GT Radial wins first Formula DRIFT event this weekend when Chelsea Denofa captured his first Formula DRIFT victory in the season opener at the Streets of Long Beach.

GT Radial began competing in North America’s professional drifting championship in 2014, showed good progress last year, and now heads to Atlanta in second place in the tire manufacturer standings, thanks to Denofa’s dramatic win on GT Radial Champiro SX2 ultra high performance tires on the BC Racing/GT Radial BMW.

“We are very proud of Chelsea Denofa taking home first place in Long Beach and giving GT Radial our first win in Formula DRIFT competition,” said Indra Chavy, Formula DRIFT project manager for Giti Tire (USA) Ltd. “After making progress in our second year in 2015, we wanted to continue building on our momentum. We couldn’t ask for a better start to the 2016 campaign.”

GT Radial won an invitational drifting event last year during the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend, but this is the first win for the brand at a regular Formula DRIFT series event.

Entering into his sixth year of Formula DRIFT competition, Denofa was a man on a mission in Long Beach. Before Saturday’s 32-driver event, the drivers agreed to enact pre-seeding after the qualifying round was canceled due to rain Friday. A longtime fan favorite, Denofa started as the number 14 seed and had to knock off the top three seeds in the competition, including 2015 season champion Frederic Aasbo, to claim his first Formula DRIFT victory.

“To beat champion after champion, all amazing drivers, and get my first win is an absolutely amazing feeling,” Denofa said. “My crew has worked extremely hard, and the GT Radial tires were tremendous once again – very durable and predictable handling.”

The Champiro SX2 was developed for driving enthusiasts who want higher levels of traction, response and driving control in dry and wet conditions. An outstanding performer on the street and the track, the Champiro SX2 has already experienced considerable success in Formula DRIFT Asia.

In addition to Denofa, veteran drifting competitor Kyle Mohan is also competing on GT Radial tires this year. Mohan will compete in the invitational drifting event during the Long Beach Grand Prix this coming weekend that was won by GT Radial last year.

Denofa drives a Garrett turbocharged BMW with an inline-6 engine and is widely regarded as a fan favorite among the drifting crowd. He has more than 37,000 Instagram followers and has starred in numerous popular YouTube videos.