Six months after the season opener in Long Beach, Formula Drift closed out its seven-event 2013 schedule in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 20,000 spectators at Southern California's Irwindale Speedway this past weekend. Daigo Saito, driving a Lexus SC430 with a 1,200 horsepower turbocharged Toyota 2JZ, took the event win on Saturday night, with Michael Essa (above) earning the overall series championship.

Essa, driving a BMW E46 M3 with an 800-horsepower turbocharged BMW S54 engine, entered the competition as the points leader. While he qualified at the top early in the weekend, his inline-six seized as he crossed the finish line after his first successful run, sidelining him for the remainder of the event and putting his overall title in jeopardy. But his frustration wouldn't last long, as Chris Forsberg, driving a Nissan 370Z with a 800-horsepower Nissan VK56DE, lost to Saito in a later round. Forsberg's defeat meant his points would put him in second overall, and Essa would secure the championship. Saito would finish third.

The win for Essa, privately funded by GSR Autosport and sponsored by Yokohama Tire and Bilstein (but with no help or assistance from BMW), marks the first time a European vehicle has won the Formula Drift championship during the series' ten-year run. The series returns next April.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      AlphaJaguar5
      • 1 Year Ago
      Saito won the event. Even if he should have been DQ'd for brake checking.
      Car Guy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Automotive figure skating. Pass.
        T. C.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Car Guy
        Automotive rhythmic gymnastics. Automotive syncronized swimming. Automotive ice-dancing.
        Jason
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Car Guy
        Then why take the time to comment? Instead of ignoring the post and moving on, you make yourself look like an ignorant fool by wasting time telling the world you don't like drifting.
      Brent Jatko
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's all a big waste of tires to me, anyway.
      Gladius
      • 1 Year Ago
      This isnt motorsport.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gladius
        [blocked]
          T. C.
          • 1 Year Ago
          Drifting is a motorsport the same way cheer-leading belongs on ESPN.
      ryanandrewmartin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Talk about a motorsport I care less and less about as I get older.
      Nick
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fastest growing motorsport in the World. TV ratings for delayed aired events surpassing ALMS live events. Almost 200,000 viewers per event on Livestream. Event attendance sold out practically every event. Asia events TV viewership reaching a high of 30 million viewers. Solid demographic in 18-34 segment where most other motorsports are trending older including NASCAR. Factory support from Ford, Nissan, Scion, GM... I don't know, maybe they are on to something.