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15 Years of Formula DRIFT Irwindale (w/Video)

A look back at a decade and a half of pro drifting coverage from the House of Drift

Oct 5, 2018
Photographer: Staff

The irony of commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Formula DRIFT pro championship season finale at Irwindale Speedway after writing the facility’s obituary (more than once, we might add) is not lost on us. The short oval used for some of drifting history’s biggest moments has been left for dead over and over again, and yet somehow always finds a way to sally forth. Honestly, we’re a little conflicted; we love the place, for so many reasons, but the repeated toying with our emotions every time the property is threatened with closure just gets tiring after a while.

We’re far less ambivalent about Formula DRIFT as a user of Irwindale. We’ve been fans of the professional drifting championship since day one, and are honored to call the people who work for the series among our most trusted friends and associates. We’re also very proud of how far FD has come in 15 seasons – from a modest 4-round series in the early days to what it is today: 8 Pro and 4 Pro 2 events across North America; influence around the world, enough to attract other countries’ best drivers; the establishment of international series in multiple countries; and what appears to be the laying down of groundwork for a true global cup that will connect current sanctioning bodies in a way heretofore unprecedented (whipped out the thesaurus for that!)

Since we’re Super Street, and have been covering FD (and really drifting in general at as many levels as possible) longer than pretty much anyone else, we have history in our archives – gold to probably only enthusiasts and not many else. But as the 15th Formula D Irwindale approaches, it has prompted us to reach back as far as we could go and see what we could find from each event report – including what our other brands under the Super Street Network banner (namely Modified and Import Tuner) have produced from the House of Drift.

Below are links out to online stories from all of Formula D Irwindale’s 15 years, with the exception of the inaugural year, 2004, which for some reason never got onto the site (possibly because the raw assets have been lost), and 2018, which hasn’t happened yet but will in a few days. Where possible we’ve also tried to include photos of not just the winning car from the event, but also the vehicle of the season champion, who gets crowned each year at FD’s finale. We need to point out that images from 2009 and earlier are extremely low resolution, so that’s the best you’re going to get.

For those keeping track, a Nissan has won Irwindale more than any other make of car, six times – an S15 Silvia in 2005 and 2017; an S13 240SX in 2006; a 350Z in 2007 and 2011; and an S14 240SX in 2016. The winningest model, however, is a Lexus SC 430/Toyota Soarer, which won Irwindale three times, from 2012 to 2014 – a roadster belonging to none other than 2012 drivers champion Daigo Saito, who also happens to be the hot shoe with the most House of Drift victories (3), followed by 2007-2008 champ, Tanner Foust (at 2, in 2007 and 2010). Other vehicle platforms to ace the place include the Pontiac GTO (2004) and Solstice (2009), Ford Mustang (2008), and the FWD-to-RWD converted Scion tC, which won with two different drivers, Foust in 2010, and 2015 champ Fredric Aasbo in the same year he took his title.

2004
EVENT WINNER: Rhys Millen, Pontiac GTO
SEASON CHAMP: Sam Hubinette, Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe

Modp 0508 01+2005 formula d round 6+pontiac gto Photo 2/39   |   Modp 0508 01+2005 Formula D Round 6+Pontiac Gto

2005
EVENT WINNER: Chris Forsberg, Falken Tire/Password JDM Nissan S15 Silvia
SEASON CHAMP: Rhys Millen, Yokohama Tire Pontiac GTO

Modp 0610 09+2006 formula d final+nissan 240sx s13 silvia coupe Photo 3/39   |   Modp 0610 09+2006 Formula D Final+Nissan 240Sx S13 Silvia Coupe

2006 – SS Modified
EVENT WINNER: Dai Yoshihara, Rockstar Energy Drink Nissan S13 240SX
SEASON CHAMP: Sam Hubinette, Mopar Dodge Viper SRT-10

Modp 0710 07+formula d round 7 the finals+aem 350z Photo 4/39   |   Modp 0710 07+Formula D Round 7 The Finals+Aem 350Z

2007 – SS Modified
EVENT WINNER: Tanner Foust, AEM/Memphis Car Audio Nissan 350Z
SEASON CHAMP: Tanner Foust, AEM/Memphis Car Audio Nissan 350Z

130 0902 11 z+formula d finals+ford mustang drifting Photo 5/39   |   130 0902 11 Z+Formula D Finals+Ford Mustang Drifting

2008 – SS Modified
EVENT WINNER: Vaughn Gittin, Jr., Falken Tires Ford Mustang
SEASON CHAMP: Tanner Foust, Rockstar Energy Drink Nissan 350Z

Sstp 1001 27 o+formula d+solstice Photo 6/39   |   Sstp 1001 27 O+Formula D+Solstice

2009 – SS Modified
EVENT WINNER: Ryan Tuerck, Mobil 1 Pontiac Solstice
SEASON CHAMP: Chris Forsberg, NOS Energy Drink Nissan 350Z

Modp 1101 24 o+formula drift+side view Photo 7/39   |   Modp 1101 24 O+Formula Drift+Side View

2010 – SS Modified
EVENT WINNER: Tanner Foust, Rockstar Energy Drink Scion tC
SEASON CHAMP: Vaughn Gittin, Jr., Monster Energy Drink Ford Mustang

Impp 1203 05 o+formula drift championship+falken 350z Photo 8/39   |   Impp 1203 05 O+Formula Drift Championship+Falken 350Z

2011 – SS Import Tuner
EVENT WINNER: Tyler McQuarrie, Falken Tire Nissan 350Z
SEASON CHAMP: Dai Yoshihara, Discount Tire Nissan S13 240SX

Impp 1302 01 o+2012 formula drift round 7 title fight+daigo saito sc430 Photo 9/39   |   Impp 1302 01 O+2012 Formula Drift Round 7 Title Fight+Daigo Saito Sc430

2012
EVENT WINNER: Daigo Saito, Achilles Radial Lexus SC 430
SEASON CHAMP: Daigo Saito, Achilles Radial Lexus SC 430

2013 formula drift season finale irwindale events center first eliminator top 32 06 Photo 10/39   |   2013 Formula Drift Season Finale Irwindale Events Center First Eliminator Top 32 06

2013
EVENT WINNER: Daigo Saito, Achilles Radial Lexus SC 430
SEASON CHAMP: Michael Essa, GSR Autosport BMW E46 M3

Wang vs saito 2jz battle Photo 11/39   |   Wang Vs Saito 2Jz Battle

2014
EVENT WINNER: Daigo Saito, Achilles Radial Lexus SC 430
SEASON CHAMP: Chris Forsberg, Chris Forsberg Racing Nissan 370Z

Tc pro qualifying Photo 12/39   |   Tc Pro Qualifying

2015
EVENT WINNER: Fredric Aasbo, Rockstar Energy Drink Scion tC
SEASON CHAMP: Fredric Aasbo, Rockstar Energy Drink Scion tC

Formula drift irwindale 2016 field 240sx Photo 13/39   |   Formula Drift Irwindale 2016 Field 240Sx

2016
EVENT WINNER: Matt Field, Gears of War Nissan S14 240SX
SEASON CHAMP: Chris Forsberg, NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z

Wiecek silvia Photo 14/39   |   Wiecek Silvia

2017
EVENT WINNER: Piotr Wiecek, Worthouse Nissan S15 Silvia
SEASON CHAMP: James Deane, Worthouse Nissan S15 Silvia

Impp 1302 02 o+2012 formula drift round 7 title fight+irwindale speedway Photo 15/39   |   Impp 1302 02 O+2012 Formula Drift Round 7 Title Fight+Irwindale Speedway
Bob Hernandez
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