Drift UAE getting set for sideways action this winter
Al-Futtaim Motors announces Toyota Emirates Drifting Team with Ahmed Al Ameri
By Shahzad Sheikh
Motoring Middle East attended an exciting press conference held by Drift UAE on Thursday night where we heard about plans for the next season’s Drift series, plans for the Drift Academy and even the formal announcement of Al-Futtaim Motors-backed Toyota Emirates Drifting Team which will see the freshly crowned UAE Drift King, Ahmed Al Ameri, campaigning a Toyota 86. Plus we even picked up an award ourselves!
“Drifting is the fastest growing motor sports in the world and it’s all about fun, action, noise, smoke and show!” said Mohammad Alfalasi, CEO of Drift UAE as he looked back at the eight rounds his Professional Drifting Series staged last season at locations such as Yas Marina Circuit, Dubai Autodrome and even Dubai Festival City with 55 registered participants from across the region.
UAE Drift Series 2012-2013
Alfalasi confirmed the UAE Drift series for 2012-2013 which would kick off again this winter with three classes: Street (for amateurs), Tanso (professional single car) and Tsuiso (professional two-car tandem).
UAE Drift series 2012-2013 dates are:
- 15-16 November 2012 – Yas Marina Circuit
- 13-14 December 2012 – Dubai Autodrome
- 17-18 January 2013 – Emirates Motorplex in UAQ
- 14-15 February 2013 – Dubai Autodrome
- 14-15 March 2013 – Al Ain Raceway
- 18-19 April 2013 – Dubai Autodrome
- 9-10 May 2013 – Yas Marina Circuit
Drift Academy from October
Alfalasi also announced the creation of his new Drift Academy which would offer racers and enthusiasts alike to have-a-go and be trained in the art of drifting. This will be launched in October this year as a mobile unit visiting locations usually central to town. Stay tuned for more info on this, as MME will be bringing you the latest information about this academy, will be having a go ourselves and will be offering chances for YOU to WIN Drift Academy experiences!
Drift UAE Awards
Talking of winning, Drift UAE also announced its end of year (2011-2012) awards during the evening and crowned UAE drift star, Ahmed Al Ameri the new ‘Drift King’ winning first place in this previous season’s competition in his Lexus SC300 – he’ll be driving an officially-sponsored Toyota 86 (see below for more info).
Second place went to Saudi driver, Abdulhadi Alaqahtani from the Ford Aljazirah Racing Team who competed in a Ford Mustang, and third went to Emirati, Yousef Alromaithi from Team Pirates of Drift in his V8-powered Nissan 300ZX.
People’s choice for the best-looking drift car went to the Nissan Silvia S15 of Ahmed Omar from UAE Drift Force. The most improved driver award went to 19-year-old Lebanese driver, Jihad Hassan. Best presented team award went to Saudi Gear Hyundai Snickers Drift team from KSA. And in the peripheral awards aimed at recognising the efforts of supporters and other industries, MotoringME.com won a Best Digital Award – thanks guys!
“We have seen a growth and interest of drifting during the last year, and we have made ties with international organisations to improve the level of drifting competition in the region,” said Alfalasi. “The new season will be even more fun and more exciting, plus we will be adapting new technologies and will focus on road shows to spread the awareness of drifting and motor sports.”
Ahmed Al Ameri and the new Toyota Emirates Drifting Team
Al-Futtaim Motors, the Toyota dealers for the UAE, also choose the evening to formally announce the formation of the Toyota Emirates Drifting Team and sponsoring its driver Ahmed Al Ameri.
The 27-year old Abu Dhabi-born ‘Drift King’ will be provided with a brand new Toyota 86 which he will modify and prepare to campaign in the 2012-2013 season. This is part of an exclusive two-year deal.
“Having Toyota as a sponsor for my young team is something I was wishful for since I started my drifting journey,” exclaimed Al Ameri. “My team will be very busy in the coming months preparing the car for the next season, and I would like to thank Al-Futtaim Motors for recognising drifting as an official motor sport. I am sure with the support of the world’s largest car manufacturer this sport will now be taken seriously by the rest of the automotive players in the UAE.”
“We’re very excited to be supporting the increasingly popular drifting sports in the UAE through the formation of the Toyota Emirates Drifting Team and our endorsement of Ahmed Al Ameri,” said Simon Frith, Managing Director Al-Futtaim Motors.
Julian Redman, from Al-Futtaim Motors, explained that they would be looking to expand their involvement in the sport over the next two years.