Nitto Auto Enthusiast Day Details:
- Nitto Tire held the inaugural Auto Enthusiast day at Auto Club Speedway
- Event commemorates Nitto's five millionth Facebook "like"
- Hundreds of show cars included Liberty Walk wide bodies
- Drift demo and ride-alongs put on by Nitto pros Vaughn Gittin, Jr. & Matt Powers
Five million "likes" on Facebook is huge. While we felt all warm and fuzzy about exceeding a million on our own account (btw, thanks for that!) Nitto Tire has left us behind in its dust by quintupling our best efforts. Yeah, they're not Rihanna or Eminem numbers - but they're also nothing to sneeze at either.
To commemorate the accomplishment, Nitto staged its first Auto Enthusiast Day on Saturday, December 7, in the infield parking lot at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Organizers put a call out for hundreds of show cars that included several of the fashionable Liberty Walk wide-bodies, and a drifting demo, too, with sponsored drivers Vaughn Gittin, Jr. and Matt Powers giving ride-alongs to a few select raffle winners.
What Nitto didn't bank on was the early-season winter rainstorm that moved through the area Saturday morning and early afternoon. While it didn't raining for the entire event, there was enough precipitation in the first few hours of the show that we're almost certain more than a few people were discouraged from coming out.
We wouldn't be denied, though. Rolling in at noon of the 11am-to-4pm soiree, we sloshed around the aisles of show cars, each one beading with the wet stuff courtesy of Mother Nature. The selection ran the gamut: tuner cars, VIP, motorsports machines, Euros, and a handful of old-school whips, supplemented by a smattering of trucks and a sizable showing of American iron (primarily Ford Mustangs).
As one might expect, the Liberty Walk cars drew the biggest crowds, the first time we've seen the wide-body lot together since the SEMA Show this past November. The group included the gray and Laguna Seca blue E92 M3s, the blue one now rocking crazy custom paint on the faces of its BBS LM multi-piece wheels, the Rocket Bunny II Subaru BRZ, and the most jocked LW car yet, its Ferrari 458.
The drifters got a section of the speedway's roval to swing their asses out to their hearts' content. Formula D 2010 champion Gittin had his Monster Energy Nitto Mustang, Powers his Fatlace Nitto S14, and they were joined by ams Mickie Frial in his S13 and David Westfall in his Lexus SC300 for some four-car tandem fun. With the ground wet, not much tire smoke was created - robbing from the demo's visual impact - but the ride-along winners didn't seem to mind, nor did the hundreds of fans who lined the course to watch.
If you came out to Auto Enthusiast Day, you had fun, in spite of the crap weather. Considering what Nitto was able to pull together for so late in the year, we're really hoping they do this again, and with any luck Mother Nature will cut the event some slack next time. Big ups to Nitto Tire for five million Facebook fans, a truly impressive milestone. Get into our gallery of the day to see what all the fuss was about.