Fredric Aasbo third at Drift Shifters
Driver battled for bronze on the streets of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, UK (August 21, 2018) – This weekend’s landmark Drift Shifters event saw driver Fredric Aasbo score third in his Rockstar Energy Drink / Icom Toyota 86-X on the streets of Liverpool in northwest England.
The champion driver was one of 12 to take part in the invitation-only event that combined state-of-the-art technology with the best precision driving in the world. “This format is about being aggressive, but not too aggressive — finding that limit,” said Aasbo. “It was something completely new for me and a fantastic challenge.”
This year’s contest took place on the streets of Liverpool overlooked by the famed Royal Liver building between the Strand and Georges Dock Gates. Fans crowded along the fence lines to get a close view of the action while competitors sought to maximize their scores by sliding close to proximity sensors that lined the walls of a complex obstacle course.
Drivers were rewarded for commitment and bravery as they brushed bumpers along track walls and slid at top speed past course features. Sunday’s competition included challenges like the “Undertaker,” a big rig truck that called for precision moves as drivers slid beneath its belly, and the “Angle Grinder,” a trackside sensor that gauged angle and proximity. A “Yellow Submarine” obstacle paid tribute to the city’s heritage as the birthplace of the Beatles.
“This event is something Mad Mike dreamt up and I’m so glad I was able to compete this year,” said Aasbo. “It was a very, very cool experience and I can’t wait to try it again.”
Drivers were allocated 100 seconds to earn as many points as possible while a pinball-machine style scoreboard on a jumbotron rang up the score. “It felt like a real rags-to-riches story,” said Aasbo. “It was an absolutely insane experience driving down in between these old, very massive, impressive buildings with a track lined with people.”
A challenging start saw Aasbo return to his crew after just 13 seconds of practice for a trackside differential swap to increase rear grip and control. The next time he saw the complex course he was on the clock, and he found himself forced to battle through the Last Chance Qualifier.
With a strong performance under pressure, Aasbo became the first in the contest to top 5 million points for a single run. He slid through the Quarterfinal round in fourth, and ultimately landed third overall after nailing the final slide into the finish box but leaving precious seconds on the clock.
The brainchild of Kiwi drifter “Mad” Mike Whiddett, it is the first time that Drift Shifters has taken place in the Northern Hemisphere. The event debuted in Auckland in 2012.
While Aasbo scored third place, the win went to Gaz Whiter from New Zealand and American Forrest Wang finished second. Additional drivers competing in the event included Whiddett, Irish driver James Deane, Japan’s Masato Kawabata, and Polish competitor Piotr Wiecek.
The event was livestreamed, with a shared stream on the Toyota Great Britain Facebook page. Aasbo was also online on Sunday on Instagram Stories for Toyota GB. Media attention for the event was extensive, including several newspaper features and widespread television coverage.
This coming weekend, Aasbo will make an appearance on track at Road Atlanta for Gridlife South driving the Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback.
ABOUT FREDRIC AASBO: Known for his flat-out style, champion driver Fredric Aasbo has achieved 100-plus podium finishes on three continents over the past decade of competition. He is the most winning driver in Formula Drift history.
Aasbo returns to the Formula Drift series in 2018 for a full season in a brand new Rockstar Energy Drink / Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla Hatchback, while also running a select season of events in Europe in the Rockstar Energy Drink Icom Toyota 86-X, and drifting championship events in Asia.
Aasbo made his U.S. debut at a global drifting invitational in 2008 and turned heads as the winner of the 2010 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year title. Since then, he has charged through the drifting ranks around the world and is both a fan favorite and championship winner.
Originally from Ski, Norway, Aasbo now splits his time between his native country and Southern California. He campaigns a full international season, with competition stops in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia.