Formula Drift Asia’s inaugural event here in Melbourne is just days away… Days!!!
This weekend Calderpark Raceway will be alive with the sound of screeching tyres and limiter bashing and Sunday will see some of the biggest names from all over the world going head to head along the walls of the Thunder Dome!
We caught up with Daigo Saito for a few questions in the lead up to the event and this week we are talking with Fredric Aasbo aka “The Hammer” from Norway!!
Fredric is bringing the freshly built RS-R GT86 from Japan, sporting an insane TRD Nascar V8 and this will be the cars first ever competition right here in Melbourne!!!
GSS: Hi Fredric, firstly we would love to start by asking you some questions about your success in not only Europe but around the world but we’re dying to know more about the car you’ll be driving in Australia! Tell us about how this crazy build came to be and how you ended up being handed the keys so to speak?
Fredric: Well, thank you! This has actually been in the works for a long time. I met the RS-R executives in Abu Dhabi in 2011. We won the Formula Drift Invitational over there in our very basic Japan Auto Toyota Supra, and they complemented our performance out there. Since then, we've been talking and trying to work something out together.
GSS: A NASCAR V8 motor is one of the crazier engine conversions we have heard of, have you had much time behind the wheel? what are your thoughts on its performance for drifting?
Fredric: I got to test the car at Suzuka Twin Circuit in Japan in February and it's such a different animal to what I'm used to. The response and throttle linearity is second to none, and RS-R really did their homework by putting in a milder cam which makes it better suited for drifting. Some of RS-R's changes over a typical NASCAR Nationwide motor setup has actually trickled down from my american team Papadakis Racing's V8 program in Formula Drift back in '09 and '10, so this is really a family get together sort of project.
GSS: We understand you’ll be sharing the car with Max Orido for this season of FD Asia, are you worried about returning the car with any scratches after its debut here on the slopes of the Calderpark Thunder Dome or will we get to see you driving as hard as you can in some amazing battles?
Fredric: Well, scratching is one thing but finishing the event is another - scratches are fine as long as they help you move forward and don't take you out. As of right now I know very little about the course and how it's set up, and RS-R has also carried out several changes since I drove the car in February. I am not worried about going hard, but I need to be able to work into it and I can't wait to give it my all trying to tame this animal!
GSS: You have gone from stride to stride, driving alongside some of the world’s best and picked up some incredible sponsors along the way. Can you tell us about the first time you realised you made the ‘big’ league?
Fredric: It's hard to pick one single event, because it's been such a step by step progress. Taking out past champions in our first Formula Drift rookie events was huge for us, and earning the Rookie of the Year title after competing at only 5 out of 7 events was also an incredible dream come true. But, it's the small things that matter the most, and the times where struggle hard and then are able to somehow pull out of it make for the best memories.
GSS: Being only 27 years old you still have many years ahead of you and your career, what’s next? Any big plans ahead?
Fredric: The big goal is obviously to win championships, and I have a lot left to learn. But along the way, I do my best to work closely with partners and sponsors and generate new opportunities for all of us. It's been extremely cool to see how different cultures work and what's really going on behind the scenes...
GSS: So when you’re not behind the wheel at one of the many drift comps of the year, where would we find you? How do you unwind?
Fredric: I hit the lakes with my buddies, or fire up the BBQ. I spend my offseason in Norway and it's very important for me to spend some quality time with my old buddies, and winter time, we usually go up in the mountain passes or on the frozen lakes and drift, board, ski and whatever else is fun. I feel like I get to see a lot of contrasts and that makes me feel very lucky.
GSS: With some inspiration from the “no expense spared” RS-R GT86 what would your ultimate drift or street car build be? what’s your idea of the ‘perfect’ car?
Fredric: Hm, that's tricky. I think the perfect road car for a guy like me would be a new, fifth gen Supra...
GSS: Have you been given any hot tips on any of the local or NZ based drivers competing here in Melbourne? Who’ll be on your radar?
Fredric: I've been following the D1NZ and Drift Australia series back in the days, and I know a lot of the ADGP are extremely competitive and fantastic tandem drivers. My Speedhunters team mate Mad Mike is coming over, which will be a great warm-up for our Speedhunters European Drift Tour. I am sincerely looking forward to coming to Australia for the first time, meeting everyone and mixing up on the track! See ya down under!!
Thanks for your time Fredric and we look forward to no only seeing you but hearing your car this weekend!
To purchase tickets for the event simply follow this link http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/Australian-Drifting-Grand-Prix-tickets/
For more details on the event head to the Australian Drifting GP site – http://trackbattle.com.au/adgp/
For more info on the drivers check out the Formula Drift Asia site – http://www.formuladriftasia.com/
This is the schedule for Sundays action, seriously if you’re only remotely interested in drifting this is the event to see!!
Thanks for reading,
Photos courtesy of Cheryl Tay and FD Asia