Formula DRIFT on NPR tomorrow morning

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BREAKING NEWS!: We just received word that the interview on NPR will air Tomorrow (Wed) morning during the Morning Edition. It will be in the segment that begins at 6:40am PST and will be repeated at 8:40am PST (barring any breaking news).

It can be heard locally on 89.3 KPCC or 89.9 KCRW. It will also be archived on NPR.org after it airs.

Interviews were with Jim Liaw, Ryan Sage and Fredric Aasbø.

SEMA News – March 2013: Jim Liaw Discusses Racing Youth

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Excerpt from article

According to Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula Drift, economics play a huge factor in youth motorsports involvement.

“Motorsports participants skew older in most cases because motorsports are more expensive than sports like surfing, basketball or even golf,” Liaw explained. “An older individual tends to have more disposable income. Yes, there are a lot of young drivers in development—kids that are go-karting, young drivers going through development series such as F2000, Indy Lights, etc.—but they are rare and few and are funded by family money.”

Along with the motorsports mentioned above, drifting not only remains a favorite of young performance enthusiasts, but has also developed a cultural following.

“Cost of entry is low,” said Liaw. “Participants are much younger. If you look at the profiles of Formula Drift Pro Drivers, they range from 21–39, representing a dozen countries and multiple ethnicities. The majority of them have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, which shows that they are social-media savvy and are early adaptors to these new technologies. In 2012, we had 38 drivers commit to the entire tour, showing that most of them consider Formula Drift a major priority—if not the priority—in their driving careers.”

CLICK HERE for the full story.

Famed Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Racing Circuit Beginning To Take Shape

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LONG BEACH, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2013) — The green flag signaling the start of construction for the 39th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will run April 19-21, fell this morning on Shoreline Drive, the famed racing circuit’s front straightaway.

The honorary construction foremen were Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Papadakis Racing owner Stephan Papadakis, Formula DRIFT President & Co-Founder Jim Liaw and Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian. Also on-hand were the Papadakis Racing Scion tC, which will be driven in 2013 by top Drifting driver Frederic Aasbo, and, courtesy of Toyota Motorsports, an all-new, race-prepared Scion FR-S that will be driven in the 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.

“Our race circuit will feature something extra this year as we will be hosting the first-ever night racing in the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday,” said Michaelian. “Along with the six other racing events here in April, this should make for one of the most entertaining weekends in our history.”

The setting of the first of more than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks that line the track marks the beginning of two months of work preparing for the 175,000 fans expected during race weekend.

“It’s three days of great parties and great racing,” said Foster. “The Grand Prix brings a lot of people to Long Beach. Our hotels get filled up, our restaurants get filled up and people understand that Long Beach is a really a great city, a great place to have a good time.”

Track Construction
More than 30,000 working hours will be spent installing the  blocks, three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires, along with 16 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and giant-vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage. The heavy-duty blocks and fencing, however, are merely a start.“

Leading up to race weekend, our staff will also install hospitality suites, tents, electrical  equipment, phones, porta-johns, trash containers and a hundred other little things up until race weekend,” said Dwight Tanaka, director of operations for the Grand Prix Association.  “Then, when the last checkered flag falls on Sunday night, we start to take everything down, inspect it and get ready for next year.”

All businesses along the race circuit, which includes Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Way and Pine Ave., will remain open during construction of the racetrack.

The 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will feature racing from the IZOD IndyCar Series, Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Pirelli World Challenge, Formula DRIFT, Robby Gordon OFF-ROAD Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.

Fans can select and pay for their seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Tickets can also be ordered by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 82-SPEED, and callers can request a printed ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices, order form and other information. Also featured on gplb.com is the latest Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach news, downloadable ticket brochure and racetrack information, photos and ongoing announcements of special race week activities.

Ticket prices range from $28 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $130 for a threeday ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages.

Fans can also follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB and on Twitter @ToyotaGPLB.