Falken Tire says potential constraints are forcing them to allocate their resources elsewhere.
Formula Drift teams sporting the iconic Falken blue and teal livery will have to find major sponsorship support elsewhere for the 2023 Formula Drift season as Falken announced earlier yesterday (Dec. 12, 2022) they’re effectively ending support for their North American motorsports programs, and that means Formula Drift.
Check out their statement below.
In their statement, Falken did not go into any specifics, citing “potential constraints” as the cause. It’s easy to extrapolate what they mean as every major industry around the world’s been negatively impacted by global market forces over the past three years and the tire industry is no exception.
It’s a bittersweet moment for drift fans as Falken’s been on the forefront of the drift scene in Japan and the United States since day 1.
Falken’s been pivotal to the start and growth of American drifting with events like the Falken Drift Showoff starting in 2003.
Falken also foot the bill and took a chance bringing Japanese drifters and their cars, drivers Americans only ever saw on VHS tapes, to drift events, most notably D1 Grand Prix Exhibitions all across the United States.
Among the numerous American drifters Falken sponsored, Falken first took a chance on an up-and-coming East Coast drifter named Vaughn Gitten Jr, sponsoring his Ford Mustang in 2004. Gitten Jr. went on to win a Driver’s Championship for them in 2010.
Falken also was a long-time sponsor for veteran of American drifting, Daijiro Yoshihara, first sponsoring Yoshihara back in 2009. Yoshihara won Falken a Driver’s championship in 2011.Embed from Getty Images
Falken Tire has racked up five championships and as many tire manufacturer cup wins against other tire manufacturer rivals like Nitto, Achilles, Nexen, and GT Radial.
For this latest 2022 season, Team Falken included drivers Matt Field, Aurimas Odi Bakchis, Dylan Hughes and Justin Pawlak.
It goes without saying but without Falken Tire there would be no Formula Drift.
Their presence and familiar colors at Formula Drift rounds will be sorely missed.
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