Tanner Foust Returns to Drifting on Team Nitto Alongside New Zealand Sensation "Mad Mike" Whiddett

Nitto(r) Tire Bolsters its 2015 Formula DRIFT roster with the return of a past champion and international talent

Cypress, Calif., April 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fast Facts:

  • Nitto drivers include Vaughn Gittin Jr., Tanner Foust, Mike "Mad Mike" Whiddett and Odi Bakchis
  • 2015 marks a decade of Nitto competing in Formula DRIFT Competition
  • All drivers will compete on Nitto NT05 performance tires for their predictability at any speed
  • Formula Drift Round One takes place on the Streets of Long Beach, April 11-12 

Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., a leading manufacturer of off-road and street performance tires, announced today that it is uniting two past series champions with an international all-star and one of the drift scene's most charismatic up-and-comers on its roster for the 2015 Formula Drift season.  In addition to returning drivers Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Odi Bakchis, Nitto is proud to be a part of two-time Formula DRIFT champion Tanner Foust's return to drifting as well as New Zealander "Mad Mike" Whiddett's return to the U.S.  Not only will Nitto will be providing the drivers with NT05 tires throughout the season, but they will also be giving them on-site technical support to make sure their cars are always performing at their best.

"2015 marks the tenth year that Nitto Tire has been a sponsor of Formula DRIFT and we are beyond excited to be working with such a talented team of drivers," said Harry Kong, Nitto Tire U.S.A.'s Brand Publishing Strategist. "Tanner Foust was one of the first real drifting stars to come out of the U.S. and everyone is thrilled to see him return to his roots.  Similarly, 'Mad Mike' has garnered international attention behind the wheel of his rotary-powered monsters and everyone is eager to see how he will stack up against the overwhelmingly V8-powerd competition in America."

Two-time Formula DRIFT champion and Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust will be making his return to the world of drifting after a six year hiatus.  Though he is only running a partial season this year, Tanner's goal is to be as competitive as possible for the three events he is attending.  He will be piloting his brand new V8-powered Volkswagen Passat drift car at the Formula DRIFT season opener in Long Beach, California, at the Road to the Championship in Braselton, Georgia, and at the Final Fight in Irwindale, California.

"I'm excited to be returning to Formula Drift this season with Nitto Tire on the brand new Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Passat," said Tanner Foust. "My roots are in drifting and I'm happy to be back. There's something special about Formula Drift fans - they're real car enthusiasts and I'm looking forward to the chance to reconnect."

Also new to the Nitto team for 2015 is New Zealand drifting phenom "Mad Mike" Whiddett who has been burning up the tarmac on the international drift circuits for nearly a decade.  Best known for his love of rotary engines and high speed, hard-charging style, "Mad Mike" will be joining the Formula DRIFT circuit at the series' second event in May taking place at the famed Road Atlanta racetrack in Braselton, Georgia.  Mike will be driving the brand new "RADBUL" MX-5, a 1,200hp four-rotor Mazda MX-5 which is sure to be a crowd favorite, just like his other two cars "BADBUL" and "MADBUL."

Vaughn Gittin Jr. is returning this season in his Monster Energy/Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR after taking home a hard-fought third place finish in the 2014 Formula DRIFT chase and a win at the King of Europe drift competition in Valencia, Spain. Autosport Dynamics (ASD) will continue to back Gittin's Ford Mustangs with on-site support at each of the seven rounds. Vaughn will be starting the season driving his proven 2014 Mustang while he finishes dialing in his new 2015 RTR Mustang to debut later in the season.  

Fan favorite Odi Bakchis will also be returning to the Nitto team for the 2015 season.  Behind the wheel of his ARK Performance/Feal Suspension Hyundai Genesis and Nissan S14 Odi has shown that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with out on the track, having placed fourth in the 2013 Formula DRIFT season, less than 30 points behind teammate Vaughn Gittin, Jr.  Fans should expect big things from the California-based driver in 2015 now that he has had a full season to get a handle on his S14's new suspension setup from his company Feal Suspension, as well as the Wise-Fab steering angle kit that allows nearly 90 degrees of steering angle.

The 2015 Formula DRIFT season will begin with Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 11-12. For more information about Formula DRIFT, visit www.formulad.com, learn more about Nitto-sponsored drivers at www.nittoracing.com and complete details on Nitto tires can be found at www.nittotire.com. Join Nitto Tire on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NittoTire  and on Twitter at @NittoTire.

About Nitto Tire

Nitto Tire (www.nittotire.com) 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 is a registered trademark of Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., located at 5665 Plaza Drive, Ste. 250, Cypress, CA 90630.


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