After wrapping up the 2010 Formula Drift season (Vaughn Gittin Jr. took the podium, with Tanner Foust and Ryan Tuerck second and third overall), a handful of selected professional drifters loaded their cars into steel 40-foot containers and shipped them to the Middle East for the inaugural Formula Drift UAE Invitational in Abu Dhabi.
While the locals in that part of the world aren't strangers to wild car antics (as evident from those popular, yet crazy Middle East YouTube videos), the Invitational was formatted to introduce the locals to professional drifting - in a safe and controlled manner. The chosen venue was the new Yas Marina Circuit, designed and built for Formula One (interestingly enough, the Formula Drift guys were the first to every lay "drifting" rubber down on its fresh surface).
In addition to the main event, there was a media day (with ride-alongs), a karting competition (Tanner Foust set the all-time lap record), a visit to Ferrari World and a drag competition with locals. And, to help the local competitors, Tony Brakohiapa and Michael Essa taught drifting techniques to ten drivers from the local SSK Drift Club (four were eventually chosen to participate in demo during the main event).
The next stop for drivers Chris Forsberg, Tanner Foust, Michael Essa, Tony Brakohiapa, Fredric Aasbo, Mike Whiddett and Daijiro Yoshihara is the Qatar Racing Club in Doha, Qatar, for the inaugural Formula Drift Global Challenge on March 18, 2011.