Call it a sampling of what we'll probably see at the upcoming SEMA trade show in just a few short weeks—we're talking about the handful of 2020 Supra on display throughout Irwindale Speedway's vendor midway during the 2019 Formula DRIFT season finale. Toyota, ENEOS, HKS, and Nitto Tire all had Mark 5s in their booths, none all that modded considering the aftermarket for the car is still ramping up. By the time SEMA gets here it could be a different story, but apart from suspension, wheels, and some exterior bits (AutoTuned had its carbon lip kit on the ENEOS A90) most of the cars were barebones.
While everyone was fawning over the new-new Supra, the previous gen coupe made an equally big impact by way of its engine, the revered 2JZ; on track about 20 percent of the field now runs the performance boosted inline-6, and off track we saw refined versions of the mill in Rad Dan Burkett's "Baby Blue" A80 Supra backup car chilling in the AEM filters booth, and also in the "Blackout" 2011 NASCAR Cup car (which was fittingly posted up next to Ryan Tuerck's GT4586). The Gumout web series hosted by pro drivers Chris Forsberg and Tuerck performed the swap just a few months ago after the race car's native V8 power plant died due to an oiling issue and now it makes north of 750 horsepower (or so we hear) with probably a lot less displacement than the old engine.
Speaking of Supras and Rad Dan—it's now official that AE86 icon and drifting guru Taka Aono will be working with the RAD Industries team to help Dan with development for the 2020 season. Taka was spotted at the event this weekend in official RAD gear and folks were overjoyed to see him at an FD event again. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum was the unfortunate news that emerged of Huddy Racing's apparent demise; the shop supported two entries in the 2019 Formula D Championship, Pat Goodin's S14 and Dylan Hughes's E46, and both drivers announced via social media they wouldn't have cars for the season finale. Huddy's accounts have disappeared from social media, and it seems both no-shows are likely directly related to what's going on with the shop. Hughes was still at the event, borrowing and rewrapping his old S13 for display only, but the inability to compete probably hurt his Rookie of the Year chances.
Of course, going to a big local event like FD Irwindale invariably allows us to cross paths with past feature cars and industry friends old and new. Event winner Ken Gushi parked his fresh IS 300 street car in the vendor midway, Aaron Parker's RX-7 sat in the Falken Tire booth near the team rigs, and over at the Nexen Tire booth actor-car builder-influencer Emilia Hartford showed off her clean S14. KW's Chris Marion brought out his JDM-nosed DC2 Integra and Civic EK hatch for the K-dub booth, but the display that made the biggest impact on our memories was the Coyote V8-swapped, RWD converted Ford Fusion. Apparently, this thing has been around for a while, but we heard it fired up on Friday and it is every bit impressive sounding as you might think.
Oh yeah, someone brought a chihuahua to Friday's driver autograph signing. We got pictures of that, too—dig into the gallery to see what else went on at the 2019 Formula DRIFT season ender.