Formula DRIFT Announces Competition Changes for 2013 Season;
New Changes to Be In Effect at Round 1: Streets of Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif. – February 12, 2013 – Formula DRIFT has announced competition changes for the 2013 Pro Championship Season. The new changes will be in effect starting at Round 1: Streets of Long Beach on April 12-13, 2013.
“To better inform our fans of competition changes that will be relevant to the live viewing and live stream, we have announced a few new changes to the competition format that will begin at the season opener in Long Beach,” stated Ryan Sage, vice-president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “These adjustments will bring new excitement to the Series and keep downtime to a minimum with the end goal of enhancing the fan experience.”
The main revisions to the competition format and rulebook are as follows:
1. “Knock-out” style Qualifying.
Qualifying will now begin with the number one ranked driver first and seed the Top 16 after the first run through the whole field. Positions 17-32 will now be filled after the second run from the remaining drivers in the field, who will advance with the best score of their two runs.
2. 5-minute rule renamed and adjusted.
The “5-minute rule will has been changed to a new term, “Competition Timeout.” The time frame will remain at five (5) minutes for the competitor to use, however the competitors vehicle may no longer leave the hot area of competiton to go back to the paddock. All changes done to the vehicle must be done on grid unless otherwise specified.
3. Qualifying criterion points adjustment.
Style, line and angle criteria categories will now be judged using whole numbers. Speed will be the only category that uses 1/10 numbers and will based on a median speed of all the drivers field during practice.
4. Specific issues identified as zeros (0) in qualifying and tandem.
Formula DRIFT has identified specific terms that would receive a judging zero (0) in both qualifying and tandem.
– Spinning out
– Loss of drift
– Two tires off 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
Two or more of the following items constitute and automatic zero in tandem:
– One wheel off course
– Hitting a cone or course marker
– Double entry
– Abrupt stop
5. Updated verbiage on passing.
Formula DRIFT has adjusted the passing verbiage in the rulebook to make it more broad and open. The purpose of this will be to give drivers a chance to attack a lead driver who is making noticeable mistakes and also for the public to be more deeply engaged in the competition.
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.
“We made these changes to make judging specific criteria less ambiguous and more defined, which will keep us accountable for consistency,” said Andy Yen, judge for Formula DRIFT. “The new changes will help define the judging without sacrificing the essence of drifting, subjectivity.”
Prior to the start of Round 7: Title Fight at Irwindale Speedway the decision was made by Formula DRIFT technical manager, Kevin Wells to inspect the top contending vehicles via X-ray, which was the first time in the Series history that this had been done.
In order to shed some light to the reasons why this procedure was completed, Wells has answered the top questions that have continued to be asked since the event.
Why did Formula Drift X-ray vehicles?
We were looking to see if competitors had modified chassis and/or hidden ballast. We contacted technicians from NASCAR and NHRA to see what equipment they used for this type of testing. Neither NASCAR or NHRA has done this before. Due to the variety of vehicles we have, and the location we desired to examine them, the methods NASCAR and NHRA use to examine their cars were not feasible. After further research, we decided on X-ray as the best method to determine if vehicles had modified chassis or hidden ballast.
Which vehicles did you X-ray?
We decided to X-ray the top seven ranked vehicles because these vehicles were eligible by points to win the championship. The top seven vehicles were composed of five vehicle models: Ford Mustang (2), Lexus SC430 (1), Nissan 240SX (2), Hyundai Genesis (1), and Scion TC (1). In addition to the seven competition vehicles, we also X-rayed stock versions of the five makes in order to compare our findings.
Where did you X-ray?
We X-rayed the rocker panel / door sill portion of the vehicle. This portion of the vehicle was suspected to be an ideal place for placing additional ballast or adding additional frame structure.
Did you find anything?
No, all the vehicles we examined were legal and passed the test. Below are three images taken from different Ford Mustangs. You can clearly see these vehicles are not modified in this portion of the vehicle.
Will Formula Drift continue doing this in the future?
Yes, we will continue to look for vehicles that are breaking the rules (to keep a level playing field), and this will be one of the tools at our disposal.
Long Beach, Calif. – October 13, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to Irwindale Speedway for the 2012 season finale. Daigo Saito in the Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430 takes the event victory and wins the 2012 Formula DRIFT Championship.
Round 7: Title Fight at Irwindale Speedway showcased drifting in its finest form. For the first time in Formula DRIFT and Irwindale Speedway history the event sold out before the gates opened to the public.
“Last year was so amazing we didn’t think we could do it again, not like this“ said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “This is why we love drifting. We are so energized for season 10 starting April 12-13, 2013.”
The competition was intense as the championship was up for grabs. Entering the event, seven drivers had a chance for the title. This soon changed as top drivers in the chase were taken out early including points leader Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang, defending champion Daijiro Yoshihara, in the America’s Tire / Falken Tire Nissan 240 and the 2009 champion, Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy / Hankook Nissan 370Z. This opened the door for both Daigo Saito and Rhys Millen in the RMR / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe who met in the Final Four. Millen, the number one qualifier took himself out as he went hard into the wall giving the win to Saito. The wall took a number of victims through the competition including Justin Pawlak in the Falken Tire Ford Mustang when he battled Saito in the Finals, giving Saito the event victory. Saito in his rookie year in the Series becomes the first Series rookie to also be crowned Formula DRIFT champion. Saito a seasoned veteran drifter is arguably considered the best drifter in the world winning the Formula DRIFT Asia championship, D1 championship and now Formula DRIFT Pro Championship.
“Luck was with me tonight. I’m very happy to be able to compete in Formula DRIFT this year. I’ve wanted to compete in the Series for so long,” said Daigo Saito, winner of Round 7: Title Fight and 2012 Formula DRIFT champion. “Thank you to Formula DRIFT and Achilles Tires. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of everyone that helped me get to this point.”
Formula DRIFT enters its tenth season of competition in 2013. Tickets are on-sale currently and can be purchased through the Formula DRIFT website and Ticketmaster. Round 1: Streets of Long Beach will be held on April 12-13, 2013.
Formula DRIFT will be participating once again at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The main competition will take place on Sunday, April 15 at 3:40 PM following the IZOD Indycar race.
The teams will be judged on style, execution and overall crowd reaction. Teams of 2 cars will wow the crowds while drifting the entire Grand Prix street course. Guest judges include Andy Yen (FD head judge), the 2011 champion Dai Yoshihara and 2-time champion Tanner Foust.
Drivers participating include: