Up to now, we’ve heard only minimal murmurs about the upcoming 2017 Formula DRIFT season – news bits like reigning champ Chris Forsberg running a V6 in his Z for the first time (after years of V8 power), a Supra returning to the series thanks to Dan Burkett and RAD Industries, and the Worthouse Drift Team S15s on their way here from the other side of the Atlantic. But this, this here is huge – primarily because it could mean pro driver Chelsea DeNofa is finally getting the big break he so desperately needs.
DeNofa and 2010 series champion Vaughn Gittin, Jr., announced this morning they will be teaming up for the 2017 season in a two-car effort under the RTR Motorsports banner. Each will be driving a 1,000 hp Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D shod in Nitto Tire rubber (aka the “Bro-Stangs”), with JR’s rocking an updated Monster Energy livery while DeNofa’s will be an adaptation of the BC Racing wrap he had on his BMW E46 3-Series last year.
Gittin has run a world-class program for years, but DeNofa has had to struggle on his own as a privateer since he entered Formula D seven seasons ago. He runs his team on a shoestring budget and has always shown talent, drive, and good sportsmanship (and sometimes overzealousness), but has had a professional career plagued by car issues. He referred to as much on the Round 1 podium last year in Long Beach, Calif., following his first-ever FD victory, mentioning the triumph was all the more remarkable considering he did not have to use his five-minute competition timeout (suggesting the car was pretty sound throughout the event).
Count us among the excited for DeNofa as he enters this next chapter in his pro drifting story. A full test video has been promised to drop next week, but in the meantime we send our best to both DeNofa and JR as the 2017 championship chase looms – go get ‘em, boys!