Rhys Millen Racing Demonstrates American Horsepower With Pontiac GTO at D1 Grand Prix Drift Competition in Irwindale, California Debut Event For Team RMR/Pontiac Yields Highest Results for an American Driver and Team Huntington Beach, Calif.
Rhys Millen Racing Demonstrates American Horsepower With Pontiac GTO at
D1 Grand Prix Drift Competition in Irwindale, California
Debut Event For Team RMR/Pontiac Yields Highest Results for an American Driver and Team
Huntington Beach, Calif. (February 28, 2004) -- American drifting driver Rhys Millen and Team RMR/Pontiac slid their highly modified Pontiac GTO coupe to the quarter finals at the D1 Grand Prix Drift Championship held today at the Irwindale Speedway in California. This was the debut event for the RMR/Pontiac GTO drift car with the quarter final finish being the highest level achieved by an American driver, team and car in this predominantly Japanese motorsports series. Over 10,000 drift fans flocked to the Irwindale Speedway to spectate the only US D1 Grand Prix event in 2004, exceeding the attendance of even NASCAR events at the same venue.
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. In addition to the single D1 Grand Prix event today at Irwindale, 2004 marks the first year this Japanese-based motorsports series will have a full season on American soil through the SCCA Formula D series. 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.
"We are extremely pleased with our results at the inaugural event for Team RMR/Pontiac with the new GTO drift car. The powerful V8 performed flawlessly and kept us competitive consistently throughout the day," said Rhys Millen, driver and team principal of Team RMR/Pontiac. "We thank all our friends and fans, both American and Japanese, who have supported our efforts to compete and popularize the sport of Drifting in the United States."
The day began for Team RMR/Pontiac with final preparations to the Yokohama/DAZZ tire/wheel combination and the Intrax suspension setup to fine tune the competitiveness of the new GTO. Over 30 days of non-stop preparations to the car came to fruition as the big V8 roared to life for the first time in front of the American fans at Irwindale. The unmistakable exhaust note of the big engine through is unique side ports provided an unfamiliar rumble in the field of high pitched four and six cylinder engines. Competitors and spectators alike took notice of this new entry from RMR.
Millen expertly slid the larger and heavier GTO against smaller, more familiar drift machines including Nissan Silvias, Toyota Corolla AE86s, Nissan Skylines and Mazda RX-7s. Despite the added size and weight, the GTO stayed competitive through RMR's intense weight reduction preparations and the immense torque from the V8. Combined with Millen's extensive rally racing and stunt driving skills, the GTO continued on through the day completing round one and into the quarterfinals. In the end, the Yokohama AVS tires were all smoking, the fans were covered in black tire compound particles and Team RMR/Pontiac came out as the top American team at the D1 Grand Prix event.
Today's D1 event began 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 Challenge Series.
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.