Over the course of the 2017 season, AEM’s sponsored drivers took home seven trophies, including two event wins, and had a combined tandem record of 55-37. Overall, the drivers debuted three new cars over the course of the season, with much fanfare. AEM drivers played a part in the OEM championship (Toyota Racing), the Tire Manufacturer Championship (Falken Tire), and two drivers finished in the Top 5 of the final Formula Drift championship standings.
Fredric Aasbo claimed his 10th career victory at Montreal, most all-time in FD History
Leading the way, Fredric Aasbo kicked off the season by debuting his new Toyota Corolla iM chassis and pushed the car to an event win in just its’ second competitive event in Orlando. Aasbo would win again in Canada, and in doing so, would become the first driver to earn ten event wins over his Formula Drift career. Overall, Aasbo finished in second place for the third time in four seasons, with his championship in 2015 being the sole time he didn’t finish in second place. Aasbo also joined Ken Gushi and Ryan Tuerck in contributing towards the OEM Championship for Toyota, their first manufacturer championship in Formula Drift. Aasbo also contributed to manufacturer wins with Toyota’s sister company Scion in 2014, 2015, and 2016 prior to the Scion brand being sunsetted.
Fredric Aasbo debuted his Toyota Corolla iM this year and contributed to Toyota's OEM Championship
Kristaps Bluss had a breakout year in Formula Drift this season, earning three podium finishes and a career-best finish of fifth in the final championship table. Bluss’ E46 BMW chassis was frequently one of the fastest cars on the grid, and after an unfortunate issue on the dyno prior to Irwindale put the E46 on the sideline for the weekend, Bluss debuted his E92 “Eurofighter” car ahead of the planned 2018 unveiling. Bluss made the Top 16 at every round this season, one of only three drivers to accomplish that through the eight-event season. In just his third season of competition in the US, Bluss has become one of the most feared competitors with his HGK Motorsports drift team.
Kristaps Bluss debuted his E92 "Eurofighter" chassis at the Formula D season finale at Irwindale
Coming off the 2016 championship, Chris Forsberg made the decision to switch from the V8 powerplant that he has run for the past eleven seasons to the original V6 powerplant that came in the Nissan 370z chassis he pilots in the series. Some testing issues pushed the debut of the car back to New Jersey, and the change took a few events to get back to their winning ways. Forsberg would pilot the twin-turbocharged Nissan VQ37 engine to a second place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, his first trophy in a turbocharged car since he won the Formula Drift Irwindale event back in 2005 in an SR20-powered Nissan S15. Overall, development of the new car pushed the team further down the final championship table than they would have liked, but they feel confident going into 2018. The second place finish was Forsberg’s 34th career podium, a high water mark in Formula Drift history. Forsberg continues to be one of only three drivers to have competed at every Formula Drift event to date, a total of 96 through the end of the 2017 season.
Chris Forsberg's twin-turbocharged 370z earned second place at Formula Drift Texas
With back-to-back wins and a fifth place overall finish to end the 2016 season, Matt Field felt like 2017 was his year to challenge for a championship. Unfortunately, Field couldn’t add to his trophy collection over the course of the 2017 season and finished in 17th overall in the championship. His Top 8 finish in Montreal would contribute 52 points towards the Tire Championship for Falken Tire, a championship title which Falken won for the second consecutive season. Field has already announced that he will be retiring the Nissan S14 chassis that he has piloted since 2012, instead moving to a 2013 C6 Chevy Corvette for the 2018 season.
Matt Field contributed to the Tire Manufacturer Championship for his Falken Tire sponsor in Montreal
Dan Burkett faced a tough rookie effort in the premiere Pro class of Formula Drift, having graduated from the Pro 2 class that he ran in 2016 with the same Toyota Supra chassis. Burkett earned his first tandem victory in the Pro class at Seattle, knocking out Kyle Mohan in the Round of 32 before losing to eventual event winner and season champ James Deane in the Top 16. Burkett used 2017 as a learning and development year and plans to return in 2018 with a better understanding of what it takes to be successful in the top class of Formula Drift.
Dan Burkett faced a tough Rookie season adapting from Formula D Pro 2 to the Pro class
AEM thanks all of their drivers for their hard work over the course of the 2017 season, and is thankful for all the success they have seen while utilizing AEM products. We look forward to continuing to work with our drivers in 2018 and beyond!