IRWINDALE, California (October 12, 2015) — Fredric Aasbo and Papadakis Racing scored the triple crown of drifting this weekend at the Formula Drift season finale, winning the 2015 Formula Drift Championship, the Formula Drift World Championship and capping off their big year with a victory in the final contest of the season in the Rockstar Energy Drink/Hankook Tire Scion tC on KMC Wheels.
“It doesn’t even feel real,” said Aasbo. “We’ve been working really hard for this and we made it a grand slam. It is mind-blowing and the feeling is really hard to describe: Imagine working half your life for something and then making it happen… It feels like that. Incredible!”
Aasbo went into the season finale this weekend with an 80-point lead in the Formula Drift standings and needed to win the first battle of the contest to clinch the title over his closest challenger, fellow Scion Racing and Hankook Tire driver Ken Gushi. That put an unusual amount of scrutiny on the first match of the event.
“Even though everybody kept telling me, ‘You’ve got this,’ I know there’s no such thing as an easy battle in Formula Drift and those minutes between the last practice session and the Round of 32 were the most intense of my life. I’ve never felt pressure like that,” said Aasbo, who sealed the title when opening-round rival Kristaps Bluss made a critical error and spun.
Next, Aasbo faced a tough Top 16 face-off with Daigo Saito that saw him put an end to his rival’s three-year win streak at Irwindale Speedway. He then fought past “Mad” Mike Whiddet in the Great 8 and Forrest Wang in the Final 4.
In the end, the event came down to a close battle between Aasbo and Scion teammate Gushi. Fans were on their feet as Aasbo threw down one of the best chase runs of the year to take the win under the lights at Irwindale. It was a storybook ending to the season for the Papadakis Racing team.
“You have to save the best for last and we certainly did,” said Aasbo. “Putting down that run in the finals and taking the win like that was amazing.”
It is the first Formula Drift Championship for Aasbo, and the third for the team. Papadakis Racing won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008 with driver Tanner Foust.
Aasbo’s win at Irwindale Speedway made it four victories in seven rounds of U.S. Formula Drift competition — a series record. No other driver has won as many events in a single season.
Team owner Stephan Papadakis said the victory this season is the culmination of a team effort that started in 2011 when the organization brought then-rookie Aasbo aboard and began developing the turbocharged four-cylinder Scion tC drift car.
“I love to build things that other people haven’t built before and to trail-blaze. It has been a progression to get here to the top with Fredric and the Rockstar Energy Drink / Hankook Tire Scion tC and to have all of our hard work pay off in this championship is a real validation of what we’ve been trying to do,” said Papadakis. “I’m thankful to our sponsors for believing in us and designing such amazing products that help us with our reliability and competitiveness.”
In addition to winning the driver’s title this season in Formula Drift, partner Scion Racing secured the series’ Manufacturer Cup and Hankook Tire won the Tire Cup.