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Huntington Beach, Calif. (February 2, 2004) -- Veteran rally driver Rhys Millen and the Pontiac Division of General Motors have entered into a motorsports partnership to compete in the 2004 Formula D Drift Series, sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Competitive drifting is an all-new form of motorsports where drivers skillfully negotiate a complex road course, “Drifting” vehicles through turns in a controlled slide. 2004 marks the first year this Japanese-based motorsports series will have a full season on American soil. Millen is also the first American driver, and the Pontiac GTO is the first American brand automobile to compete in this new form of extreme motorsport.

Millen began his sideways sliding motorsports career at Pikes Peak in the annual Hill Climb event in 1992. Since then, he has won the High Performance Showroom Stock Class a total of six times, and set the record for the fastest time in his class. In addition, he drove a factory sponsored Lancer Evolution for Mitsubishi Rally Team USA during the 2000 and 2001 SCCA ProRally season. Extending his drifting skills beyond gravel, Millen also slides cars on tarmac for film and commercial productions as a precision stunt driver, making him one of the few skilled and experienced American drifters to take on the Formula D Championship.

“The popularity of Drifting has escalated in the U.S., due in part to the increased interest in JDM, or Japanese Domestic Market automotive products and activities.” said Rhys Millen, driver and team principal of Rhys Millen Racing (RMR). “We are excited to inject some American heritage into this import dominated series through our partnership with Pontiac and the all-new GTO.”

The art of automotive Drifting is judged based on execution and style, rather than speed or time, similar to Freestyle Motocross. Cars must be power slided, or Drifted, through a series of turns utilizing intricate techniques in steering, braking and throttle control. The more outlandish or extreme the execution, the higher the points that will be awarded by the panel of judges. Drifting events are held at road courses and other facilities with large tarmac areas in front of thousands of spectators. Open service pits allow fans to get up close and personal with the cars and the drivers, and allow sponsors and teams to demonstrate their products and services to a targeted, young, automotive enthusiast audience.

Competitive drifting has its roots in Japan where it has evolved into a multi-event series called D1 Grand Prix. The American Formula D series is based on the Japanese series, and even hosts one round of the D1 championship at the Irwindale Speedway outside of Los Angeles, California. Over 10,000 drifting fans gathered at the D1 event in 2003, making it the highest attended event ever in the history of the Irwindale Speedway, including NASCAR races. The February 28, 2004 D1 event begins the American drifting schedule, with the Formula D Championship beginning at the series opener in Atlanta, Georgia on April 24, 2004. Formula D will have four championship events in 2004, along with 10 exhibition events in conjunction with other major motorsports programs, including the American LeMans Series and the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Series.

While being a legendary and distinctly “American” brand, Pontiac enters into the import dominated drifting world with the new 2004 GTO V8 performance coupe. Building upon the power and performance image of the original 1960’s era GTO’s, the all new coupe is a thoughly modern interpretation of the classic, with its powerful 5.7 liter, 350 horsepower V8 powerplant and rear wheel drive. While the general public recognizes the GTO as a purely “American” car, its roots lie in GM’s Australian subsidiary, Holden. Marketed as the Monaro in the Australian domestic market, the Australian-built GTO has been heavily modified for increased power and performance to live up to its legendary American name. RMR will further modify the GTO’s already impressive specifications to be the ultimate Drifting machine.

“While not a Japanese car like the others in the series, the GTO delivers all the right performance features to be an aggressive and competitive entry into Formula D,” added Millen. “We will allow the GTO and its performance credentials to speak for themselves on the track.”

RMR of Huntington Beach, California, has a comprehensive history of competing and winning in various forms of motorsports. Beginning with the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1992, Millen has taken victory in his class a total of six times. RMR also managed and operated Mitsubishi Motor’s SCCA ProRally entries during the 2000 and 2001 season, achieving the Group 2 and 2WD championship in 2001. All the experiences gained from competition are skillfully applied towards performance parts available through RMR’s retail divisions, RMR Products and R. Millen Motorsports. The full line of race proven products for Mitsubishi, Toyota and Lexus can be found at the company’s web site at www.rmrproducts.com.

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Anyone know which wheels those are? I want those! The look larger than 17's...
 

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Now that's the only style of wing I've seen that would look better than the stock one, to me.
 
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