Drifting Explained; Formula D Round 3 the Wall!

 Dai Yoshihara

Drifting Explained; Formula D Round 3 the Wall!

Text and photos by Sarah Forst

To be honest, I usually am not too keenly interested in drifting, being a road racer with my roots in drag racing. But since Formula D’s third round is located in Wall, New Jersey, a relatively short drive from my house, I decided that it might be a fun thing to cover this event for MotoIQ.  I also decided to investigate the judging process and explain some of that as well to demystify how these events are scored to the uninformed.

Tyler McQuarrie
Tyler McQuarrie shows what The Wall is all about: the wall.  Tyler got so close he cleaned off his bumpers several times during the weekend.

The Gauntlet:

The first drift event I ever attended was the D1GP at California Speedway in December 2004.  Back then, the Japanese drivers dominated.  Since then, other drivers from around the world have established themselves in drifting circuits as competitive.  Formula Drift is the well-known North American professional drifting championship with 7 events held at various tracks around the country for 2010.  I’ve never tried drifting myself- on purpose at least!  I’m more familiar with hotlapping on a road course or drag racing but I’m convinced now of how much skill is needed to push a car to lose traction while still keeping it under control, maintaining speed, and not over-rotating it or mating with a wall or another car.  It almost seems counterintuitive to how I want a car to behave.

vaughn gittin jr.
Second Place finisher Vaugh Gittin Jr. ran tough all weekend long with no mistakes.

Round 3 of the Formula Drift 2010 series, “The Gauntlet,” was held at Wall Speedway June 4th and 5th.  It was bound to be exciting.  The course is bumpy and has a 16 degree banked oval on the straightaway with 30 degrees in the turns and a hard banked turn into the infield transition.  I arrived Friday afternoon in time for the qualifying and practice sessions.  Besides a few bumpers, there weren’t many casualties.  These engines are set up to handle a lot of abuse and the chassis are modular which makes it easy to replace a bumper or fender quickly.  For a full list of the 32 qualifiers, follow the link to the official Formula Drift website here.

Michihiro Takatori
Michihiro Takatori was consistent in his supercharged VQ-powered S15 but lacked the speed of the faster V8-powered cars.



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