Papadakis Racing is returning to competition this weekend as Formula Drift opens its adjusted season at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, Missouri.
"It's almost like I can't believe we're back at the track," said driver Fredric Aasbo, who debuts the all new Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota GR Supra in Formula Drift this weekend. "The series is going to look a little different in 2020 and I'm excited to be back and facing the challenge of figuring it all out and putting in the best performance we can as a team."
The 2015 series champion, Aasbo has been a member of the Papadakis Racing squad since 2011. This season he is joined by Ryan Tuerck, who takes the helm of the Gumout / Nitto Tire / Mobile1 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.
Fans got their first look at the powerhouse duo in April as the covers came off the team cars for the first time. But a delayed start to the season due to the global pandemic means this weekend marks the first time teammates Aasbo and Tuerck will compete together under the same tent.
"I'm feeling really good about the upcoming season," said Tuerck. "We've had a chance to get out and run a couple of test sessions as a team and I'm feeling like the cars will be at 100 percent when we hit the track here in St. Louis."
The adjusted schedule will see the Formula Drift series run a full calendar of eight points-scoring rounds over four doubleheader weekends this fall. A condensed weekend schedule will keep the pressure on drivers and teams.
Practice opportunities are limited, and the single-car qualification runs that typically take place the day before the main competition will be replaced with a draw. With less seat time for drivers, there is the potential for shakeups as drivers meet door-to-door for the first time on Saturday during the Round of 32.
Even so, Aasbo said the strategy doesn't change. "The plan is still essentially what it always has been," said Aasbo. "We're going to keep focused on having a cool head going into every turn, every battle, every day, and every weekend."
This weekend's doubleheader competition will be streamed on Formula Drift channels, with the Round 1 Pro competition live broadcast starting at 11:45 a.m. (local time) on Saturday before the Round of 32. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for 4 p.m. It starts all over again for Round 2 on Sunday at 11:45 a.m.
Taking a lead from other racing series including NASCAR and IndyCar, Formula Drift has implemented a host of safety precautions for the weekend, including a requirement for face coverings and social distancing measures.
Although the competition arena might look a little different in 2020, Tuerck said he's happy to be back. "I'm such a huge fan of motorsports that when racing first came back on TV this year, I was really happy and I realized it's a huge stress reliever to be able to watch competition," he said. "I'm stoked we're getting back out there and bringing the show to the fans."
FORMULA DRIFT 2020 COMPETITION SCHEDULE
Round 1 & 2: September 4-6 // World Wide Technology Raceway (St. Louis, MO)
Round 3 & 4: September 25-26 // Evergreen Speedway (Seattle, WA)
Round 5 & 6: October 16-18 // Texas Motor Speedway (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX)
Round 7 & 8: November 20-22 // Irwindale Speedway (Los Angeles, CA)
Each round will be streamed live. Formula Drift is a partner of CBS Sports.
Aasbo is the most winning driver in Formula Drift history, with 13 career victories. He joined Papadakis Racing in 2011 and earned the series crown in 2015. He started his Formula Drift career in 2010 as a privateer in a Mark IV Supra and comes full circle this season as he takes the helm of his all new Toyota GR Supra.
Tuerck is a leading social influencer and top-tier driver with a career 14 podiums. His down-home charm, commitment to the sport's grassroots, and talent in front of the camera have brought him a social fanbase of over a million followers. Earlier this year, he retired his previous chassis, a powerful Toyota 86.
The Papadakis Racing team began drifting in 2004 and is the most winning team in Formula Drift history, earning the 2015 title with driver Aasbo, as well as back-to-back championship titles with driver Tanner Foust in 2007 and 2008.