Falken Motorsports’ Nürburgring-based GT programme and drifting action resulted in another memorable season for the brand in 2022. The endurance racing team claimed two memorable victories, while Cork-based Falken drifter James Deane augmented pan-European competition with a return to the mainstream automotive media, with a Top Gear Magazine video feature.
Seven-time French Elite Drift FFSA champion, Benjamin Boulbes has commenced the 2022 season on new rubber with GT Radial Champiro SX-R tyres on the rear axle. Available exclusively for Boulbes in Europe, the ultra-high performance, semi-slick sport tyre features a professional racing grade canopy, a special tread formula and unique casing structure for maximum performance and integrity at high temperatures and extreme forces.
Visitors to The Tire Cologne had the opportunity to see to Giti Tire’s growing product portfolio. Highlights included Giti Radial’s latest UHP tyre, the SportActive 2, as well as extensions to the GT Radial FE2 performance range. The Giti brand was well represented, too, with the Giti4x4 AT71 heralding a return to the all-terrain segment in the UK.
TMD Friction, through its Mintex braking brand, has expanded its exciting partnership with drifting star Pete ‘Peden’ Nielsen. The expanded sponsorship will see Mintex branding displayed prominently across the liveries of Crewsade drivers Pete Nielsen and Al Harris’ Nissan 180SX and S14 drift racing cars at a thrilling series of events this summer, kicking off with the Modified Nationals display in Peterborough in May.
On 20 November the D1GP 2021 season finale started in Ebisu, Japan. Racing driver Naoto Suenaga, part of Linglong Tire’s Drift Team Orange won the Tsuiso event while another Linglong driver, Mekuwa Kojiro, was the runner-up.
GT Radial sponsored racing partner, Benjamin Boulbes has won his fourth consecutive French Elite Drift FFSA Championship. The Covid-19 shortened season comprised five rounds, in which Boulbes amassed 1,045 points, three podium finishes, and four pole positions. His 2020 triumph marks an unprecedented seventh championship for the driver, having won in 2010, 2013, 2014, and the last four years. Boulbes competes in a tuned BMW M3 E93M, which produces around 1,200CV/BHP through its Chevrolet LSX376 engine, running on the GT Radial Champiro SX2 tyre.
The Nürburgring 24 Hours is one of the last open tyre competitions in recent years. For Falken, it represents an opportunity to compete on track against top global premium brands, like Michelin, Goodyear and Yokohama. In the last decade Falken road tyre technology it has narrowed the performance gap, evidenced by improved results in third party tyre tests.
Sailun Tire has entered into a partnership agreement with China’s Apex Motorsport. The deal, signed on 21 August by Apex Motorsport’s Jin Yi and Chen Zheng, deputy director of Sailun Motorsport, gives Apex global sales rights for Sailun Sports Tires including the full range of Sailun Gene R tyres. Sailun believes this agreement marks its “successful shift from the prosumer market to the consumer market following three years of racing events that put Sailun Tire products to various stringent tests.”
Giti Tire’s “busiest year-to-date in European motorsport” was capped by two victories by Giti and GT Radial sponsored partners. The all-female racing team, ‘Girls Only – Ready to Rock the Green Hell’, recorded their first ever class win in the ninth and last race of the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft in their VW Golf VII GTI TCR. Meanwhile Benjamin Boulbes became a six-time French Drift Championship winner on GT Radial tyres.
On 11 January, Sailun Tire and production car drifting series D1 Grand Prix (D1GP) signed their official partnership for the 2020 season, solidifying Sailun as an official strategic partner and tyre supplier for what many consider to be the world’s top international drifting event.
From endurance racing and drifting to desert rallies, Falken Tyres has seen success in varied motorsport disciplines this season. The brand celebrated top-ten finishes in its 20th year at the Nürburgring 24-hour race and on the Peking to Paris Rally, while the season’s crowning glory has been drift driver James Deane’s double title win.
Falken drift driver James Deane claimed his third Formula Drift Pro title at Irwindale Speedway, California, on 19 October 2019. The 28-year-old Irishman joined the series in 2017 and has won every year since, making him the first person in Formula Drift history to win three consecutive titles.