Recently celebrating their 10 year anniversary, Formula DRIFT announced some changes to ensure their growth for another 10 years. With just a few weeks from the start of the 2014 Formula DRIFT season, get familiar with some major changes coming.
Return to Florida
After a one year absence, Formula DRIFT will be making its return to Florida - but not at Palm Beach International Raceway where it was previously being held. Formula DRIFT will be heading further south to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time. Like Texas Motor Speedway, Homestead is also on the NASCAR schedule and hosts its series finale.
Though track layout has not yet been revealed, we expect a similar layout as Texas Motor Speedway. The same long straights of in-field road course should make for very fast entry speeds.
Pro 2 Series
As previously hinted by FD Technical Advisor, Kevin Wells, Formula DRIFT has created the Pro 2 Series. The Pro 2 series was created in response to the widening gap between seasoned veterans of the series and new drivers - easing the financial burden and transition from making the leap from Pro-Am to the Pro Championship.
The series serves as a bridge - creating a structure where drivers can progress up the ladder in Formula DRIFT, maintaining a competitive edge with less of a financial jump. Drivers will have to earn their way from Pro-Am into Pro 2 before moving on to the Pro Championship. Pro Championship drivers that are unable to meet the minimum to renew their Pro Championship license can also compete in the Pro 2 series
Both series will share the same rules and regulations. The Pro 2 series will have 4 events (Homestead, Texas Motor Speedway, Irwindale and another event yet to be announced) through the Pro Series season with its own prize money. Competition will run as a Top 16 bracket with qualifying leading into the head-to-head competition similar to the Pro Championship.
US and Asia series merger
In a move to make drifting a truly global sport, Formula DRIFT USA and Formula DRIFT Asia have merged operations. “The gold standard in international motorsport is that when a championship series is able to be held on three continents, then it can be classified as a world championship” says Formula DRIFT co-founder Jim Liaw.
By 2015, Formula DRIFT plans to roll the US and Asia events as well as possible new host venues into a points championship that will include events on at least three different continents. A new Formula DRIFT World Championship will be created as the first global championship for drifting with its own prize purse, media package and champion. Drivers like Daigo Saito, Robbie Nishida, Ken Gushi and Fredric Aasbo already compete in Formula DRIFT events on both sides of the pacific.
In a separate move, Formula DRIFT announced the Formula DRIFT Japan series late 2013. Formula DRIFT Japan will hold two competition events in 2014 with drifting icons Nobuteru Taniguchi and Max Orido confirmed as judges. This inaugural season will be a precursor to the Formula DRIFT Japan Championship in 2015.
Below is the 2014 Global Championship Schedule spanning 3 continents, 4 countries and 6 states.
Asia Round 1 - Pathum Thani Speedway, Thailand - January 18-19
Round 1 - Streets of Long Beach – Long Beach, CA – April 4-5
Invitational: Streets of Long Beach (Super Drift Challenge part of the Long Beach GP) - Long Beach, CA - April 11-12
Round 2 - Road to the Championship – Road Atlanta – Atlanta, GA – May 9-10
Round 3 - Invasion – Homestead Miami Speedway – Miami, FL – May 30-31
Round 4 - The Gauntlet – Wall Speedway - Wall, NJ – June 20-21
Asia Round 2 - Fuji Speedway, Japan - July 5-6
Round 5 - Throwdown – Evergreen Speedway - Monroe, WA – July 18-19
Invitational: Autodrome St. Eustache - August 30-31
Round 6 - Showdown - Texas Motor Speedway – September 12-13
Round 7 - Title Fight – Toyota Speedway at Irwindale – Irwindale, CA - October 10-11
Asia Round 3 - Sydney Motorsports Park, Australia - October 18-19
We will have more news and coverage though the season, starting with Round 1 on the Streets of Long Beach, April 4-5!