Dai Yoshihara and Fredric Aasbø – Formula Drift Interviews
A few weeks ago I made a blog post giving Driftworks fans a chance to ask either their favorite Formula Drift drivers questions. We were very limited on time so we only got to a few questions each but here is what transpired.
I met with Dai early on Friday morning, so we’ll start with him.
Dai signing autographs late Friday afternoon
Driftworks: Do you have a specific strategy going into this season? Are you looking for more speed, more angle, or just being flat out aggressive?
Dai: I don’t really have any specific strategy this season. I was really consistent last year, and I think that’s why I won the championship. Outside of strategy, this year I want to be more exciting. I want to have more angle, make more smoke, and to get closer to the wall. This year, I want to try and take more risks but, without making mistakes.
Driftworks: Which engine do you prefer running? We know you run the LS V8 here in Formula Drift, have experience with the 4 cylinder SR20, and have run the 2JZ in Europe. Which fits your driving style the best?
Dai: Right now I’m still learning the V8 so I like to drive the V8. As you know, I drove the 2JZ in the Driftworks S15. The 2JZ is a good engine too.
Dai in the Top 16 parade
Driftworks: With Daigo Saito being a pretty big topic this season, our fans want to know what you think of his new SC430, and if you come up against him, do you have a plan of attack to try and defeat him?
Dai: Daigo will be a big topic this year, and I think he’s a great driver. I’m sure he’s going to be a problem for everyone because he’s a good driver. I think that his car is good because he built it himself with his crew, and it was built the way he wanted it. I’ve seen his driving at media day and he was doing great. I don’t really have a strategy, just try to do my best.
Driftworks: While we’re on the topic of Daigo’s car, rumors are that he’s supposed to have 1200hp to the crank, and 971hp to the wheels. Do you think Formula Drift should enforce a power to weight ratio restriction in future FD events?
Dai: First of all, it’s not a rumor. He told me that it’s 1000hp to the wheel without nitrous and he said he can make 1200hp with the nitrous. I don’t know about the rule though. Yes and no, right now I don’t think people have a big problem. Maybe in the future yes, but right now no.
Friday practice - Dai coming through the sweeper.
Driftworks: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into Formula Drift?
Dai: Well, I get this question a lot. If I don’t know the people (drivers), then all I can really say is just drive hard and practice hard. When I was a non-pro driver, I spent a lot of money on gas and just drove a lot. I didn’t buy anything to make my car look good, I just kept practising.
Driftworks: Last but not least, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans supporting you in the UK and throughout Europe?
Dai: Well, I had a great time while I was visiting last year. I went to the UK and Ireland and had a great time. I’d really like to go back this year. The people were really cool and really love drifting so I’m very excited to be back and hopefully I can see everyone soon.
With Fredric being quite busy in the morning, I met with him late Friday after the fan autograph session.
Fredric at the fan autograph session.
Driftworks: We know you have experience with the 4 cylinder in the Scion here at Formula Drift, and also the 2JZ Supra in Europe. Do you prefer one over the other? Which fits your driving style the best?
Fredric: I’m more used to the 2J since that’s what I’ve grown with while driving, but the 2AR that we’re running now is much more of a race motor. It revs further, I have a broader power-band, it’s lighter, and revs faster so I prefer that. With that said, I like the coolness and how much you can do with a pretty much stock 2J. I think that it’s an incredible motor for what it is.
Driftworks: If Formula D were to add an 8th round, where would you like that to be?
Fredric: I would love that to happen back in Norway. I would like to also see more down-town locations. I want to see freakin’ Manhattan, or maybe a super fast banked oval. Maybe Bristol or even Seattle, something reminiscent to that.
Fredric in the Top 16 parade
Driftworks: In respect to Daigo Saito’s new SC, do you think Formula D should consider setting a power to weight ratio restriction for future events?
Fredric: No, not at this point. And I don’t think your ultimate drift performance is dictated by power to weight. I think it’s more weight to grip, and FD already has rules in place to take care of that with the new tire rule. I don’t think at this point it’s necessary but maybe Daigo showing up here could prove that it’s something to be looked at in the future, we’ll see.
Driftworks: Have you had a chance to familiarize yourself with any of the rookies, does anyone stand out, and are there any of them in particular that you’d like to compete against?
Fredric: Sure, I’d like to take on every single one of them. We’re all here to learn, and some of the rookies here in FD, aren’t really rookies. Like Chelsea DeNofa who I’m going up against tomorrow, he’s an XDC Champ. Or guys like Jeremy Lowe, J-Lo as we call him, are really good and some of those guys are really fast. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of those guys at different events last year and this year. They’re all super cool and in it for the sport.
Fredric laying down a little bit of rubber during Friday's practice session.
Driftworks: Despite all the international attention, how do you continue to be humble? What helps keep your feet on the ground?
Fredric: I don’t think people really change. I think they normally remain the same. I just always try and remember that I’m lucky to be here and it’s not entirely my effort. It’s people that have helped me. The further you go, the more people you owe back. It’s basically the people I’ve met, the further they go, the nicer they generally are and I think that speaks volumes. This stuff wouldn’t be fun if you didn’t do it with someone. It’s all a team effort, you have to be appreciative of everything, and we wouldn’t be here without the fans. I’m super excited, I feel very privileged to do this, and I really try to show that.
Driftworks: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans supporting to in the UK and throughout Europe?
Fredric: We have a saying where I come from which is “Hold Stumt”, it means Never Lift. I try and live that to the fullest. I have a lot to learn but I’m trying to chase it down and I just want everyone else to just chase it and maybe we’ll see you over here someday.
Aasbø leading Yoshihara into the first clipping point while Bil "Santa" Baldwin looks on.
Aasbo would eventually come up against Yoshihara in the Great 8 after defeating rookie Chelsea DeNofa. Yoshihara would take the win and continue all the way to the finals.
I’d just like to take a quick second to say thank you to Dai and Fredric for taking a few minutes out of their busy FD schedules to meet with me. Both drivers were extremely well spoken, very kind, and had a great attitude about not just drifting, but life in general. Hopefully I’ll be able to travel to Atlanta in May and catch up with them again.