In a weekend where arguably the biggest news out of Formula DRIFT’s 2018 opener in Long Beach, Calif., was a Ferrari going up in flames (which depending on your disposition is or isn’t necessarily news – more on that in our coverage up soon), an underdog of sorts defied odds to lay claim to Round 1’s spoils. The “Norwegian Hammer,” 2015 series champion Fredric Aasbo, drove the brand new, Papadakis Racing built, 1,000hp inline-4 2AR-motivated Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota Corolla to the winner’s circle, toppling inline-6- and V8-armed opponents to get there.
Qualifying fifth in a field of 30 entries, Fredric earned a 93 score Friday to ultimately face FD Pro rookie Matt Vankirk and his 2JZ Nissan 240SX in Saturday’s first round of tandem eliminations. After dispatching the S13, Kristaps Bluss’s LS-powered BMW E92 Eurofighter was up next in the round of 16, followed by a hard-fought battle with Justin Pawlak’s Roush Performance Falken Ford Mustang that went to a One More Time (OMT). Aasbo then knocked off Worthouse Drift driver Piotr Wiecek in his 2JZ S-chassis in the semifinals before facing down a returned-and-out-for-blood Forrest Wang in the Get Nuts Lab Vapetasia S15, another showdown too close to call so it went to extra laps.
Since 2010, Fredric has been on the Long Beach podium three times, all of those top-3 finishes in the last four years. He missed the podium in 2017 but came in second place in 2016 and won the event outright in 2015, the year he won his series driver’s title. He assumes a 19-point lead over Wang in the point standings after 1 of 8 2018 rounds.
Formula D travels next to Florida for Round 2 at Orlando Speed World on April 27 and 28. Watch this space for continuing coverage of Round 1 over the next couple of days – including our gallery from the Autocon installation – supplementing our albums from Media Day and Qualifying.