From the way Rhys Millen had been sliding all season, we should have seen it coming. An impressive second place finish at the Formula Drift finale meant that Millen shut the final door on a hard fought season to become the winner of the 2005 Need For Speed Formula Drift Championship.
Previously home to numerous drifting events, Irwindale Speedway, which resides in the industrious heart of Southern California, has become familiar ground for many sideways sliders and fans. Those naysayers who have proclaimed drifting dead or dying were caught eating their words at the Formula Drift season clincher. Thousands of spectators, many of them camped out for hours, came out to the track to enjoy a full day of sights, smells and sounds.
Although a familiar venue, the track layout within Irwindale Speedway is always laid out differently; an excellent move to keep drivers on their toes. A devil's track laid out on burning hot asphalt and covered with unforgiving retaining walls, the speedway held destruction for many entrants. Enjuku Racing's Rob Fleming crashed hard in his Kumho Tires-sponsored S13 on Friday. The next day, Taka Aono vaulted his Falken Tires/Club 4AG AE86 into the air and on to its roof. RS*R's Alex Pfeiffer also went hard into the retaining wall with his S2000 drifter, ending his weekend early.
The points leader going into the final round, Millen faced fierce competition for the crown from Samuel Hubinette, Ken Gushi, Daijiro Yoshihara, and Vaughn Gittin, Jr., all of whom had a mathematical chance of becoming series champion. Yoshihara and the shimmering Pacific Rim S13 found themselves sitting on the sidelines after an early round elimination by Mike Peters and the Bubba Drift Hell Camino. Gushi in the Toyo Tires Mustang also found his championship hopes cut down after a Top 16 loss with Hubinette's Mopar beast. Hubinette, the previous Formula D series champion, lost it all in the Great 8 round facing Gittin, leaving only Millen and Gittin gunning for the season. It all came crashing down for Gittin in the Final Four round, as elimination from teammate Chris Forsberg's Falken Tires S15 meant the year belonged to Millen. Seeking to take the win and the championship, Millen drifted his heart out against Forsberg, but the Falken drifter's mind was all business. Forsberg's win put another import car on the top pedestal, and Millen's second place put his name down in Formula Drift history. With the season wrapped up, the drifting finally done, and everybody's mind turning towards 2006, what lays in store for Formula D next? www.formulad.com
EVO Crazy At HKS
HKS USA Inc., one of the leading producers of go-fast parts for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, hosted a meeting of the Southern California Mitsubishi Evolution Club on August 21st at their Los Angeles, California based headquarters. HKS opened their doors and inventory to over 150 Evolution's and 500+ event attendees during the show. Each attendee was invited to purchase tickets to enter the raffle and attempt to win a HKS GT2835 turbo kit, Hi-Power exhaust, Racing Suction intake kit, EVC boost controller, turbo timer, RC car, Driving Concepts driving school tickets, or a Mitsubishi Montague mountain bike.
The losers that didn't win any goodies, but were still able to shoot the shit with other Evo owners and get an in-person glimpse of how many different paths there are to take in modifying an Evo. One of the most popular paths for event goers was the wide-bodied APR Performance Evo VIII, a time attack beast sporting everything you could ever want for a Mitsubishi. For those that wanted to see into the future, HKS had a 2006 Evolution IX MR on display, which got up on HKS' 4WD dyno and made demo pulls for all the crowd to enjoy. More info can be found at: www.hksusa.com
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Now In Wagon Flavor
Released to the Japanese market only, Mitsubishi pulled the covers off of the latest version of the Lancer Evolution, the wagon variant. Based on the JDM Evo IX recipe, the wagon looks like an amalgamation of the standard Lancer wagon combined with a knock-off, Evo-style front end and blistered fender flares. The wagon starts life as a regular Evo IX, but Mitsubishi grafts on the Lancer wagon's side panels and roof to create a whole new beast. Available in 6-speed manual or a weaker 5-speed automatic, the wagon makes use of the same roaring 2.0L MIVEC-equipped, turbocharged and intercooled engine that beats under the hood of every Evo IX.
The powertrain still uses the Active Center Differential (ACD), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Sport ABS from the sedan Evo IX, as well as the same suspension design and Bilstein monotube dampers. With Brembo brakes, Enkei wheels, and gumball Advan A046 tires standard, the release of the Evo wagon means that one of the fastest road-going vehicles today just received a whole lot more storage space. The interior of the wagon differs ever so slightly from the regular strength, with chrome dash accents and a bolstered Alcantara and leather 60/40-split folding rear seat swallowing passengers. Don't worry though; the amazing Evo Recaro seats are still being pimped in this wagon.
For all the Evo owners who cursed out WRX owners for having the ability to make the ultimate choice, to trunk or not to trunk, a new option has emerged. Convenience and speed, no longer do you have to choose one over the other. The car is Japanese market only, but seeing as how it's built on the Evo IX frame, it should be a simple task to purchase JDM body panels and build yourself an Evo wagon. We're just wondering how long it'll be before Frankenstein'd Evo wagons begin appearing at the shows and on the streets.
Titan Motorsports' Scion Tc Comes Out Swinging
Scion Racing's newest addition, the Titan Motorsports Mail Order Scion tC, proved to be one of the most promising. Racing in the Pro RWD/Pro Compact category of the NHRA Sport Compact and NOPI Drag Racing Association (NDRA), the Titan tC debuted and won at the NHRA 51st U.S. Nationals, held at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Fully built and equipped with a Supra-derived 2JZ-GTE turbocharged inline-six engine, the Titan tC ran a best time of 6.604 at 215.24mph in the quarter mile.
The Indy win gave driver Brad Personett the points lead in Pro RWD, a lead he capitalized on with a win at the NHRA Sport Compact Las Vegas Nationals. The winning 6.558 at 216.31mph run extended Personett's clamp on the championship and with two more events left on the calendar as of this printing, the tc is not looking to leave anything on the table. www.titanmotorsports.com