Also a change was the move from 150 lbs. ballast to only 50 lbs. When I emailed Kevin Wells, this year's Technical Manager for Formula Drift and taking over duties for the now competing Tony Angelo, about the many new rules, he added this, “The 10mm down shift in tire size is believed to further balance out the competition and make closer tandem rounds. The 50lbs of ballast is to prevent competitors from moving up or down multiple weight classes.”
|That's right, former crew chief for Chris Forsberg, Kevin Wells, is now your Technical Manager for 2012!|
|Ballast is now limited to only 50lbs. where it was 150lbs. That's a big loss to use, but it is to prevent moving in and out of weight classes too.|
There are only a couple of oddball things I can find here, the first is the span of the first two weight classes is 299lbs. From 2700-2799lbs. to 3200-3299lbs., the span is 99 lbs. between all classes. This may be a future adjustment later in the year, but I haven't contacted anyone from Formula Drift about it yet.
|As you have seen from the Matt Powers articles here on MotoIQ, weight is critical and must be taken out where you can. However, you must be careful on the amount of weight this year since it can change your tire class drastically!|
The second that puzzled me was about tire weights. Coming from the service side of the automotive business, I know that we use different types of weights to get tires to balance and have heard of liquid and internal loose weights. We mostly used loose weights on large trucks in the form of weighted plastic balls and not many trusted liquid weights, but they were used a lot in the early days of tire balancing prior to the stick-on and knock-on wheel weights. The rule states “Tire balancing with fluids or internal loose weights is prohibited,” and it puzzled me. What kind of advantage could you really gain?
|Honestly, I probably would trust Tire Balance beads over liquid balance just simply because it wouldn't interfere with modern tire pressure sensors, but that's the technician in me. Liquid Balance works, but just isn't legal in Formula Drift.|
Turns out someone was, or was rumored to be, using liquid weights to gain an advantage. This was either to lose some weight by letting the liquid drain via centrifugal force or perhaps by adding a traction modifier from inside the tires. Did it work? I don't really know, but Kevin Wells stated this, “This rule is intended to keep foreign substances from being added inside the vehicle tires. By not having foreign substance in the tires, we don't have to be concerned about what they are made of.” Something must have worked or they wouldn't have added the rule.
|Normally, you'd soak a tire from the outside, so Internal Tire Soaking is a new one on me, but it was rumored in 2011. If it was true or not, we don't know but there won't be any doubt with the new rules!|