Rockstar Energy Drink Scion Drift Team Places 2nd in 2010

Tanner Foust leading Vaughn Gittin Jr. and throwing up big smoke in Irwindale, CA.
Tanner Foust leading Vaughn Gittin Jr. and throwing up big smoke in Irwindale, CA.
2010 was another awesome season for the Rockstar Energy Scion drift team sponsored by AEM Induction Systems. Their V8 powered drifting machine propelled driver Tanner Foust, team owner Stephan Papadakis, and the rest of the team to an impressive 2nd place finish at the end of the season and their third top three finish in four years.
Tanner Foust and the Rockstar Energy Scion team checking the car before a run.
Tanner Foust and the Rockstar Energy Scion team checking the car before a run.
The competition has only gotten more intense as the years have passed, and Stephan, Tanner, and their team continue to throw their cars sideways at the head of the pack. AEM recently had an opportunity to sit down with team owner Stephan Papadakis and ask him about the team's 2010 season and what changes they're looking to make for the 2011 season to help their team stay competitive.

What were some of the major challenges your team faced for the 2010 season?
The major challenge we faced in 2010 was the increased competition from all the teams. Everyone really stepped it up with their vehicle prep, speed and performance around the tracks, so we had to fight to stay ahead.
Darren McNamara feeling the pressure from Tanner Foust through the corners in Irwindale, CA.
Darren McNamara feeling the pressure from Tanner Foust through the corners in Irwindale, CA.
Tanner did a great job driving and our team was awesome in making sure the Scion held up on the track.

How do you feel about your team's performance over the 2010 season?
Excellent. With two wins and several podiums, any other year we would've won the championship.
Tanner Foust, Vaughn Gittin Jr, and Michihiro Takatori celebrating atop the podium in Irwindale, CA.
Tanner Foust, Vaughn Gittin Jr, and Michihiro Takatori celebrating atop the podium in Irwindale, CA.
JR just had a better season, obviously a better season than we had. The competition has just stepped up so much. However with winning the last event in Irwindale we have a lot of momentum going into the 2011 season.

What was the highlight of the season for you?
The highlight of the season was definitely winning the last event in Irwindale, beating the season champion, and moving all the way up to 2nd in points.

What was the lowpoint of the season?
The lowest point of the season was probably Atlanta, knowing that we had the car and Tanner could've won the event, but losing in the top 16 and just going out early.
The Rockstar Energy Scion team celebrating their 1st place victory at Title Fight in Irwindale, CA.
The Rockstar Energy Scion team celebrating their 1st place victory at Title Fight in Irwindale, CA.


What are some of the most important lessons you've learned from the 2010 season?
One of the biggest lessons we learned was when to drive aggressively in the rounds and when to drive more conservatively. I spot for Tanner so we discuss when to push it and when to back off. You have to be careful not to get into the rear end of the other guy when you're following. That happened in Atlanta and again in Vegas where Tanner was going 100% and we ended up losing because the guy he was following wasn't charging as hard and Tanner hit their bumper. We've taken that as a big lesson from 2010.

Are there any changes you're planning to make for the 2011 season that you can share?
We're changing the entire vehicle. The 2009 Scion we have is going to be retired. It's going to be a demo vehicle, and we're building one of the brand new 2011 Scion TC's.

While being an awesome season with a strong 2nd place finish, 2010 was also a great learning experience for the Rockstar Energy Scion team and they listened. They're learning from their successes and mistakes and making some exciting changes for the 2011 season. Will an all-new platform be the trick to get Stephan, Tanner, and the team back on top of the podium? What will the competition be like in 2011 knowing the level of intensity in 2010? Drift fans won't want to miss the 2011 season as it promises to be even more exciting than 2010!

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