History of Drift
In Japan, the art of Drifting has been popular among the street racers or "hashiriya" for more than 15 years, and has morphed into one of the country's number one attended motorsports in less than a decade, where professional Japanese Drifters are the equivalent of national celebrities. To the novice, it would appear that drifting very recently crossed the Pacific Ocean and exploded into the world or racing not more than two years ago, but hard core enthusiasts know different. The American Drifting scene's roots can be traced back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. When drag racing was exploding across America, a small number of enthusiast's fascination was leaning toward an underground sport in Japan called canyon racing and drifting.
Most of today's Formula DRIFT pros tell similar stories about following the Japanese car culture, and how they uncovered access to this underground world through the Internet and in small Japanese bookstores in Japanese neighborhoods, primarily in Southern California. It was here that enthusiasts pummeled through hundreds of car magazines and racing videos that featured modified cars that looked very different than what was in the U.S. - and has since become today's tuner scene. Magazine covers like Carboy, J's Tipo, Option, and Autoworks opened a window into Japanese racing movements including Drifting, VIP and Group A, which eventually evolved into Japan's number one grand prix circuit knows as JGTC or Super GT racing. American drivers learned that the type of car had a huge impact on performance when drifting, and went against the grain in what was a growing tuner "show car" scene -- which was all about painted vinyl interiors, Supra wings, "Powered by Honda" stickers and side marker lights. Early American drifters learned that older imports like the Nissan 240SX, Toyota Corolla, Mazda RX-7, Nissan 300Z and Toyota Supra were more desirable when modifying for function as well as form. Key in drifting was suspension tuning, good tires, and brake upgrades - a must have before any engine modifications. Sales of front engine/rear wheel drive (FR) import cars like the Nissan 240SX (S13, S14) and the Toyota Corolla skyrocketed among the underground import crowd craving the drifting scene.
Engine and body modifications became secondary to good driving skills. Many drifters tell stories of watching hours of Japanese videos and reading countless pages about technique - and it was these hands-off lessons that became their driving school -- where they learned about speed and basic racing techniques like traditional grip-driving, braking in a straight line before the corner, accelerating out of the apex of the turn and honing the valuable drifting skill of heel-and-toe braking - which they would then fine tune in their cars in open parking lots and back roads.
In June of 2003, Slipstream Global Marketinga national marketing company (and predecessor of Formula Drift Holdings LLC) , put together a qualifying event with some of Japan's top professional drift series drivers in the judge's seats, including Keiichi Tsuchiya, Manabu Suzuki, Dai Inada, and Manabu Orido. In the end, 8 out of 40 drivers qualified for the new U.S. D-1 circuit including Calvin Wan, Ken Gushi, Bryan Norris, Hubert Young, Rich Rutherford, Ernie Fixmer, Sam Hubinette and Dai Yoshihara.
That November at the 2003 SEMA Show, Slipstream Global Marketing announced the launch of a sister company, Formula Drift, Inc., which would solely own, operate and launch the first official drifting series in North America called Formula DRIFT or Formula D. The inaugural four-event circuit kicked off in 2004 and would be sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, with strict SCCA marshals working track operations at each event; the level of professionalism was raised. Created as a North American drift series, drivers competed for top slots and sponsor dollars from around the globe.
In April 2004, the first Formula DRIFT event was held at Road Atlanta. Most of the drivers were novice drifters by Japanese standards, but provided high-energy entertainment to the crowds as American "pro drifters." Some of the drivers also brought professional racing experience to the sport including Rhys Millen, Samuel Hubinette and Ryan Hampton, making the inaugural year a crowd pleaser, attracting a much younger and hipper audience than the Japanese drift series.
In December of 2005, Formula DRIFT driver Vaughn Gittin, Jr. won the USA vs. Japan All Star event, becoming the first American to win an international competition and proving that the American drivers have raised the bar in North American drifting. Hollywood has taken notice as well and many of Formula DRIFT's top driver's like 2-time champion Samuel Hubinette, champion Rhys Millen, and 2-time champion Tanner Foust, were asked to be the official stunt drivers for the Universal Studios movie, "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift." In November of 2008, Formula DRIFT helped create the first ever drifting world championship. This event was the first of its kind and helped bring the sport of drifting recognition worldwide. 17 past and present drifting champions from the top drifting organizations in the world gathered to compete for the largest prize purse in drifting history. A special custom built drifting track was put together at a special location on the Port of Long Beach. Formula DRIFT’s Rhys Millen came out on top to win the inaugural Drifting World Championship.
The FOX SPORTS Connection
As of 2013, Fox Sports and Driftpac is excited to be able to partner with Formula Drift Holdings LLC to organize, broadcast and host the Formula Drift Asia Pro Championship series. Formula Drift is the first and only sanctioned North American professional championship drifting series, the three dynamic entities led by FOX SPORTS event management group have formed an exclusive alliance to expand and develop the motorsport of professional drifting in Asia. The 1st Singapore championship in 2008 signified our desire to transform drifting into a truly global mainstay. The Asian championship will provide an opportunity for our very own local drifters to compete, hone and learn from the very best. The intense competition will evolve the local standard of motor sports as we know it. For 2010-11, the Formula Drift Asia championship will take place in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Supported by Fox’s extensive regionalbroadcast network, we will be able to the deliver the thrill of high-speed drifting first hand to millions of viewers in Asia and beyond.
About FOX International Channels
FOX International Channels (FIC) is News Corporation’s international multi-media business. We develop, produce and distribute 350 wholly- and majority-owned entertainment, factual, sports and movie channels across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, in 37 languages. These networks and their related mobile, non-linear and high-definition extensions reach over 1.1 billion households worldwide. We also operate a global online advertising unit .FOX (“dot-fox”) specialized in online video and display, and four TV production houses. For more information, please visit
In Asia, FIC operates or distributes over 33 channel brands, including the FOX, STAR and National Geographic brands, with over 100 feeds across more than 15 markets, As the leading pay-TV network in the region, FIC reaches more than 550 million cumulative subscribers across Asia Pacific and the Middle East with offices in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Australia, New Zealand and the UAE.
FIC Sports networks includes FOX SPORTS, the channel that delivers some of the most compelling LIVE sport events from around the world, including the flagship sports news show FOX SPORTS CENTRAL; STAR Sports, which features a wide variety of premium sports content; FOX SPORTS PLUS (HD), the high-definition 24-hour sports channel; FOX SPORTS NEWS the first 24/7 sports news channel; STAR Cricket, the comprehensive cricket channel; STAR Cricket HD, the High Definition comprehensive cricket channel; FOX SPORTS PLAY, the broadband network providing LIVE and on-demand sports properties and additional exclusive content; FOX SPORTS MOBILE, the mobile application that allows fans to access on-demand, premium world-class mobile sports content and FOXSPORTSASIA.com, the online destination for comprehensive sports content, also in local languages in Bahasa Malaysia (), Bahasa Indonesia () and Mandarin ().