Hankook Tire Expands Formula Drift Lineup,
Adds Celebrity to Time Attack Arsenal
Brand to Increase Muscle in Already Strong Stable of Drivers
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 3, 2010 - After celebrating a stellar Formula Drift season that included podium finishes in five of the seven Drift events for Hankook driver Tanner Foust, Hankook is announcing ongoing participation in Formula Drift with an expanded driver lineup. Additionally, Hankook adds star power to its Redline Time Attack driver line-up, signing on Paul Walker of The Fast the Furious fame.
Hankook also is exploring a partnership with Oakley for motorsports apparel items.
In 2011, Hankook will be an official tire sponsor for Formula Drift and once again sponsor Team Papadakis Racing and Tanner Foust, the 2010 championship runner-up, as well as Conrad Grunewald, who competed in the Hankook-sponsored Chevrolet Camaro for Conrad Grunewald Racing.
New for next year, the brand will expand its motorsports stable to include Scion Racing with driver Ken Gushi and Chris Forsberg Racing with driver Chris Forsberg. Hankook also will sponsor Rhys Millen Racing by supporting owner/driver Rhys Millen in Formula Drift, Rally Cross Competition and his quest to break the world record at the prestigious Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
All drivers will compete on Hankook's Ventus R-S3 performance race tires, one of the premier tires in Formula Drift competition. Hankook has applied its latest motorsports technology to these tires, improving dry-grip performance by 30 percent; further enhancing the tire's handling capabilities.
"We chose each of our new drivers judiciously based on their past records and potential performance," said Paul Jho, motorsports marketing manager, Hankook Tire America Corp. "We are confident they will prove to be a valuable addition to our team and will contribute to Hankook's growing success in motorsports."
For Redline Time Attack, Hankook adds celebrity driver Paul Walker of The Fast and the Furious movie fame to its roster. Walker will be competing in a BMW M3. In addition, he will have Hankook's support when he competes next month in the 25 Hour Thunderhill Endurance Race by NASA.
Walker will race on Hankook's proven Ventus Z214 DOT R Compound tires. The Ventus Z214 DOT R offers a symmetric tread design and utilizes a smooth tread surface with two longitudinal tread grooves for outstanding performance on the circuit in both dry and damp conditions.
"Each year drifting and time attack continue to grow and gain popularity in the U.S. and influence the marketplace," said Bill Bainbridge, Hankook Tire America Corp. director, brand communications. "Hankook will continue to be a motorsports leader, using our advanced technology to ensure the continued development of cutting-edge products like the Ventus R-S3 and Ventus Z214 to meet the demands of enthusiast consumers."
About Hankook Tire America Corp.
Headquartered in Wayne, N.J., Hankook Tire America Corp. is a technology-focused, market-driven company that markets and distributes a complete line of high performance and ultra-high performance passenger tires, light truck, SUV tires, as well as medium truck and bus tires to more than 400 independent dealers through 3000+ retail sales locations in the United States and Canada.
For more information, please visit the Hankook website at www.hankooktireusa.comMedia Contacts:On-site at SEMA , please stop by Hankook's booth #43071.
Foust, a two-time Formula Drift champion, had another impressive season in 2010. He was runner-up in the series championship, capped his season off with a win at the season finale and secured his first Tires.com Triple Crown bonus prize. In 2009, Foust finished sixth in overall points in his first season with Hankook Tire, including a victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Foust is a winning competitor in rally, drift, ice racing and time attack with a proven track record of multiple podium placements and national championships. Foust has seen huge success in drift and rally in the last few seasons. In addition to winning the 2008 Formula Drift Pro Drift Championship, repeating his 2007 Championship, he also took the Silver medal in the 2008 Summer X Games Pro Rally race. Foust won the 2007 X Games Gold Medal in the Pro Rally for the Rockstar Energy Rally team, beating factory Subaru team members Ken Block and BMX legend Travis Pastrana.
While 2010 marked Grunewald's second full season in Formula Drift, he is no stranger to drifting having competed in numerous races since 2004. Grunewald's first year of drifting was in the D1 series in 2004, where he was one of twelve drivers representing the USA in the USA vs. Japan shootout. In 2005 and 2006, Conrad focused his attention on Formula Drift, which was quickly becoming the premier drifting series in the United States. He was given the opportunity in 2007 to run a full Formula Drift season in a Nissan 240SX, but declined to drive American muscle for a partial season piloting a Corvette Z06. Conrad posted a fourth place finish for his team's inaugural event in 2007.
Gushi, nicknamed "The Future," currently ranks as the number 15 driver in Formula Drift. Born in Okinawa, Japan, but raised in Los Angeles, Gushi has become a fan favorite and the youngest driver to earn a podium victory in Formula Drift with his RS*R Scion Racing tC.
Forsberg placed first at Formula Drift Team Drift at Long Beach Grand Prix this year, and is currently the second winningest driver in Formula Drift history. In 2009, Forsberg was named "Formula Drift Driver of the Year" and secured a place as Formula Drift champion and Tires.com Triple Crown winner.
With over 17 years racing experience, Millen developed his legendary car control skills through various outlets including drifting a modified Toyota Supra to a new class world record up the world's toughest hillclimb, the famous Pikes Peak International Hill climb back in 1998. Millen won the 2008 "Red Bull Drifting World Championship," which brought together 32 of the top drivers from around the world to challenge for the title of "The Best in the World." Of late, Millen has made the transition into Hollywood, being awarded the role of lead stunt driver in a variety of movies, including the Dukes of Hazard.
Walker, a Hollywood actor turned racer, competed in the Redline Time Attack series in early 2010 and will undertake his first Pro-AM race on Dec. 5 for the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill race in Willows, Calif. His E46 & E92 BMW M3 will be equipped with Hankook's premier performance street and track tire, the Ventus RS-3.