Long Beach, Calif. – April 8, 2016 – In a rare move today, Formula DRIFT was forced to enact a never been used before provision of the Sporting Regulations that allows Formula DRIFT to forgo Qualifying in the face of inclement weather or the inability to start or finish Qualifying.
Formula DRIFT is not unfamiliar with rainy conditions as six of seven rounds were completed in such conditions in 2015. However, given the volume of rain, the variable surface conditions of the street course, combined with being a public street, made for treacherous conditions in general. Adding that walls surround the course added another level of risk, in which the Series did not want to take in light of making sure that all 32 drivers were ready for competition tomorrow, whatever the conditions may be. The decision was made shortly after Top 32 Practice started when as many as seven consecutive drivers wrecked into the walls of outside zone two. This rare occurrence caused Formula DRIFT to go on Rain Delay and call a drivers meeting with teams to discuss the options that would best suite the drivers and fans.
“We spoke to the teams and the large majority felt it was better to have a full field of 32 drivers tomorrow than risk wrecks that would not be fixable due to the damage cause by the walls or have drivers with double zero’s that would disallow them to be placed in the bracket”, says Kevin Wells, Competition Director of Formula DRIFT. “Being that we had exactly 32 cars in competition, no one would be left out and so that seemed to be the prudent thing to do. We want the drivers to have a voice. The majority spoke and we answered.”
The show did not end there, however. Formula DRIFT opened up the track for open practice and under much less stressed conditions; fans at the event and watching the live stream were treated to an open tandem practice ahead of tomorrow’s event. All 32 drivers are set to go and ready to kick off Round 1 of 8 tomorrow on the streets of Long Beach.
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The wait is almost over. The start of season 13 of the Formula DRIFT Professional Championship is nearly upon us, Round 1 of 8 for ’16 on turns 9, 10, and 11 of the famous Grand Prix of Long Beach, Calif., street circuit. And we couldn’t be more stoked.
As per usual, the series held a Media Day a few days ahead of the event to reveal any late-breaking announcements, make some of the drivers available for interviews, and even get some of the assembled journalists a ride-along in a pro drift car – basically empowering the press to generate some buzz on FD’s behalf. At the top of the order was news that Formula D and championship title sponsor BlackVue had come up with bonus prize money – to the tune of $25,000 – for the driver that can win three specific events, Round 1, Round 4 at Wall Stadium in New Jersey, and Round 5 at Evergreen Speedway in Washington.
Everyone also got see a handful of returning cars with fresh liveries and new entries for the first time. Chris Forsberg’s NOS Energy Nissan 370Z, Fredric Aasbo’s Rockstar Energy Scion tC, Ken Gushi’s Greddy Performance Toyota 86, Ryan Tuerck’s Gumout 86, and others rocked new skins, while hot shoes like Vaughn Gittin, with his 2016 Monster Energy Ford Mustang RTR, and Mad Mike Whiddett, with the Red Bull “RADBUL” Mazda ND MX-5 Miata, sported new (or newish in the case of Mad Mike) machines.
We will be covering all angles of the event this weekend, with reports (including live video) on our social media channels as well as results and recaps here on the website. However, if you can’t be in Long Beach and want to watch the crazy sideways action blow by blow, make sure to check out the Formula D Livestream.