Tanner Foust's Timeline to Success - Championships, Stardom and Racing Fame
How would you like to race for a living? Be sponsored by huge companies like AEM, Scion and Rockstar Energy? Get invited to drive the world's fastest and most exotic cars? Of course the majority of people would jump at the opportunity to do any of the above… but how about if this was your day-to-day life? Well, welcome to the life of Tanner Foust. Tanner is currently the driver of the AEM/Rockstar Energy Scion tC drift car. For the past few years Tanner has been on the race team of Papadakis Racing, which is managed by the drag-racing legend Stephan Papadakis.
Tanner Foust standing in front of his Scion tC after qualifying at FormulaD's Streets of Long Beach event
The newest addition to Papadakis Racing is Tanner Foust's Scion tC that has been converted to rear wheel drive
The side of Tanner Foust's TRD V8-powered Scion tC sporting the Number 1 competitor plate for the 2009 FormulaD season
So the question that comes to most people’s minds is ''How did Tanner Foust get to the place he is now? And how has he gained so much fame in the world of racing?'' Well, Tanner didn't exactly do a burn out of the hospital he was born in. Tanner has had to put in his dues just like anyone else in the world of motorsports. His love for speed and adrenaline began as a teenager but before getting behind the wheel of a racecar, Tanner pursed his education and completed a college degree. After those years of hard work, he decided it was time to have some fun and proceeded to figure out a way to get onto the racetrack.
Tanner's first opportunity came after he worked out a deal with a club racing team. The deal was that Tanner would turn a wrench on Formula Mazdas and Spec Fords and in return he would be blessed with some seat time on the track. Well as time would tell, Tanner was no SAE mechanic but gained a wealth of knowledge during his ordeal and learned quite a bit about the operation of racecars. This knowledge would later become of great value as a professional racer so he could properly give feedback on the setup of his cars. As more time and effort was put into the racecars on track, Tanner earned his professional racing license and competed in a couple races. Naturally, his talent shined through and a scholarship was granted which bought some more time to race. His communication skills and understanding of racecars led him into coaching other drivers and eventually Tanner began instructing car control and an ice driving school in Colorado. With an uncanny ability to control vehicles in the roughest of conditions, Tanner found a niche in rally racing. He later would begin rallying for Rockstar Energy Drink on a full-time basis.
While putting in some hard work at a driving school during cold and icy Colorado winters, Tanner met Samuel Hubinette. Sam attended a D1 Grand Prix drifting event in 2003 and relayed the excitement to Tanner and shortly thereafter Tanner competed in his first drifting event at an invitational at Laguna Seca raceway. Drifting seemed second nature to Foust as he placed third at this event in a Toyota Supra. In just a couple short years, Tanner climbed the ladder and took home the FormulaD Drifting Championship in 2007 and 2008. Drifting is what Tanner says converted his dreams of motorsports racing from a hobby into a profession. Not only did drifting open doors to showcasing his skills in stunt driving but it also gave him experience in front of cameras to become a television personality.
As an industry respected stunt driver, Tanner has worked behind the scenes on several big-screen productions such as the Dukes of Hazard, Bourne Ultimatum, as well as the Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and a handful of TV shows and commercials. While Tanner has been an important aspect in providing daring car control footage, he has also carved a spot for himself as a TV show host as well. In 2008, a Los Angeles-based production company picked Tanner up to host such shows as Redline TV, Import Racers, RM Auctions and Supercars Exposed. 2008 also presented Tanner with a variety of unique opportunities where he he was invited to participate among the most elite racers in the world. These events included the Race of Champions (ROC) in Wembley (Europe). In this event Tanner was alongside racing gods such as Formula1 veterans David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher and five-time World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb. In addition to the Race of Champions, Tanner competed in the Red Bull World Drifting Championship that was held in Long Beach, California with seasoned drifters like Rhys Millen and Diajiro Yoshihara.
Looking forward, the two-time defending FormulaD champion is extremely focused on his new drift car. The rear-wheel-drive Scion tC sponsored by AEM is an absolute riot, it features a V8 powerplant which came from Toyota Racing Development's (TRD) NASCAR racing program. Although these engines are from TRD's program, there are slight differences between the engines that NASCAR uses and the one found in Foust's tC. While constructing the tC, team manager Stephan Papadakis opted to use modern fuel injection. AEM stepped in and outfitted the Scion with a plethora of high-performance components. These parts include AEM's CDI Pencil coils for a direct-fire ignition system, the Engine Position Module (EPM), a massive DRYFLOW air filter to support all the additional naturally-aspirated airflow and of course, an AEM EMS Engine Management System to orchestrate the tuning and functions of the engine. This high-tech combination of parts generates an amazing 650 horsepower and 450 lb/ft of torque which is transferred to the rear wheels by a four-speed gearbox.
On paper the Scion definitely has what it takes to take home another championship. In reality however, dialing in a new car is a feat of its own. Thankfully, Tanner has the racing background and mechanical knowledge to communicate feedback to the team manager Stephan Papadakis and head mechanic Shawn Hillier, which should speed up the process of getting
''comfortable'' with the car and tweaking it to perform the way Tanner would like. We will have to wait and see if there is a three-time FormulaD championship in line for Tanner. One thing we can be sure of is Tanner's staying power in the world of racing. Rest assured that we'll be seeing more of Mr. Foust for years to come and his skill set will keep amazing and entertaining us as he continues to hone his phenomenal driving skills and builds upon the brand he’s created known as Tanner Foust.