Red Bull Drifting World Championship

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The Red Bull Drifting World Championship is a non-championship all-star drifting contest sponsored by Red Bull energy drink and hosted by IMG and Slipstream Global Marketing, the organizers behind Formula D. The event took place at the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California on November 15–16, 2008.[1]

Announced prior to the Las Vegas Formula D round on July 14, at $50,000,[2] it boasts of the largest prize money in a drifting contest[1] and the largest TV production for a drift contest.[2]

The inaugural event was won by Rhys Millen, incidentally sponsored by Red Bull, taking home $25,000.

Criteria for eligibility[edit]

As there are 32 places for the event, drivers from all over the world are given a place should they meet these following criteria:


Taking place on 90-acre (360,000 m2) lot of newly laided up asphalt on Port of Long Beach, in a course known as "Pier S".[2]

The entire venue had to be built from scratch, however temporary.[2] Altogether, the venue in all, accounting for three grandstands, borrowed from those of the Long Beach Grand Prix and the 2,000 seating for VIP and sponsor are designed to accommodate up to 25,000 spectators.[2]

The course length is 1,200 ft (370 m), with another 100 ft (30 m) to allow for a rolling start with six corners outlined by a Red Bull sign.[2] Drivers who had driven on the track are said to be capable of reaching 104 mph (167 km/h) during test runs.[2]

List of invited drivers[edit]

Driver Team/Principal sponsor Car/Engine Series Season Position Number
Tanner Foust United States[3] Rockstar/ AEM Nissan 350Z Formula D 2007 & 2008 Champion 34
Samuel Hübinette SwedenUnited States[3] Nuformz Mopar/BFG Dodge Viper SRT-10 2004 & 2006 Champion 77
Rhys Millen New ZealandUnited States[3] RMR Red Bull Pontiac Pontiac Solstice GXP 2005 Champion 6
Daijiro Yoshihara Japan[3] RMR Pontiac GTO 4th 9
Chris Forsberg United States[3] NOS Energy Drink Drift Team Nissan 350Z-VK56DE V8 5th 64
Michihiro Takatori Japan[3] Super Autobacs Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 7th 23
Conrad Grunewald United States[3] Tanaka Racing/Nitto Tires Chevrolet Corvette C5 8th 79
Robbie Nishida JapanUnited States[3] Hankook Nissan 350Z 9th 31
Vaughn Gittin, Jr. United States[3] Team Falken Tires-Drift Alliance Ford Mustang GT "5th Gen" 10th
Ryuji Miki Japan[3] A'PEXi-Bergenholtz Racing Mazda RX-7 FD3S 11th
2004 D1GP Champion
Darren McNamara Republic of Ireland[3] Sears/Falken Tires Saturn Sky V8 12th
2008 Prodrift Runner-up
Stephan Verdier France[3] Crawford Motorsports Subaru Impreza WRX STI GD 13th
Ken Gushi JapanUnited States[3] RS*R Scion Scion tC 14th
Bill Sherman United States[3] Retaks/Bridgestone Nissan 240SX S13 15th
Justin Pawlak United States[3] Drift Alliance Mazda RX-7 FC3S 16th
Kyle Mohan United States[3] Mazda RX-7 FC3S 17th
Garry Whiter New Zealand[3] Toyo Tires Nissan Silvia S14.5 D1NZ Champion
Carl Ruiterman New Zealand E&H Motors Nissan Silvia S14 NZ Drift Champion 16
Freddy Girrard Canada[3] Hankook Tires Nissan Skyline R32 DMCC Champion
Marcos Santos Canada[3] Runners-up
Leighton Fine Australia[3] Toyo Tires Nissan 240SXS14 Drift Australia 2008 Champion
Luke Fink Australia[3] Holford Motors Nissan 180SX 2008 Runners-up
Robbie Bolger Australia Nissan 180SX 2007 Champion
Ben Broke-Smith United Kingdom[3] Driftworks Toyota Chaser EDC Champion 24
Tim Marshall United Kingdom[3] Apex Performance Nissan Skyline R33/SB Chevy V8 2nd 118
Tengku Djan Ley Malaysia[3] Bridgestone Nissan 180SXS13.5 FD Singapore Champion
Mike Whiddett New Zealand[3] Red Bull Mazda RX-7 FD3S 4Rotor 2nd 15
James Deane Republic of Ireland[3] Nexen Nissan 200SX S14.5 RB26 ProDrift Champion
Eric O’Sullivan Republic of Ireland[3] Rockstar Toyota Corolla Coupe AE86 F20 2nd
Fredric Aasbø Norway[3] Japan Auto Toyota Supra NDC Champion
Remmo Niezen Netherlands[3] BMW M3 E30 V8 IDS Champion
Paul Vlasblom Netherlands[3] Driftking.NL BMW M3 E36 Touring
Katsuhiro Ueo Japan[3] Drift Speed Nissan Silvia S15 D1GP 2002 Champion 86
drivers who been invited but declined entries
Ryan Tuerck United States[3] Gardella Racing Pontiac Solstice GXP Formula D 6th
Nobuteru Taniguchi Japan[3] HKS Toyota Altezza D1GP 2001 Champion
Youichi Imamura Japan[3] Auto Produce Boss Nissan Silvia S15 2003 Champion
Yasuyuki Kazama Japan[3] 2005 Champion
Nobushige Kumakubo Japan[3] Team Orange Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 2006 Champion
Masato Kawabata Japan[3] Team Toyo Nissan 180SX 2007 Champion
Daigo Saito Japan[3] Team 22 Toyota Mark II JZX 100 2008 Champion
Manabu Orido Japan[3] MSC Challenge Series judge

With the exception of Formula D, each series are allocated two entries, including D1GP, who following negotiation, were given six invites[4]

When negotiation broke down, D1 drivers were discouraged from taking invites, therefore they were approached directly by the FD management to find out that they invited entrants, the former D1GP champions in particular, had to decline their entries[4] for the reason of scheduling conflicts. Kumakubo declined his as he was due to take part in a drift demo in Dubai,[3] Kazama, despite no longer involved in the series, declined because of schedule clash.[3]

Former D1GP judge, competitor and Super GT driver, Orido was forced to decline his invitation as he was competing in the WTCC Guia Race at Macau on the same weekend,[3] as was fellow judge and returning competitor Taniguchi, was taking part in a Super Taikyu race in Japan.

Other than that, and 2003 champion, Imamura declined his as he was unable to attend,[3] the 2007 champion Kawabata declined his entry, but it was revealed that "conflict of interest" led them to decline. Saito, who originally accepted his entry, was forced to decline his entry for the same reason, although it was rumored that he placed two cars in a container to make its way to the event.[5] Millen backed this claim of the organisation's bullying tactic during an interview[6]

Only one FD driver, Tuerck, declined for budgetary reason as he is lacking a title sponsor, funding could not stretch for the event, therefore Mohan took his place.[3][7] Santos, Bolger and Ruiterman made up the rest of the available slot.


Number Starting
Driver Score[9]
6 26 Millen 98.17
77 18 Hubinette 97.00
32 9 Vlasblom 96.83
86 13 Ueo 96.08
8 10 McNamara 95.75
9 28 Yoshihara 94.67
25 6 Gittin 94.50
79 25 Grunewald 93.83
34 5 Foust 93.50
99 21 Mohan 93.08
23 11 Takatori 92.25
64 32 Forsberg 92.08
16 7 Ruiterman 90.33
51 24 Aasbo 90.33
17 19 Deane 86.67
48 17 Djan 86.50
12 23 Verdier 83.92
118 8 Marshall 83.67
69 14 Fink 83.42
11 29 Whiter 82.92
7 31 O’Sullivan 82.92
22 16 Sherman 82.50
14 12 Fine 80.58
20 30 Niezen 79.58
31 3 Nishida 77.83
19 4 Santos 77.25
911 27 Bolger 72.67
24 20 Broke-Smith 72.42
5 1 Gushi 0.00
15 2 Widdet 0.00
26 15 Miki 0.00
13 22 Pawlak 0.00

Knockout stage[10][edit]

Top 32   Top 16   Great 8   Semi Finals   Final
 New ZealandMillen  
 United StatesGushi      New ZealandMillen  
 Republic of IrelandO'Sullivan    FranceVerdier  
 FranceVerdier        New ZealandMillen  
 JapanTakatori        United StatesGittin  
 United StatesSherman      United StatesSherman
 United StatesGittin    United StatesGittin  
 CanadaSantos        New ZealandMillen  
 Republic of IrelandMcNamara        United StatesFoust  
 United KingdomBroke-Smith      Republic of IrelandMcNamara  
 United StatesFoust    United StatesFoust  
 NetherlandsNiezen        United StatesFoust
 New ZealandRuiterman        AustraliaWhiddet  
 AustraliaFink      New ZealandRuiterman
 NetherlandsVlasblom    AustraliaWhiddet  
 AustraliaWhiddet        New ZealandMillen
 SwedenHubinette        JapanYoshihara
 JapanMiki      SwedenHubinette  
 Republic of IrelandDeane    MalaysiaTengku  
 MalaysiaTengku        SwedenHubinette  
 United StatesForsberg        United StatesForsberg  
 New ZealandWhiter      United StatesForsberg
 United StatesGrunewald    JapanNishida  
 JapanNishida        SwedenHubinette
 JapanYoshihara        JapanYoshihara  
 AustraliaBolger      JapanYoshihara  
 United StatesMohan    AustraliaFine  
 AustraliaFine        JapanYoshihara
 NorwayAasbo        JapanUeo  
 United KingdomMarshall      NorwayAasbo
 JapanUeo    JapanUeo  
 United StatesPawlak  



External links[edit]