com); Berk Technology (www.berktechnology.com)