Two-time drift champion Tanner Foust on Tuesday unveiled the brand-new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat drift machine that he will drive this weekend in his much-anticipated return to Formula Drift.
The rear-wheel drive converted Volkswagen Passat from Tanner Foust Racing will produce some 900 nitrous-boosted horsepower from a V-8 engine.
"One of the things I have always loved about drifting in the United States is how inventive you can get with the car builds. You can put a high-horsepower V-8 into a Volkswagen Passat to make something completely unique," said Foust. "You don't see that in another series in the word."
The driver, who has won two Global Rallycross championship titles since he shifted focus from drifting to rallycross after the 2010 season, said he wanted to bring that level of creativity to the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink / Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat.
The car features a four-speed dog-engagement transmission, a Tilton clutch, AEM Infinity-10 fuel injection, RS-R suspension and an extroverted APR Performance swan-mount wing. Its distinctive supercar exhaust note comes from a specially designed eight into one sequential collector. It rides on KMC wheels wrapped in sticky rubber from Nitto Tire.
"The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat will be a one of a kind competition vehicle for the Formula Drift series and it's a good chance for us to prove the versatility of the NT05 max performance tire," said Harry Kong, brand publishing and social media strategist for Nitto Tire.
Foust, who drives for Rockstar Energy Drink and Volkswagen in multiple competition disciplines around the world, said he is excited to join Nitto Tire for his return to Formula Drift. The NT05 has been the tire of choice for top competitors in the series since 2009 and is favored for its predictability and durability even under the most demanding conditions.
"Nitto Tire has been a longtime supporter of drifting and it's great to be working with a company with such deep roots in the sport," said Foust. "It gives me confidence knowing that we have a tire that can handle whatever power we throw at it."
The Rockstar Energy Drink / Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat is the latest special build from Tanner Foust Racing. Vehicle builds represent a growing area of interest for Foust, who debuted the RAUH-Welt Begriff Volkswagen Beetle at SEMA last year.
"At the heart of it, I'm an enthusiast," said Foust. "Having the chance to dream up something incredible and then work with a team to modify and build and make it real is incredibly rewarding."
The 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink / Nitto Tire Volkswagen Passat will also be featured in upcoming special projects, including the upcoming "Tanner Foust Back on Track" video.
Foust's first of three select rounds of the Formula Drift championship will take place at the season opener, Streets of Long Beach, April 10 and 11. He will also compete at the Road to the Championship round in Braselton, Ga. (May 8-9) as well as the season ending Final Fight in Irwindale, Calif. October 9-10.
It is a much-anticipated return to drifting for Foust, who is the only driver ever to win back-to-back Formula Drift championships (2007 and 2008). He scored the runner-up position in 2010, his last season of Formula Drift competition.
Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport with an emphasis on car control skill. Drivers compete in knockout heats on a closed course, sliding sideways in trials judged on speed and style. With origins in Japan, it is one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport in the world.
The versatile driver's 2015 calendar will see him challenge for the Global Rallycross Championship title while also racing in select stops of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Formula Drift and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. He will make his return to X Games in Austin this summer for the action sport festival at Circuit of the Americas June 4-7.
#34 ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK / NITTO TIRE VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT (RWD)
ESSENTIALS // Driver: Tanner Foust, Team: Tanner Foust Racing, Crew chief: Mitch Terry , Vehicle Chief: Aldo Villagran , Spotter: Stephan Verdier
TIRES // Nitto Tire NT05 255/40-17 (f); 295/40-18 (r)
ENGINE // 700 HP V-8 450 cubic inches + 200HP Nitrous, AEM Infinity-10, x2AEM 320L fuel pumps
SUSPENSION // RS-R custom coilovers
WHEELS // KMC (Front: 17x8; Rear: 18x10)
DRIVELINE // Driveshaft Shop 4" Aluminum, G-Force GSR, 4 Speed dog box, Tilton Engineering three-disk clutch
WIRING // GP Motorsports Mil Spec
BATTERY // Odyssey PC925
INTERIOR // Recaro seats; custom 4130 Chrome-Moly rollcage; Plex SDM-500 dash display; Tilton Engineering 600 series pedals; Sparco steering wheel
EXTERIOR // APR Performance swan-mount wing, Spin Imaging
ABOUT TANNER FOUST
Tanner Foust is a versatile and multi-talented driver known for his supreme car control and a proven track record of podium placements, national championships and world records. He is a three-time U.S. rallycross champion (2012, 2011, 2010) who has also won four X Games gold medals (2013, 2010, 2007), and two Formula Drift championships (2008, 2007).
He has also held multiple world records including for the astonishing Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare, which saw Foust drive a car through a 66-foot loop-the-loop. He also scored the indoor speed record for TV's Top Gear USA, and set a distance jump record with Hot Wheels when he made a 332' ramp-to-ramp leap in a truck at the Indy 500.
His varied race experience includes multiple years of open wheel competition, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, rally racing, various types of sports car racing and the SCORE Baja. He has represented the USA in the annual Race of Champions three times, teaming with NASCAR star Carl Edwards in 2008, Travis Pastrana in 2009, and Mick Doohan in 2010.
When he isn't racing, the professional driver also performs in films and on television. He is an on-air host for the U.S. version of the seminal BBC auto show Top Gear, produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and airing on the HISTORY channel. Episodes of his online documentary series, Life in the Foust Lane, are available on the Rockstar Energy Drink YouTube channel.
Foust also handles stunt driving in numerous popular films, TV shows and commercials. He is featured as a stunt driver in the upcoming Need 4 Speed film, as well as other major releases including the Bourne Legacy, Bourne Ultimatum, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Dukes of Hazzard, Red Dawn and Iron Man 2 movies.
Rockstar Energy Drink is designed for those who lead active lifestyles - from athletes to rockstars. Available in over 25 flavors at convenience and grocery outlets in more than 30 countries, Rockstar supports the rockstar lifestyle across the globe through action sports, motor sports, and live music. More at www.RockstarEnergy.com
TANNER FOUST'S FORMULA DRIFT PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Rockstar Energy Drink (www.RockstarEnergy.com); Volkswagen of America (www.vw.com); Nitto Tire (www.nittotire.com); Forza Motorsport (Forzamotorsport.net); Xbox (www.xbox.com); NAPA Chassis (www.napachassis.com); ODYSSEY Battery (www.odysseybattery.com); KMC Wheels (www.kmcwheels.com); Alpinestars (www.alpinestars.com); GoPro (www.gopro.com); Siemens (www.siemens.com)