Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Results

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Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Results;
Daigo Saito Takes the Victory

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Long Beach, Calif. – April 12, 2014 – Formula DRIFT hosted the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge during the 40th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Radial Lexus SC430 takes the victory.

The Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge for the second consecutive year brought motorsports action under the lights during the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a filled capacity within Turns 9, 10, and 11 of the famous street course. Sixteen of the top Formula DRIFT drivers competed for a $25,000 prize purse. Eight vehicle manufacturers and seven tire companies were represented in the competition.

“It is an honor to be able to bring drifting to the masses during the 40th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,” stated Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “And to be able to showcase our sport for the second year in a row under the lights on the city streets is something special.”

The action under the lights along with ever changing track temperatures proved to be a test of driver skill. Number one qualifier, Forrest Wang in Get Nuts Lab / Hankook Tire Nissan S14 finishes in third place. Daigo Saito met teammate Kenny Moen in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Radial Nissan 240SX in the finals. Saito, the 2012 Formula DRIFT champion, was able to edge out Moen to take the victory. For the second consecutive weekend, Moen takes the second spot on the podium.

“Last weekend at Round 1 of Formula DRIFT was no good for me, but this week with a few modifications on the vehicle I was able to get the win,” said Daigo Saito, winner of the Motegi Super Drift Challenge. “I am happy with the win and look to continue the momentum into the next round.”

Consolation Battle Removed? Why?

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Consolation Battle Removed? Why?

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the 2014 Sporting Regulations and specifically, the elimination of the traditional Consolation round, A.K.A, the third place battle. In the following blog post, we will address some of the common responses to this change and also lay out why we decided to make this adjustment.

Before, we get into the question at hand, let us put things into context. One of the things that it is of utmost importance to Formula DRIFT is to build a sport that continues to grow and expand year to year. Part of that job requires recognizing certain areas where format and/or rules may need adjusting to help strive towards that goal. From that context is how we should view the reasons behind this particular consequence of new rules and structures. It’s also important to note that the overarching theme behind this year’s Series is to create an environment that makes it the most conducive to have an amazing show. For example, Formula DRIFT recognizes that too many overly complicated and complex judging rules were made in the 2013 Sporting Regulations and because of that, we felt an obligation to correct or smooth out those rules during the 2013 season, in the best interest of the Series and for the fans. This year, we have continued to do that. Judging has gone to a much simpler structure focused more on style. We have eliminated “strikes”, which we believe will increase drivers likelihood of drivers pushing harder because “zero’s” are now much more difficult to receive in both qualifying and tandem. We feel that judging that is easy to understand is paramount to the success and excitement of the events. Many may not know this, but there is a strong divide in the Series between drivers who want traditional (more stylistic and subjective) drifting judging rules and those that want very specific, technical, stringent rules that are unambiguous. The traditional camp is the camp that believes less is more. The other camp wants clipping point sensors, telemetry, strikes, basically to have as many things to be accounted for as possible. With all that said, it’s no easy task to appease all of the entire drivers base in the Series, so for us, we feel that is why creating the best possible drifting with the most simple rules, in our minds, contributes to the best fan experience. So that is where we are headed….

With that in mind, it might seem counter-intuitive to say that the fan experience is paramount, but then we decide to pull the Consolation battle out of competition. How does that make sense? Well, ok, let’s talk about that. This goes back to the very first notion in this post, that one of our primary goals is to grow the Sport. One of the issues and items that we have noticed that has come up not only at our events, but also as we have presented the Sport to media outlets, not only here in the US, but also internationally, is the fact that our Sport has a very arbitrary and ambiguous time frame for Top 16 to conclusion. Sometimes the show can end in two hours, sometimes it can go over three hours. Sometimes even longer. This is a problem because if we ever wish to be able to promote a tight, concise package for live broadcast, we need to be able to say with some certainty that the event can end in X amount time. Slight variations are acceptable, but the wide swings we have are not conducive for a tight, live package. When we looked at why this is the case, almost every occasion, the Consolation battle is the culprit. Besides the necessary tire change and cool down, this battle, due to its nature also has the most OMT’s, CTO’s and wrecks, statistically speaking. Sometimes, this very battle alone can add up to 30 minutes or more to the end of the show and not only delay the final battle, but also reduce the final battle to an anti-climatic event. This seems like somewhat of a disservice to those two drivers and the whole reason people are competing: To win! So when trying to present your Sport as one that has a linear progression that ends in an amazing crescendo, this battle sometimes, and quite often, prevents that. To us hardcore fans who don’t care about anything other than seeing battles, we might accept it as part of the ride, but when taken in the context of how to grow, mature and make the Sport more appealing and accessible to more people, this often times muddies those waters. The event suffers when the event drags on, and while we have fixed the other areas of delay, there is an inherent delay probability in the consolation round, which is a great concern. Moreover, this additional round gives an ambiguous time frame to when the event will end. And in the case of a live TV setting, this is the biggest complaint we get. We received this notion when we did FD Thailand as a live TV event, and in the case of the US series, it has the same issues. Part of it is an issue of structure and that we intend to try and fix.

As we did our research, we also noticed that other similar bracket system based competitive based bodies do not have a consolation round. Our closest cousin, NHRA, does not have one, and neither does the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals), who also in search of greater media appeal, adjusted the foundations of their sports just recently. We think a lot can be learned from these two examples.

Currently, with the Consolation round battle no more, that does not mean the way in which we congratulate drivers who perform well will not change in addition. It is our intention to make the final four drivers the focus of our podium ceremony and with the actual 3rd place going to the driver with the highest qualifying of the two drivers who lost in Top 4, it stands to reason that qualifying may become more exciting since now it has greater meaning. It also stands to reason that if the show can be presented with consistent energy, lack of lulls and constant energy on track, that the Sport becomes more palatable to a wider audience and would now have an even greater applicability for live media. All of these things strengthen the Series, the Sport and thus the drivers, which is what we all want.

Finally, we think what we have presented is real and legitimate concerns about the Consolation round in its current format. We believe removing it helps give us a better competitive package for the future and opportunities that lie ahead. With that said, there are derivations of the Consolation round that will help, but not eliminate the risks we posed in this post. If the public support for bringing the consolation back is at a high enough level, we would consider it, BUT it would be under a new method that helps assist in making the show more in line with what we ultimately need. We invite you to tell us what you think.

Email us your thoughts. Kevin@formulad.com, Jim@formulad.com, Ryan@formulad.com

2013 Consolation Battle Comparison

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Formula DRIFT Makes Sweeping Changes To Sporting Regulations

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Long Beach, Calif. – March 17, 2014 – Formula DRIFT deepens commitment to making competition the most exciting in motor sports by enacting more changes to the Sporting Regulations.

The changes that have been made are in the following areas:

PRO CHAMPIONSHIP AND QUALIFYING POINTS STRUCTURE

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AWARDS

COMPETITION
1 – 100
2 – 80
3-4 – 64
5-8 – 48
9-16 – 32
17-32 – 16

QUALIFYING
1 – 10
2 – 7.5
3 – 6
4-8 – 4.5
9-16 – 3
17-32 – 1.5

PRO CHAMPIONSHIP AND QUALIFYING POINTS STRUCTURE

Automatic Formula DRIFT PRO License renewal = Top 32 and above ranking in Formula DRIFT PRO

Automatic Formula DRIFT PRO2 License renewal = 64 points in Formula DRIFT PRO2

FORMULA DRIFT PRO COMPETITION LICENSE
Formula DRIFT PRO drivers that have earned a rank of 32 and above in the previous season will automatically be eligible for a Formula DRIFT PRO license the following year.

All remaining drivers and any new driver wishing to obtain a provisional Formula DRIFT PRO license will have two (2) options. Provisional licenses will be valid for the season for which it was granted and for the number of events specified

Option 1: FORMULA DRIFT PRO2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Competitors wishing to obtain a Formula DRIFT PRO license have the option to compete in a Formula DRIFT PRO2 series. Competitors at the end of the PRO2 Championship season will be awarded Formula DRIFT PRO license based on their final standing in the PRO2 Championship. Formula DRIFT PRO2 series competitions will be judged by Formula Drift Judges at selected Formula DRIFT PRO Championship rounds. Courses will be the same as the Formula DRIFT PRO Championship course used during that round.

Option 2: PETITION

A driver that believes that he/she is qualified to compete in Formula DRIFT PRO Championship on a competitive level but chooses to not to compete in a Formula DRIFT PRO2 Championship may submit a petition to Formula DRIFT for review. The petition application format may be obtained by contacting the Formula DRIFT office. After a reasonable review period, Formula DRIFT will notify the driver on the status of their request. Driver’s with insufficient experience or credentials will not be considered and will be notified that they must obtain a license through Formula DRIFT PRO2 series. Upon approval of the petition, Formula DRIFT will grant a provisional license. The petition will be reviewed by the Formula DRIFT licensing committee.

The Formula DRIFT licensing committee members are:

Jim Liaw President, Co-Founder Ryan Sage Vice President, Co-Founder Formula DRIFT Judges

FORMULA DRIFT PRO2 COMPETITION LICENSE
Formula DRIFT PRO2 drivers that have earned 100 points in the previous Formula Drift PRO2 season will automatically be eligible for a Formula Drift PRO2 license the following year.

Formula DRIFT PRO drivers that have earned a rank of 16 and above in the previous season will not be eligible for the Formula DRIFT PRO2 Championship the following year.

All remaining drivers and any new driver wishing to obtain a provisional Formula DRIFT PRO2 license will have two (2) options. Provisional licenses will be valid for the season for which it was granted and for the number of events specified. Failure to perform competitively in a Formula DRIFT event and/or acquire any competition points will result in revocation of the provisional license.

Option 1: FORMULA DRIFT LICENSING SERIES (i.e. FD Asia Championship, FD PRO-AM Series, etc)

Competitors wishing to obtain a Formula DRIFT PRO2 license have the option to compete in a Formula DRIFT licensing series. Each of these approved affiliate Series operate a regionally based points series with a minimum of four (4) rounds. Competitors at the end of the licensing series season will be awarded Formula DRIFT pro Licenses based on their final standing in the series championship. Formula DRIFT licensing series competitions will be judged by officials selected through operating agencies approved by Formula DRIFT. Courses will be set up to replicate the speed and dynamics of a typical course in a Formula DRIFT Pro Championship event. Each licensing series may have their own rules and regulations so all competitors must contact the licensing series directly. For the most updated list of Formula DRIFT licensing series, please refer to Appendix D.

Option 2: PETITION

A driver that believes that he/she is qualified to compete in Formula DRIFT PRO2 Championship on a competitive level but chooses to not to compete in a Formula DRIFT licensing series may submit a petition to Formula DRIFT for review. The petition application format may be obtained by contacting the Formula DRIFT office. After a reasonable review period, Formula DRIFT will notify the driver on the status of their request. Driver’s with insufficient experience or credentials will not be considered and will be notified that they must obtain a license through Option 1. Upon approval of the petition, Formula DRIFT will grant a provisional license. The petition will be reviewed by the Formula DRIFT licensing committee.

The Formula DRIFT licensing committee members are:
Jim Liaw President, Co-Founder Ryan Sage Vice President, Co-Founder Formula DRIFT Judges

Please refer to Appendix E – Formula DRIFT PRO and Formula DRIFT PRO2 Factsheet

PROTESTS IN COMPETITION

LODGING A PROTEST

A protest based on a judges call occurring during competition shall be made prior to the start of the following round of competition and is only allowed from the Great 8 to the Finals. Protests must be made prior the next round of competition. (Final Four protests must be made prior to final battle, etc).

Protests must be based on a judge’s call that was missed and that is non-subjective in nature. Such an example would be a missed, “zero” run.

Judges qualifying scores are not protestable.
The subjective areas of a judge’s score and decision are not protestable. All protests shall be made to the Driver’s Steward only.

Every protest shall be made in writing specifying which part of the Formula DRIFT Rules & Regulations is considered to have been violated, signed by the entrant or driver making the protest and accompanied by a protest fee of $50.00 within the time limits specified in these rules, and in accordance with section 4.4. The protest fee will be returned if the protest is deemed to be well-founded and is upheld by the Competition Manager.

A protest against an entry, validity of an entrant or driver, or a vehicle’s eligibility may be made at any time. All vehicle eligibility protests will be reviewed and arbitrated by the Technical Manager.

A protest against any other action of an official shall be made within 10 minutes of the action.

Notification of a protest does not guarantee that the Drivers Steward and/ or Competition Manager will hear the argument. The needs of the operation may take precedent over the protest.

QUALIFYING FORMAT AND CRITERIA POINTS ALLOCATION

QUALIFYING
The format for qualifying is a traditional format. Drivers will complete two (2) non-consecutive runs on the track in reverse order of current rank in the Championship. Drivers will receive a score after each run and the top 32 drivers will move on to Head-to-Head competition. In the event of a tie in qualifying, the tie-breaker will first be the Style points allocated followed by rank followed by logged speed.

In the event of rain or weather that does not cause cancellation of qualifying or head-to-head, the judges have the right to make adjustments to the criteria of judging and to subsequently disseminate this information to the spotters and drivers.

In the event that qualifying cannot be completed, such as a rain-out or other circumstances, qualifying order will be established by rank or by previous season points.

QUALIFYING SCORING

In qualifying, each judge will be assigned to a criterion: Line, Angle, or Style. Line judge can award up to 25 points + 10 points for Style
Angle judge can award up to 25 points + 10 points for Style
Style judge can award up to 30 points

Total maximum points is 100

In the event of a tie, the driver with the higher Style score will take the position.

GENERAL JUDGING CRITERIA FOR QUALIFYING AND HEAD-TO-HEAD COMPETITION

ITEMS THAT CONSTITUTE AN AUTOMATIC ZERO Spinning out

Clear and punctuated straightening or losing drift (Losing drift and reinitiating quickly is a major deduction, but not a zero. Judges will determine if an action results in a zero)

Two tires of course
Hood, hatch and/or doors open during a run
Resulting contact causes an abrupt change in the vehicles drift and/or causes a spin

TANDEM ELIMINATION ROUNDS
32 drivers will compete in single elimination head-to-head battles and win his/her way through a standard 32-Driver bracket. Tandem rounds are based on two (2) runs, in head-to-head format, with competitors paired up based on qualifying position. The higher qualifier will lead the first run and the second led by the lower qualifier.

Starting in 2014, there will no longer be a 3rd place consolation round. 3rd place will now be decided based on the highest qualifier of the two losing competitors in the Final Four.

LEAD CAR
The lead car is to drift the course using the line, angle and style as defined by the judges for qualifying. Typically, the lead car should driver 90 percent of his/her qualifying run(s) and focus specifically on hitting all clipping point and zones with the maximum line, angle and style as possible.

CHASE CAR
In general, the chase car needs to treat the lead car as a moving clipping point and showcase more angle and style while in chase. With regards to proximity, a chase driver may get as close to the lead car as possible as long as the chase car’s front wheels DO NOT reach in front of the lead car’s front wheels. In essence, if done properly, a chase driver can be door-to-door with the lead car without being in violation of being on a lower line. Drivers that do surpass the lead drivers front wheels will receive a deduction for their chase run. For a chase car to show true dominance to the lead car, the driver must follow the line the lead driver chooses, maintain consistent and larger angle than the lead car and use the vehicles power to maintain consistent and close proximity to the lead car.

PASSING
Passing is allowed in Formula DRIFT. Passing is allowed anywhere on course as long as the lead car is clearly off the line the judges have specified. Any passing that occurs outside the scope of the aforementioned criteria will be deemed illegal and constitute an equivalence to a zero (0) run. A chase driver will be considered the lead driver once a legal pass has been completed and clearly shows the original chase driver has assumed control as the lead driver.

ITEMS THAT CONSTITUTE AN AUTOMATIC ZERO

The following constitute a ZERO in tandem: Spinning Out

Clear and punctuated straightening or losing drift (Losing drift and reinitiating quickly is a major deduction, but not a zero. Judges will determine whether or not this is a zero)

Two tires or more clearly off course

Contact to the other driver that is considered, “avoidable”.

A chase driver not actively chasing the lead driver after the opponent had, “zero’d” out on the prior run

GENERAL

Judges may also use logged drivers speed as a reference or assistance in judging, but speed of drivers is typically used for entertainment purposes, such as those purposes served through TV, live and live stream.

USE OF REPLAYS IN COMPETITION

REPLAYS

Use of multiple replays in tandem competition is prohibited until Great 8 onward. The typical run of show will be a replay after each run of tandem, but nothing more until the Great 8 has started. Once the great 8 has started, judges may request multiple replays. The Competition Manager may request that time be allocated for a replay in any round if a technical issue has occurred that could affect a judging call.

“We are excited to start off our eleventh season with the motif of, “Dawn of a New Decade,” and with that comes changes to the competition that we feel will enhance the show by making it more thrilling, while keeping the flow consistent and in-line with what we consider to be the most electrifying motor sport on the planet,” says Ryan Sage, Vice President and Co-Founder of Formula DRIFT.