Under the old rules you were allowed to change the suspension pick up points on the spindle or axle side of the suspension but not on the chassis. This gave live axle cars like Mustanges or the AE86 Corolla a huge advantage over other cars with IRS rear suspension.
One of the advantages that a solid-axle (or live axle, or how ever you may call the rear suspensions for a Corolla or Mustang) haved under the old rules was the ability to change their roll-center, pinion angle, and anti-squat. On cars like the Mustang or Corolla, they use links to keep the rear-end traveling in its vertical motion and center it. Changing the position of those links, on the rear end housing, changes a cars handling drastically as it changes the way rotation and other forces act on the chassis of the car. I won't go into it and will let Mike Kojima handle the mindblowing amounts of changes you can make with adjusting four-links at the axles side only.
|It's amazing in just the amount of change you can gain by just changing the position of those four links. You can drastically change how the car behaves!|
For this year, the solid-rear-axle guys don't have as much of an advantage as they did last year as now you can move the suspension mounting points on the rear subframe within two inches of the oem mount. This means 2 inches on any plane. You can move up 2 inches but if you move the mount left 2.5 inches, you're out of specifications. So why is this a big deal? Well, it will allow Independent Rear Suspension, or IRS, cars to move their suspension arms to correct roll center and anti-squat, just like a Solid-Axle car.
|Now IRS cars like the 240SX, 2013 Camaro and 350Z can get the same suspension geometry advantages as the SRA cars!|
The final note I would like to make on the 2012 Rule Changes is this, and to me personally this is a great change that could make drifting more accessible in some terms. For many years there was this nearly invisible rule in drifting about what cars could enter and what couldn't, it was called Appendix K.
Everyone had an idea on what could enter, you knew the S-chassis and Corollas could enter, you saw them. However, in the rulebook you were never given a criteria on what made one car Formula Drift Legal and what didn't. It was only in Appendix K and if you didn't have access to it, you didn't know what cars were legal or illegal. Appendix K existed, don't get me wrong, but if you weren't a team or a manufacturer, you usually weren't given access to it.
|Wait, what about Appendix K?!|
This really made getting a new chassis in Formula Drift diffcult, because if you didn't know what was in Appendix K, you didn't know if taking an AWD or 4WD based car and turning it into a RWD car would be legal. It could also make it a headache to Pro-Am and teams outside of Formula Drift if they had a car that was compeating in their series but they might not easily know if their car was legal in FD.
Well, in 2012, Appendix K is no more! Now we have a defined set of rules on what makes a car legal in Formula Drift. Here is how it goes:
“8. COMPETITION VEHICLES
8.1. VEHICLE ELEGIBILTIY
8.1.1. Eligible models must have been considered a “production car” and have had a minimum build run of 600 units in their model year.
8.1.2. Eligible body styles include: coupe, sedan, convertible or wagon and have no more than 5 doors.
8.1.3. Vehicles must maintain the original OEM unibody and/or frame structure between the OEM front and rear suspension mounting points.
8.1.4. Vehicles that do not meet the above eligibility criteria must petition for approval from FORMULA DRIFT.
8.1.5. No trucks or SUVs will be allowed.
8.1.6. Vehicles must be made from metal construction. Vehicles with composite frame or unibodies are not eligible. Vehicles with aluminum construction must contact FORMULA DRIFT for roll cage specifications.”
|“Wait, I can enter the ol' Shoebox in?” Yeah, but, why?|
Look at that! You now know what can enter Formula Drift and what can't! Will this mean we'll see Fox Body Mustangs, Ferrari FFs, or even a Lamborgini compete? Really, save for the Fox Mustang, it depends. Doug Artus comments on the removal of Appendix K, “The main reason is to allow the FWD Converted cars, such as the Scion tC, to compete and to also make the rulebook appear more open and friendly to various types of chassis.” Doug continues, “Where as before, if you were in the (drifting) community, you kind of knew and you could ask us, you could go through the approval process, where as now, you don't have to be a part of the community, you can look at the rulebook and be like, “Hey, they allow almost any type of lower end car.” Also, because of the 600 production run rule,… I didn't want any Zondas to show up.”
|Yes, if someone was foolish enough to enter a hard to find BMW 2002, or similar car, they could! Why they would, I don't have a clue!|
|Sorry, Mr. Ferrari, I don't think you can drift your car in Formula Drift!|