From our convos with Formula DRIFT teams recently, the urgency to prepare for the upcoming 2020 season—which for now has been delayed until at least the beginning of May—has definitely cooled in light of the current global pandemic that's curbed most events, which is why we're excited to see Stephan Papadakis and his Papadakis Racing team moving forward seemingly full steam. If you've been following Steph on his YouTube channel, you know he and his crew have been busy developing the Rockstar Energy Drink 2020 Toyota GR Supra that former series champ Frederic Aasbo will be driving this year, a vehicle that is employing a highly tuned version of the B58 turbo straight-6 that comes in the platform. Now emerges word that longtime Formula D driver and super cool dude Ryan Tuerck will be joining the Papadakis squad this year, too, set to pilot the Gumout Nitto Tire Corolla hatchback.
As the pics illustrate, the Papadakis cars look sick, thanks in part to body work designed by our buddy Jon Sibal, and both will be running on Nitto tires for 2020, a first for the team. The Corolla in particular should be familiar to many; it is Aasbo's previous Formula D whip. Tuerck wheeled a detuned demo version of the hatchback at various events in 2019 (including Gridlife) and this year will have at his disposal an E85 2.7-liter turbo 2AR inline-4 under the hood tuned to the 1,000hp that's practically requisite for pro competition. At the corners are 18-inch Rotiform ZMO-M wheels, and the livery was handled by Race Service. (Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated Ryan would be competing in the demo Corolla this season; he will not. )
The GR Supra, on the other hand, is an entirely new beast, one that is at this point defying odds (or at least the Supra haters/purists). Papadakis made the bold decision to keep and develop the A90's native BMW mill and has so far seen some impressive results, getting 1,000hp out of the turbo-nitrous E85 power plant on the engine dyno and over 700hp on the chassis dyno with a conservative tune dialed back for break-in and testing. With a livery conceived by Sibal and riding on a foursome of Motegi Racing MR146 rollers, the evolution of the Mark V at Papadakis Racing has generated millions of views on his YouTube over the past few months.
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The convergence of Papadakis and these drivers and machines is an aligning of the stars. Aasbo is the most winning driver in Formula D history, with 13 career victories and a series title in 2015. He began his pro run in an A80 Supra more than a decade ago and now comes full circle this season in the A90. Tuerck has 14 career podiums and since 2013 was in a 2JZ-GTE-powered Toyota 86 before retiring platform at the end of last season. The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and is the most winning team in Formula Drift history, earning the 2015 title with Aasbo as well as back-to-back championships with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008.
As we've suggested a few times over the last months, this year in Formula D will be no cakewalk. In addition to the series now having a pair of three-time champions, including the seemingly unstoppable 2017/2018/2019 champ James Deane in his Worthouse Drift 2JZ S15 Silvia, 2012 champ Daigo Saito is set to return to FD in 2020 and play spoiler in a 2JZ 86 getting shipped over from Japan. Nothing will come easily for anyone, but Papadakis and his cohorts seem to be in a good position to do some damage this year.