Ford to Sponsor Formula Drift

Last week the Ford Motor Company announced that it would sponsor the United States’ premier drifting series Formula Drift, or Formula D as it is commonly referred to. According to a press release issued on October 12th, though Ford feels they have already been involved with the Formula Series for some time as their Mustang is a frequent competitor, in an effort to make it more official, they’ve agreed to partner with Formula Drift at least through the 2013 season. Originally a sport dominated by import compacts, American performance cars like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger have recently become more prevalent in professional drifting.

Listed among other reasons for the sponsorship, Ford cited the fact that almost 90% of drifting fans fall within the age bracket of 18-34 years-old, which is exactly the demographic they have found to be most attracted to their F-150 SVT Raptor, Mustang, Focus, and Fiesta vehicles. The automaker further stated that their sponsorship of Formula Drift is an example of one of the non-traditional advertising approaches they are testing out, and elaborated by pointing to other experimental efforts like initiating conversations with potential new customers on social networking sites and cross-platform marketing.

About Formula Drift
Formula Drift was founded in 2003, but 2004 was their first official season. Therefore, this past 2012 season was their 9th year of competition. Approximately 60 drivers regularly compete in the series, which is comprised of 7 events held in locations across the country. Drivers are judged not on time, but rather on execution and style. An official winner is announced for each of the 7 events, and a series winner is crowned based on the total points they accumulated throughout the season. The series is not limited to American drivers and teams, as participants hailing from Japan and Ireland frequently compete. However, Formula Drift has a sister series that takes place in Asia, and they also have another series in Australia.

The Mustang’s Formula Drift History
Ford began competing in professional drifting with Formula D in 2005. Since then, their Mustang has won 10 Formula Drift events and one championship in 2010. Frequently competing for Ford are drivers Ken Gushi, Justin Pawlak, and Vaughn Gitten Jr. Though two Mustangs, driven by Gitten Jr. and Pawlak, were in contention going into the last race of 2012—rookie Daigo Saito and his Lexus SC430 out performed them and ultimately won the title.

This post was contributed by Brittany Larson (@brittlarson10) of Sullivan Motor Company.

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