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Review and Evaluation Method for Formula Drift Championships

Ever wondered how to evaluate the Formula Drift championship?

Drifting or drift is certainly not a stranger anymore. We have often seen cars drift whether it’s in photos, commercials, movies, TV, and others. Then, what about the drift championship? The current drift championship is practically unfamiliar to most people.

Unlike other car racing matches, in the drift championship racers do not compete speed to the finish. In fact, the track is very short. One run or one match can be under 1 minute!

So, where is the game then?

Drift championships are conducted with a grading or judging system. Some aspects of the criteria will be judged by the judges and racers with the most points. This is very different from other motorsport championships. We can see similar championships such as skateboarding or freestyle motocross championships.

Well, Formula Drift is one of the most popular and prestigious drift championships in the world. This championship is still relatively new compared to other world car championships such as Formula 1, Nascar, Le Mans, and others. Nevertheless, Formula Drift is slowly gaining popularity in the eyes of fans of world drifts and car enthusiasm who are getting interested in drifts.

In this review we will review Formula Drift. Starting from history, how to judge, to the competition system.

Are you ready for the coffee? Let’s just start.

A Brief History of Formula Drift

Have you ever heard of the D1 Grand Prix? This is the drift championship from drift hometown namely in Japan. D1, which was also initiated by Drift King, Keiichi Tsuchiya, began to be competed in 1999. After a few years, this championship grew in popularity and began to develop to other countries. Series D1 spreads to America, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Malaysia.

In August 2003, Jim Liaw and Ryan Sage initiated the D1 competition in America. This championship event then inspired them to create their own drift championship. Then at the 2003 SEMA Show, they officially announced the formation of the Formula Drift Championship series. A year later, in May 2004, finally Formula Drift was first held. At that time, this championship consisted of only 4 rounds.

To promote the name Formula Drift, they once held the Red Bull Drift World Championship, which was participated by 32 racers from 12 countries. Formula Drift has also held exhibitions in the UAE and Qatar. In addition, they also held the Formula Drift Asia series, Canadian Formula Drift and Japanese Formula Drift.

At present, Formula Drift, which has reached 15 years of age, is competed with the 8 rounds of competition, 2 classes (Pro & Pro 2), and is followed by 60 racers.


As mentioned earlier, the drift championship uses a judging system to determine the winner. The total number of judges is 3 judges who are professional judges and drifter veterans. The judges will score by considering the assessment criteria. The maximum score is 100. In some other drift championships, one judge evaluates one type of evaluation criteria. For example, jury A evaluates the line, jury B evaluates the angle, etc. Well, the scores of all the judges are then added up and averaged. This is the final score of the racer.

In the Formula Drift championship, the scoring system is done by sorting out scores based on mistakes made. Each racer has a score of 100 at the start of the match which will then be reduced by the number and type of mistakes made. The more specific the error, the greater the score decreases.

The score of each match will be immediately decided and displayed live on the big screen in the arena of the match.

Judges are placed in a clear view of the entire track area. Usually at height. If there are still points that are vulnerable to blindspot, the judge will order the committee to place the camera. Instant replays will be used from this camera to increase the accuracy of the assessment.

Championships that use a judging system are sometimes vulnerable to ambiguous decisions. In Formula Drift transparency evaluation is important. Any confusion will be immediately clarified by the judges by directly giving reasons and an analysis of the decisions taken.

Assessment criteria

Assessment criteria are divided into 4 aspects, namely line, angle, style, and speed. Not infrequently, the judges also ask for additional aspects from the drivers that will affect the assessment. For example, such as entry techniques, proximity / distance of a car, and others. Usually this request is given at the drivers meeting before the game starts.

The following is a brief explanation of the 4 Formula Drift evaluation criteria.


We once discussed racing line, which is an imaginary line used during racing, especially during  cornering. Now the line here has almost the same meaning but is optimized for drifting. In addition, the jury has determined which lane or trajectory must be traversed by the drivers.

In the line there are clipping points which are points that have been determined and must be approached by the racer as close as possible. These points are placed in the form of poles, poles or other markers along the line. Rear clipping point is placed outside the track and must be approached by the back of the car. Instead, the front clipping point is placed inside the track and must be approached by the front of the car.

So, do not just arbitrarily at will. But there really are paths and points that have been determined to be passed / approached.


This angle in short the magnitude of the angle of the car to drag hehe. The more persistent, the better the assessment. However, the greater angle also affects the speed of the car which is also another evaluation criteria. Drivers must find the right balance between the two.

When assessing the angle, the judges will also pay attention to the steering input and smooth transition at each corner. When dragging the driver can correct the amount of this angle by changing the steering input. Now this affects the judgment. The more minimal corrections made, the better the assessment.


This criterion has several sub-categories of aspects of assessment namely initiation, stability, and commitment.

The initiation is seen at the beginning of the drift car at each corner. Which car initiates faster drift with a large angle and minimal correction. Smooth drifts and minimum corrections along track tracks have good stability ratings. Commitment is assessed by the stability of the acceleration, the stability of the distance with clipping points, the stability of the distance with the lead car (when tandem).

The engine roar and the amount of tire smoke can also be taken into account in the style criteria.


This speed is actually included in some of the assessment criteria above. The faster the speeding alias alias car drags, the better. Speed ​​is also noted in the driver’s consistency or commitment to speed at each corner along the track.

Speeds at the first corner or initial entry will be monitored through a speed trap. The next speed to the end of the track will be judged subjectively in the eyes of the judges.

Match System

Formula Drift competition is divided into two namely qualifying and competition. Qualifying or qualifying session is certainly familiar to us in a match. In car racing generally this qualification session is intended to find a starting position or grid order.

Now in Formula Drift, the qualification session is intended as a preliminary allowance for racers and determine the match between racers (tandem).

At the time of qualification, each racer will be given 2 times the opportunity to do a solo drift. The judges will evaluate according to the criteria previously stated. The highest value of 2 times the solo drift will then be used as a racer qualification value. The racers with the 32 greatest values ​​are entitled to advance to the competition round.

Of the 32 racers will then be paired for the main round of the tandem match. The rule is racers of the highest score are paired with racers of the lowest score. So racer 1 with racer 32, 2 vs 31, 3 vs 30, and so on.

This is where 32 racers who have been paired earlier will compete in tandem drift skills. In this match two cars will drift simultaneously, side by side. Each racer will defeat his enemy by showing better driving skills than his enemy.

First of all, the racer with the largest qualification value will be the lead or car with the position in front. After that, it will be reversed. The racer with low qualification value is the lead.

Assessment criteria at the time of qualification namely line, angle, style, and speed are used for the drivers in front. Well, the task of the driver behind (chase) is to be able to follow the lead as closely as possible without touching his car. In addition, the chase must also be able to imitate (mimic) the entire movement of leads. In short be the shadow of the lead car. The thinner the distance and the more the movement, the better. This will put pressure on the lead car, so it is not uncommon for the lead car to lose concentration and make mistakes.

After that the Jury will then give an assessment. Which racer has the bigger point. If the result is a draw, then the judge will give “One More Time” alias repeat the match until the winner comes out.

Penalty and Time Out

Drivers can be subject to a score of 0 if they do the following.

  1. Two tires out of the track track.
  2. No or wrong line follow.
  3. Completely stop drifting, spin (spin), stop completely in the middle of the game, and or the entire car off the track
  4. The actual crash / collision can be avoided (avoidable contact)
  5. Following the lead racer. Unless the lead racer stops completely or exits the track.

In the match, every racer has 1 chance to time out. This is done if the car has a problem and must be repaired first. If until the specified time the driver can not continue, the enemy will be invited to do a solo lap.

Thus the review this time. For some people, Formula Drift is a kind of Hollywood drifting. In other words, it is packed so sparkly, majestic, festive. But the soul drifting is not felt. What do you think?

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