Stephan Papadakis

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Stephan Papadakis
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CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Enterprenuer
  • Racer

Stephan Papadakis is the owner of Papadakis Racing, one of the most winning Formula DRIFT teams in series history.[1][2] The team now competes in the series in the Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota GR Supra with driver Fredric Aasbø behind the wheel and in 2020 added Ryan Tuerck to take over driving duties in the rear-wheel-drive converted Gumout / Mobil 1 / Nitto Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Originally from New York but raised in California, Papadakis is one of the real-life racers who inspired The Fast and the Furious action movie franchise[3]. Although the story was originally optioned on a magazine article about racers in New York,[4] script writer Gary Scott Thompson researched and based the film in Southern California at the time of Papadakis' participation.[5] In the early 1990s as a high schooler, Papadakis got his start in the underground street scene of Southern California as a tuner and modifier of Honda Civics.[6][7] His continued passion for racing eventually took him to the racetrack where achieved multiple speed records in front-wheel drive drag racing including an NHRA award recognizing his membership in the Sport Compact 200 MPH Club. A 1998 Honda Civic hatchback he built is in the collection of Los Angeles' Petersen Automotive Museum and in 2018 became part of an exhibit on Japanese Car and Tuning Culture.[8] In 2003, Papadakis built a record-setting six-second rear-wheel drive Honda Civic that became only the fifth drag racing car to be admitted to the NHRA's Sport Compact 200 MPH Club.[9] In 2005, as Formula DRIFT was emerging as a new championship motorsport, Papadakis built a Honda S2000 and drove it himself. As his career continued, he shifted focus out of the driver's seat and into team ownership bringing driver Tanner Foust into the organization. With Foust driving, the Papadakis Racing Team won back-to-back Formula Drift championships in 2007 and 2008. Papadakis built two different rear-wheel-drive converted Scion tC drift cars. The first debuted in 2009, and was powered by a V8 engine from the Toyota Racing Development NASCAR Truck Series program. The second, a 2014 Scion tC, was also displayed[10] at the Petersen Museum in 2018.[11] Launched at a time when high-horsepower V8 engines were popular in the sport, it is the first four-cylinder engined vehicle to earn a victory in Formula Drift series history. When Foust stepped away from drifting in 2010, Papadakis invited Fredric Aasbø to join the organization and in 2015, the driver earned the team's third Formula Drift championship title. No other team has won more championship titles. Papadakis continues to operate the Formula Drift team. In 2018, he debuted a custom built Toyota Corolla Hatchback, unveiled that year with Toyota at the New York International Auto Show,[12] just days before its first series win in Long Beach, California.[13] Papadakis' most recognized builds are his early front-wheel-drive Honda Civic drag racing cars,[14] the rear-wheel-drive converted Scion drift cars,[15] the rear-wheel drive converted and exhaust tuned Tanner Foust Passat drift car,[16] the Toyota Corolla Hatchback.[17] now driven by Ryan Tuerck in Formula Drift, and the Toyota GR Supra [18] driven by Fredric Aasbo. He has expanded is focus to social content in recent years with the popular Toyota GR Supra build on YouTube gaining notable coverage in automotive media.[19][20][21]


  1. Korecki, Danny. "Watch Stephan Papadakis Disassemble Formula Drift Race Engine". The Drive. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  2. "Frederic Aasbo & Steph Papadakis - Masters and Champions". SuperStreetOnline. 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  3. "The Kids Are (Still) All Right: The "Import Scene" is 10 Years Old and Growing". Autoweek. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  4. "From The VIBE Vault: 'Racer X' (The Original 'Fast & Furious' Inspiration)". Vibe. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  5. Lee, Kristen. "How LA's Underground Street Racing Scene and The Fast And The Furious Grew Up". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  6. Vaughn, Mark (2019-05-23). "Steph Papadakis' screaming yellow Civic was the ultimate icon of The Import Craze". Autoweek. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  7. Lee, Kristen. "How LA's Underground Street Racing Scene and The Fast And The Furious Grew Up". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  8. "Petersen Automotive Museum Celebrates Japanese Car & Tuning Culture". SuperStreetOnline. 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  9. "Performance Pioneer Stephan Papadakis Joins the DSPORT Hall Of Fame - DSPORT Magazine". DSPORT Magazine. 2017-03-08. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  10. "The Deepest Dive Into JDM Rarities You'll Ever Take". Road & Track. 2018-05-25. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  11. "Take a look inside an LA car museum's Japanese collection". Top Gear. 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  12. Radu, Mihnea (2018-03-30). "Fredric Aasbo Shows 1,000 HP 2019 Corolla Drift Hatch in New York". autoevolution. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  13. "1,000HP 2019 Toyota Corolla - Aasbo's Hammer". SuperStreetOnline. 2018-06-13. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  14. "Stephan Papadakis Interview - Honda Tuning Magazine". SuperStreetOnline. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  15. "Watch Steph Papadakis build a 1000-hp Scion tC engine in two minutes". Autoweek. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  16. Orlove, Raphael. "The Story Behind The Gnarliest Exhaust In Recent Memory". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  17. "2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback drift car walkaround | Autoblog Short Cuts". Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  18. "Here's How A 2020 Toyota Supra Is Remade To Handle 1,000 HP And Competitive Drifting". Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  19. "You Don't Need To Engine Swap Your Toyota To Make 1,000 HP". Gizmodo Australia. 2020-02-04. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  20. Perkins, Chris (2019-08-13). "Legendary Toyota Tuner Thinks the New Supra's Stock Crank Is Good for 1000 HP". Road & Track. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  21. Beresford, Colin (2020-11-02). "Toyota Shows Off a Trio of Custom Supras at Virtual SEMA". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2021-01-11.

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