Road Atlanta is the actual birthplace of Formula Drift, holding the first ever event back in May 2004. Since then, the track is known as being one of the rowdiest on the circuit, with fans who stake out their area with E-Z Ups and lawn chairs several hours before the track goes hot. Drifting into the night, the event heats up as the temperatures cool, and often produces some of the most memorable tandem battles.
This year’s Road Atlanta track layout mimics the layout that has been used for the last few years. Drivers pilot their cars down the hill ending the back straight into turn 10A, often hitting speeds close to 100mph before pitching their cars sideways. An inner clip on the inside of 10A is the first of the clipping points, and drivers will transition their cars from right to left as they round turn 10B and head back up the hill. At the top of the hill, an outside clipping zone lines the rumble strips, while a second outside zone lines the top part of the paved horseshoe that was added specifically for Formula Drift back in 2004. After sliding the rear bumper through the outer clipping zone under the judges stand, there’s an inner clipping point midway through the horse shoe, before the cars transition back again to the right to head back down the hill and through turns 10B and 10A in reverse order of the traditional course direction. After sliding through 10A and nearing the same inner clip that they started with, drivers are asked to finish their drift through the corner of 10A before shutting it down and heading back up the hill to the start line.
In case you missed the actual event, either in person or via the Driftstream, here’s a play-by-play of how the Top 32 tandem battles shook out.
Fast forward to the Ford Top 16 or Nitto Final 4.
I’ve made it widely known that one of my favorite aspects of Formula Drift is that fact that the competing cars don’t have power limits imposed on them. Instead, FD try their best to even out the playing field by limiting the amount of grip available through tire width restrictions based on car weight.
Of course, the teams overcome the limited amount of grip by using different tire compounds, utilising aero, suspension tuning and of course flat-out power for insane wheel speed. That said, I wanted to showcase a range of power plants from the 2015 Formula Drift field…
Rockstar Energy Volkswagen Passat
Engine: GM LS7 450ci
Pistons: Mahle 13.6:1
Cylinder Heads: LS7
Camshaft: Stage 3 LS
Valves: titanium intake, stainless steel exhaust
Induction: 102mm throttle body
Engine Management: AEM Infinity
After some time to reflect, I still think this was the best round of Formula D I’ve seen to date. Jersey last year was a good one, as was Irwindale in 2011, but this one was the best. For starters, Road Atlanta has always been my favorite Formula D track just from a visual perspective. Throw some good cars, good driving, random freak occurrences, and incredible battles in the mix, and you get a show anyone would want to watch a second time. The only thing that was missing was the rain we had last year!
Thursday night May 21, Irwindale’s own Formula DRIFT open practice sessions will resume on the course that the entire civilized world now knows as the legendary “House of Drift” … aka: Irwindale Speedway right at the top of the 605 freeway.
2015’s action-packed Thursday night under-the-lights practices will be held monthly with events now set for:
- May 21
- June 11
- July 9
- August 13
- September 10
- October 1
- November 12
- December 10
Each of the Thursday night sessions will start with a (public invited) technical inspection for the competition vehicles at 4PM and drift practice will run flat out from 5 to 8PM. The fan gates open at 4PM and there’s plenty of close-free parking.
Open to the public (fans can watch from the stands and visit the pits as well) admission is only $10 per person. These will be nights when fans can see some of the best of the best getting tuned-up for the 2015 season as well as catching the acts of some of new, upcoming Drift talent as they test their driving skills and machines against the established pros.
Anyone can run their properly-equipped* car for $75 and they can register right at the track on Thursday night.
Thursday Night Drift Requirements
Group C Requirements:
- Helmet: No open face, SA2010, SA2005
- No loose items: Interior, trunk
- Fire Extinguisher: secure mount, 2lb min
- Fluid Leaks: No Fluid Leaks
- Catch cans: Coolant, Oil if non OEM
- Gas Cap: Present and sealed
- Fuel line: check hose clamps and fittings
- Battery: Secure mount, positive covered
- Brake light: Min 2 functioning
- Brake pedal: good feel maintain pressure
- Key or Master cutoff operation, location marked
- Lug nuts: Present and secure
- Steering: Smooth, no binding
- Tow hooks: Front and rear (OEM at own risk)
- Hood and Trunk: Securely latched
- Windshield: OEM or Lexan secure mounting
- Seat: OEM with stock belts or FIA with harness
Group B Requirements: plus listed above
- Suspension: Coilovers or Non OEM suspension
- Differential: Welded or clutch type
- E-Brake: Functioning, cable or hydro
Group A Requirements: plus listed above
- 6 point roll cage: 5”x0.095 DOM
- Door Bars: Nascar or X on both doors
- Harness bar and Diagonal
- Seat belts: 5 point minimum required
- Fire Suit: SFI 3-2A/5 with fire resistant gloves and shoes
For Technical Inquiries: Kevin@formulad.com