Making points, and exploring the points of Formula Drift tire rules

Making points, and exploring the points of Formula Drift tire rules

Competitors head to Monroe, Washington, for competition this weekend

We are four rounds into the Formula Drift Pro1 and two rounds into the Pro2 seasons. Here are the standings, the point system and tire rules:

Pro1

  1. Fredric Aasbo, 295
  2. Odi Bakchis, 292
  3. Ryan Tuerck, 239
  4. Chris Forsberg, 236
  5. James Deane, 221

Pro2

  1. Trenton Beechum, 126
  2. Josh Robinson, 123
  3. Kenric Meyer, 85
  4. Garrett Denton, 85
  5. Branden Sorensen, 84

Points are awarded based on the highest finishing position in qualifying and in the tournament-bracket competition as follows:

For qualifying —

1st = 6
2nd = 5
3rd = 4
4th – 8th = 3
9th – 16th = 2
17th – 32nd = 1

For tandem-bracket competiton —

1st = 100
2nd = 80
3rd = 64
4th – 8th = 48
9th – 16th – 32
17th – 32nd – 16

Fredric Aasbo currently leads the 2019 Formula Drift series

Fredric Aasbo currently leads the 2019 Formula Drift series | Rebecca Nguyen photos

In Pro1, Fredric Aasbo currently leads the 2019 Formula Drift series, the 2015 champion, leads with Odi Bakchis just 3 points behind. With an incredible charge following a major upset in Long Beach, California, Ryan Tuerck won first place in Wall, New Jersey, and moved up to third for the championship.

In Pro2 Trenton Beechum clings to the points lead after an early exit in Round 2, which was won by Josh Robinson, who moved to within 3 points of first place.

Competition resumes July 19 in Monroe, Washington, and the teams go into the weekend after a long break during which they could make adjustments to their cars.

 

Chris Forsberg abides by the tires rules while utilizing Nexen tires at Formula Drift Seattle

Chris Forsberg abides by the tire rules while utilizing Nexen tires at Formula Drift Seattle

One of those adjustments likely involves tires, or at least making sure cars enable tires to maximize their performance. Tires are the most important component in motorsports competition. Regardless of the competitive series, maximizing tire performance is crucial in every aspect of the motorsports.

As in most racing series, Formula Drift rules limit the grip level and size of tires allowed for the cars in Formula Drift.

There was a time when you could run any tire size you wanted while also making  unlimited engine modifications. You can imagine the cars as  lateral grip rockets with less angle than we see today in Pro1.

To fix this, Formula Drift introduced the “Tire to Weight” rule in 2011 for Pro1.  Cars were weighed in competition-ready form with the driver on board. Once the weight was determined, the car is assigned a tire size-range limitation. The purpose is to force all teams to find a balance between vehicle power and driver skill.

Pro1 driver Jeff Jones warms up his tires in the burn-out box

Pro1 driver Jeff Jones warms up his tires in the burn-out box

This proved very effective and the battles improved greatly as drivers became acclimated to the rules. This, in turn, allowed for development for larger cars, such as the Cadillac ATS, Ferrari 599 and Ford Mustang, to become more competitive.

Tires are measured at each event with a special tool to determine the actual contact patch and using that data to determine if a tire on a car is legal for competition. All teams have this information and have access to the Formula Drive technical staff to verify they will pass tech before arriving to the event. After the event winner is determined, all three cars on the podium are re-inspected for weight and tire size.

Pro2 does things differently.  In an effort to provide for solid skill development, Pro2 limits all tires to 260mm on the car. No matter the power or how heavy the car, that is the size. This tire rule was adopted to give Pro2 drivers a more even competition to reduce the impact of money spent on car set up.

Piotr Wiecek pushing Ken Gushi in this tandem practice run

Piotr Wiecek pushing Ken Gushi in this tandem practice run | Rebecca Nguyen photos

The tire rules have been a challenge for ProAM teams entering Pro2. In the last article I went over how some ProAM drivers struggled in their rookie Pro2 seasons as they came up from series with no tire regulations.

But the Formula Drift tire rule is designed to help teams build cars that will help them learn how to set up properly for Pro2 competition in the more manageable ProAM level.

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  • Stephen Williamson
    July 19, 2019, 9:46 PM

    Hello I’m going to experience drifting for the first time with my sons, you get shown how to drift and your given 6 laps and the 6 laps with an experienced drifter, in a Nissan Skyline or Lexus 200, this is going to be a fun day out, anybody got any tips

    REPLY
    • Bryan Young@Stephen Williamson
      July 23, 2019, 8:24 AM

      Hi Stephen. What part of the country are you and your sons going drifting? What is the experience level of your sons drifting skills? Assuming this is still a new experience being explored, my best advice is to ask for instructions from the organizers or assigned instructors of the event you are attending. Getting the basic skills of performing donuts rotating in either direction as well as linking figure 8s. getting used to how the car handles its weight distribution between transitions from one side of the 8 to the other. expanding on these basics will give you a solid foundation to feel confident when traveling in faster speeds to initiate a drift into a corner on the track. Having an instructor ride along to give tips is very beneficial. What I would suggest to always maintain is to always look to where you want the car to go. The basic skills you mastered will instinctively keep you in drift around the corners in moderate speeds, and then keep practicing this and your comfort level behind the wheel will shine.

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