LAS VEGAS (Nov. 3, 2005) — Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. (BFNT) said its Bridgestone brand will be a sponsor of the 2006 Need for Speed Formula Drift (Formula D) Championship Series, and the company plans to offer a contingency program to Formula D drivers, as well.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker made the announcement at the Specialty Equipment Market Association's 2005 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
“Formula D is the preeminent drift series in the United States, and they have achieved this status through tremendous dedication and hard work,” said Phil Pacsi, executive director, North American Consumer Tire Brand Marketing, for BFNT.
Bridgestone brand tires, he said, “have been highly acclaimed in drifting events in Japan, where the Bridgestone Corp. is a leading tire company in D1 Grand Prix drifting. We want to build on that excitement here by sponsoring Formula D and by offering what is the most lucrative contingency program available to its drivers.”
The company said it intends to exhibit at 2006 Formula D events its Bridgestone tire technology—including the new Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R high-performance street and track tire, which BFS just introduced at the SEMA Show.
BFS claims the new tire “delivers the advanced grip and handling performance essential in professional drift competition.”
The RE-01R will be available next April in 13 sizes, from 16 to 19 inches, in 30- to 55-series aspect ratios.
As part of the sponsorship, Formula D will display banners with the Bridgestone brand at each competition and Bridgestone branded images will be shown on the racetrack's JumboTron screen. Formula D also will issue announcements relating to the Bridgestone brand sponsorship via the public address system, and the brand will further be recognized in Formula D announcements, promotional materials and on the Formula D Web site, www.formulad.com, as an official championship series sponsor.
“This will be a good relationship for Formula D and BFNT going forward,” said Jim Liaw, managing director, Formula Drift Inc. “The best result is the increased excitement we're delivering to our dedicated drifting fans.”
Entering its third season, the Need for Speed Formula Drift Championship Series is the first and only officially sanctioned—by SCCA Pro Racing—and recognized North American professional drifting championship series.