Top Gear picked up for second season, Tanner Foust trading drifting focus for rallycross

Don't look for Tanner Foust to be hanging around the Formula Drift circuit next year. The master of all things sideways has announced that he'll be taking a break from the action next season to focus on other exploits. Namely, those include Foust's television work and a greater involvement in Rallycross. Fans will remember that Foust has been campaigning heavily in Formula Drift for seven years now, and the venue helped make the man a household name – at least among the speed-obsessed of the world. Now he's off to tackle other exploits.

The largest of those will be a greater involvement in Top Gear USA. The History Channel has announced that the American version of the ever-popular UK show will stick around for a second season, and as such, Foust will need to be on hand to drive flooded Pontiac Fieros and tolerate Rutledge Wood.

Foust still plans to show up at the Formula Drift invitational at the Yas Marina Formula One circuit at the end of this month. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[Sources: Tanner Foust Racing, Jalopnik]
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LOS ANGELES, CA (Tanner Foust Racing) -- Two-time Formula DRIFT champion Tanner Foust is stepping away from Formula DRIFT series competition for the 2011 season to focus on increased television commitments and a packed rallycross competition schedule.

"The past seven years of drifting with Formula D were incredible and I owe a lot to the sport that helped launch my professional career," said Foust. "I still believe it is one of the best places for grassroots racers to find their professional legs and learn to make a living behind the wheel."

Foust, the only driver to score back-to-back championship titles in the series, plans to remain involved in the sport. He will travel to Abu Dhabi with the Rockstar Energy Scion tC at the end of the month to participate in the Formula DRIFT invitational event at the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, and will break out the same machine for the SPEED Dream Ride event in April to drift the entire Infineon Raceway track with passengers.

"Tanner will be missed by the series and the fans as he has become one of the most recognizable drivers on the circuit and is one of the most outspoken supporters of Formula DRIFT," said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. "His semi-retirement from drifting will open the door for other drivers in the series to make their own mark. We wish Tanner more success in his career both on and off the track."

After five years of full-time competition with Papadakis Racing, the team racked up numerous accomplishments in the sport of drifting.

They finished third in their first season together in a Nissan 350z, and then won back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008. They debuted their Scion tC with a sixth-place series finish and then closed out the car's competition life in second overall in the 2010 championship.

"Thank you Scion, Rockstar, Hankook Tires, Motegi, AEM, and the amazing crew at Papadakis Racing for the drive and support," said Foust. "I look forward to watching Stephan and his new driver enjoy continued success."

For 2011, the driver is preparing to run the entire 10-event European Rallycross Championship season, as well as contesting the domestic rallycross series. His first US competition will be the Global Rallycross season opener on March 26, at Irwindale Speedway, in the Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta. His European season begins a month later in England. He is also planning to return to X Games to defend his dual gold medals.

"I'm going to miss being at each event in the series and hanging out with some of the greatest fans there are in motorsport," said Foust. "I've had a blast meeting, talking to and Facebooking so many drift fans. I'll still be lucky enough to stay busy in the world of racing so I hope to catch up with some of the Formula D regulars at various events throughout the year."

Papadakis Racing has partnered with Need for Speed to create a new team featuring 2010 Formula DRIFT Rookie of the Year and Nordic Drift Champion, Fredric Aasbo, behind the wheel of the Team Need for Speed 2011 Scion tC.

Tanner Foust is a versatile and multi-talented driver known for his supreme car control and a proven track record of podium placements and national championships. He is a three-time X Games gold medalist (2007, 2010), and two-time Formula DRIFT champion (2007, 2008). He took the win at the inaugural Gymkhana Grid event late last year. He has twice represented Team USA in the annual Race of Champions, teaming with NASCAR star Carl Edwards in 2008 and Travis Pastrana in 2009. He returned to the event in 2010 as teammate to Mick Doohan on the All Star Team.

His varied race experience also includes multiple years of open wheel competition, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, rally racing, various types of sports car racing and the SCORE Baja.

Even if you haven't seen Foust on the track you've likely witnessed his precision car control on TV or the big screen. He was a lead driver in the Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Bourne Ultimatum, Dukes of Hazzard, Red Dawn and Iron Man 2 movies, and also handles stunt driving in numerous popular TV shows and commercials.

Foust is an on-air host for SPEED TV's Battle of the Supercars, and the US version of the seminal BBC auto show, Top Gear, on HISTORY.

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