One of the competitors making Formula Drift a truly international affair is Fredric Aasbø. The twenty-eight year old Norwegian has been mixing it up with the best of them since 2010. However this is just another step in a lifelong career that began as a boy racing go-karts in Ski, Norway. We recently caught up with Fredric about his drifting career and very popular Dreamride Los Angeles YouTube video not showcased Fredric’s exceptional skills behind the wheel of the 800-plus horsepower Papadakis Racing Scion tC Formula Drift competition car.
MLAS: First, tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Fredric Aasbø: I’m a Norwegian pro drifter currently competing across the world with Scion/Toyota, Hankook with three drift teams based in California, Japan and Norway. I’m the 2014 Formula Drift Asia Champion and Formula Drift U.S. runner-up with Papadakis Racing.
MLAS: Was the transition from the ProDrift European Series to Formula Drift difficult?
FA: I competed in several different European drift series from 2007-2008, and competing as a privateer in the U.S. for the first time, at the FD Drifting World Championship in 2008, was a big eye opener in terms of all the details that need to be in place to do well. I kind of knew what to expect, but most importantly I knew beforehand that it was going to be a very steep learning curve.
MLAS: Did you expect to be named Rookie of the Year?
FA: Not at all. Or – I knew there was a possibility, but definitely didn’t expect it. I try to always expect the worst, but hope for the best. I think a combination of being a naive, adventurous guy from across the world, getting to work with some great names in the scene and having the moral support of people believing in me was the key to push hard and far enough to earn the FD Rookie of the Year title in 2010. I learned so much that year.
MLAS: Your competitors nicknamed you “The Champkiller” during your first FD season. How did that nickname transition to “The Norwegian Hammer” and what do these names mean to you?
FA: Formula Drift MC Jarod DeAnda gave me both of those names, and “Champkiller” stems from taking out the 2009 Champion Chris Forsberg in Long Beach in 2010. “Norwegian Hammer” stems from a combination of, I think, Thor (the Viking god), “dropping the hammer” (from the ultimate racing film of all time, Days of Thunder) and from me not always being the most precise driver, but always 110% committed.
Although my style is evolving, I feel like my passion is just as strong as it has ever been, and knowing I’ve been given those names give me a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s been an incredible journey.
MLAS: A number of journalists have written about the many, many sacrifices you have made to compete in Formula Drift. Are there certain events that stand out as “life-changing” in your journey?
FA: The funny thing is I’ve never felt made big or many sacrifices at all. I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to just do whatever I love, and that’s what I’ve always gone after. I feel like my fiancée, family and friends have always supported me and I think they would say the same.
There have been so many life-changing moments that the sport has brought me, from winning the first major competition in Abu Dhabi to having the opportunity to see the enormous cultural differences in this world – and that is such a huge, underestimated thing. We don’t all think the same way, and that’s been a big discovery.
MLAS: What is your daily driver and why?
FA: It depends where I am. I drive a Toyota van in Europe, and a Scion tC (and previously a Scion FR-S) in the States. I like efficient, sensible cars with some flair to them for the streets, so I can pour all my efforts into the drifting.
MLAS: Is there any car (including ones you’ve drifted with) that you no longer have but wish you could buy back and why?
FA: My first drift competition car: a black, Shadowline stock body BMW E30. I have so many memories with that car. It taught me that looking like the underdog is often a good thing.
MLAS: In the video #DreamrideLA, you showcased the Scion tC and gave a kid (Dillon Bryant Akers) the ride-along of lifetime in your drift car. Why did you choose to have him as your passenger instead of a celebrity or hot model?
FA: We wanted it to be touching on real life as we see it: We have all these kids and even adults — drift fans, casual observers, neighbors and friends — asking us how they can get a ride in our drift car. We get asked by hot girls as well, but it’s all those little boys and girls with a dream that inspire us to keep going.
MLAS: Was the concept for this video actually conceived over ramen noodles in an airport?
FA: You gotta ask Stephan for that! But he came up with the idea on his way to China with traveling vagabond photographer Larry Chen, so I can definitely see that being the case.
MLAS: Any other videos in the works?
FA: Watch this space! We have a bunch of ideas, but only so much time. Definitely we’d love to cover new territory and develop the “car video” genre further so you can expect to see more from us.
MLAS: Stephan Papadakis has been such a big influence on your career. Tell us a bit about him, his involvement and what that means to you?
FA: Steph has taught me so much — not only about cars, but about life in general. Viewpoints, how to run a business… Out of all the people I’ve met across the world, his perspective is so different from anyone else’s. In my eyes, Steph is not just a car guy, he’s a visionary creative that loves to challenge existing ideas. He wins races and builds value for our partners by going against the grain and does things that are totally unique. He’s a very inspiring person to be working with.
MLAS: What is it that drives you in your drifting career and life in general?
FA: The hunger for trying on new things that I don’t know how to do, but that I feel like I might have a chance of making happen. I’m definitely a dreamer, but also a thinker. There are so many things I absolutely suck at, but that makes me go all-in on the things I might have a talent for.
MLAS: The first FD event is coming soon. How has testing for 2015 gone and how do you prepare for the upcoming race season?
FA: We have a list of things we are working on to improve reliability and performance of the Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC for the Streets of Long Beach season opener April 10 and 11. As for my driving, I’ve been competing in FD Asia, doing track days, honing my consistency. And I’ll be doing as much ice drifting as I can at home in Norway.
MLAS: What do you do in your down time?
FA: I’ve started doing Stand Up Surfing over the last year and feel like it actually helps my drifting. Surfing is a very mental sport as well; you have to plan your attack and the whole thing is over in a matter of seconds. It’s such a rush, improves your balance, core strength, tan and all while you take in some of the most beautiful places this world has to offer!
MLAS: Do you have a motorsports bucket list and can you tell us which events are on it?
FA: I definitely have a bucket list and we’ve accomplished a lot of the goals on it already. The one major goal we are gunning for now is winning the Formula Drift Championship. I feel like we know how to do it by now, we just gotta put it all together. How hard can it be? (Ha ha!) In all seriousness, though, the day we make it happen and get to the top of that championship podium box at Irwindale will be a very, VERY big day.
A Final Word
You can connect with Fredric online via the following links and of course stay tuned here for more from this season’s Formula Drift:
Website – http://www.fredricaasbo.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/officialfredricaasbo
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/fredricaasbo
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/fredricaasbo
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/fredricaasbo