Guest Blog: Kevin Wells Technical Manager of Formula DRIFT Opens Up About the X-Raying of Vehicles at Round 7

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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.

Stock Mustang x-ray

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.

Formula DRIFT Insider 2012 Ep.5

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHRKDIu06Co&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

In this episode we chat with Technical Manager Kevin Wells about trends in the series, including the rise of V8’s and teams who bucked the trend and are showing why all displacements can and are working. We also profile ROY contender Daigo Saito who tells us about his goals in 2012 and why he wants to be a champion in FD.

Formula DRIFT Announces Kevin Wells as Technical Manager

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photo courtesy of Larry Chen

Long Beach, Calif. – November 9, 2011 – Formula DRIFT announced during the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last week that Kevin Wells would take over the duties of Technical Manager for the Series, replacing Tony Angelo.

Wells brings to Formula DRIFT a wealth of experience as the former crew chief of Chris Forsberg Racing. During his tenure there, he received such honors as Crew Chief of the Year 3 times, 10 podiums, 5 wins, and 1 Formula DRIFT championship.

“We are eager to have Kevin Wells as our new technical manager,” said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Kevin brings a ton of mechanical and technical knowledge to Formula DRIFT and we welcome him to this side of the Series.”

Wells will replace former technical manager Tony Angelo, who will be returning to the Series as a driver. His primary duties will include the writing and enforcement of the technical regulations, develop new regulations, work together with a soon to be created technical committee, and more. Wells will travel with the Series and various FD international events including the Formula DRIFT Asia Championship to uphold the Formula DRIFT technical standards.

“I am excited and honored to take on this new role and set of responsibilities,” said Kevin Wells, new Formula DRIFT technical manager. “I’ve been involved with this emerging motorsport for a long time and will use my knowledge and expertise to help grow it even further to create a competitive, fair, and safe competitive field for the Series.”

Wells will begin his duties immediately as the teams begin preparing for the 2012 season, which begins on April 6-7, 2012 on the Streets of Long Beach. Wells will have dedicated tech hours at the Formula DRIFT office and can be reached via email at kevin@formulad.com.

Formula DRIFT Announces Tony Angelo as Technical Manager

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Formula DRIFT Announces Tony Angelo as Technical Manager

Long Beach, Calif. –March 3, 2010 – Formula DRIFT has announced that Tony Angelo will add to his current role and responsibility as a Formula DRIFT judge by also serving as new Technical Manager. The position focuses primarily on competition vehicle compliance and enforcement of Formula DRIFT technical regulations as stated in the Formula DRIFT rulebook.

“Creating a Series that has staff that understands drift cars, how they are built and perform is paramount to our growth and success, so having Tony Angelo on as the Technical Manager is a great step for us,” said Ryan Sage, executive vice-president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Tony has essentially committed to making this a full-time endeavor and he is ready to tackle issues and items that come up at a moment’s notice. Having personally worked with Tony at other capacities has opened my eyes to his ability to be non-bias and objective, which is absolutely necessary for us.”

The Technical Manager position entails many responsibilities with a focus on compliance and eligibility of vehicles according to the rulebook and specific items including recording and maintaining a detailed technical record of each vehicle, assigning Formula DRIFT VID numbers, consulting with Formula DRIFT administrative officials and the Formula DRIFT Chief Steward on rulebook development and modification, and administering mid-season technical inspections. Angelo has also been instrumental in helping to bring new developments to the current rulebook.

“Tony Angelo has been involved with safety and technical inspections of drift cars on many performance levels since 2003,” said Jim Liaw president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “His experience as a driver, builder, and judge makes him qualified to take over this new role. His technical knowledge of the current competition chassis and drifting rules since 2003 as well as his ability to be articulate will help level the playing field across all drive train platforms.”

Additionally, the Technical Manager will be responsible for working with teams to resolve any questions/issues regarding different builds, technical inspections, and writing any technical bulletins. Tony will still serve as one of the three main judges for the 2010 Formula DRIFT Championship season.