Nitto Tire Announces Formula D Team Sponsorships

NITTO TIRE ANNOUNCES FORMULA DRIFT TEAM SPONSORSHIPS

Cypress, Calif., April 8, 2010 – Nitto Tire proudly announces four team sponsorships for the 2010 Formula Drift racing series. Joon Maeng of Bergenholtz Racing will campaign a Mazda RX-8; Michael Essa will campaign a brand-new BMW 350R; grassroots racer, Matt Powers, will campaign a Nissan S14, and Alex Pfeiffer of Tanaka Racing will campaign a C5 Corvette. All four teams will use Nitto’s NT05, a max-performance street tire.

Nitto plans to extend its racing heritage by partnering with talented teams. Joon Maeng, who is supported by Bergenholtz Racing and Full Tilt Poker, is relatively new to Formula Drift. Nonetheless, in his 2009 rookie season he finished an impressive 17th place overall. For 2010 he will campaign the Bergenholtz Racing/Full Tilt Poker/Nitto Tire Mazda RX-8. Its tri-rotor 20B engine, built by Mazdatrix, was fully ported and powered by a custom-matched turbocharger to produce 600 hp at the wheels with a rotary engine scream. Maeng stated, “In drifting it is crucial to have tires that can handle harsh driving conditions. The NT05s provide plenty of traction and predictability.”

Michael Essa will debut a brand-new BMW this season. Under the hood Essa shoehorned a more powerful M5 V10 powerplant built specifically for drifting in place of the stock in-line six motor. Essa is the first driver to campaign an E92 BMW in the series. To accommodate the switch, GSR Autosport rerouted piping and parts throughout the engine bay. His career highlights include being a drift instructor, race car fabricator and professional drift driver. “The Nitto NT05 is a great tire; it’s incredibly consistent and has tons of grip,” said Essa. “They give me the confidence to drive the car at the limit, sideways, next to walls.”

Matt Powers is a longtime grassroots racer who made his way into the professional arena in 2009. In the four events in which he competed in his rookie year, he finished three of them in the top 32. During the series break, he teamed up with Team Need for Speed added some serious power upgrades to his Nissan S14. All of this newfound power will be transferred to the pavement via Nitto’s NT05 max-performance tire. Powers said, “I love the insane smoke and awesome grip of the NT05. My car is an animal and it feeds on NT05s.”

Last but not least, Alex Pfeiffer teamed up with Tanaka Racing for the 2010 season. His career includes stints in the SCCA road race series, and 2-1/2 years as a Formula Drift judge before he returned to the driver’s seat in 2009, piloting a Lexus SC300. This year he will campaign a completely different vehicle, the 800-hp C5 Corvette. This is the only Corvette running in the series this season to date.

All four teams will use Nitto’s NT05 max-performance radial. The NT05 was created using advanced computer simulation and extensive on-track testing. The result is a tire that provides precise and responsive handling and performance, which are needed for the grueling demands of drifting. See Nitto, the NT05 and all four sponsored teams in action at the 2010 season opener held in Long Beach, Calif., on April 9-10.

Nitto Tire develops performance tires for all uses, including racing, off-road and street. Using state-of-the-art manufacturing and testing facilities in both Japan and the United States, Nitto provides innovative and high-quality performance tires for the most demanding automotive enthusiasts. For more information about Nitto or its products, visit the company’s web site or contact the company directly. Nitto and Fueled by Enthusiasts are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nitto Tire U.S.A., Inc., located at 6021 Katella Ave., Ste 250, Cypress, CA 90630.

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