After struggling in his first season of Formula Drift competition with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Rhys Millen finally came good at Long Beach this week. Millen still hasn't won with the Genesis, but he managed to get second place on the podium against over 50 other drivers.
After rushing to get the coupe ready for the season opener a year ago, Millen's team spent this past winner thoroughly going over the car. Hyundai's Lambda V6 now produces over 650 horsepower compared to the 480 hp it turned out last year. Vaughn Gittin Jr. grabbed the top spot on the podium with his new Ford Mustang. For those unfamiliar with drifting, you can check out Millen's video primer after the jump along with the official press release.
World Champion Driver Rhys Millen Places Second in Round One of the Formula DRIFT Championship
LONG BEACH, Calif., 04/12/2010
Formula DRIFT has a new trophy winner, the Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe. World Champion driver Rhys "Mad Skills" Millen piloted the Genesis Coupe to an impressive second-place finish on the Streets of Long Beach Formula DRIFT course. Millen also qualified first, scoring 89 out of a possible 100 points on his first solo run.
"I was in sync with my Genesis Coupe during the entire campaign and step one was to qualify first," said Rhys Millen. "The car had so much grip and power I was able to put it close to the walls and mirror the other competitors' cars' every move. Nothing compares to the pressure and thrill of the 'win it or lose it' factor while competing against more than 50 other cars and drivers."
From inside the cockpit, the 2008 Red Bull Drifting World Champion beat out top drift talent including past Formula DRIFT Champions, Tanner Foust, driving an 800 plus-horsepower NASCAR-powered Scion TC (third place) and Samuel Hubinette, driving an 800 plus-horsepower USAC-powered Dodge Challenger. Vaughn Gittin Jr., the event winner, was behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang.
Millen had five months during the off-season to go through his Genesis Coupe and put in all the necessary ingredients to make it into a winning car. The RMR Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe now produces 650 horsepower from its stroked Lambda V6 engine and managed to tackle the infamous Long Beach Grand Prix street course.
Entering its sixth season, the Formula DRIFT Championship is recognized as the North American professional drifting championship series. This high-skilled, high-powered motor sport where drivers intentionally maneuver their cars into well executed, controlled sideways slides at high speeds through a marked course, has more than 50 professional drivers competing in all seven competitions this year. Judged on execution and style, rather than who finishes the course in the fastest time, drifting is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and is often compared to the freestyle nature of skateboarding and motocross.