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Round One: Streets of Long Beach | Formula Drift 2015 | How to Qualify at FDLB

Written by Nicole James

Photography by Hans Marquez and Matthew Fink

[dropcap style=”style1″]T[/dropcap]he 2015 Formula Drift Series has kicked off in Long Beach California on this beautiful Friday, April 10th. The Streets of Long Beach track takes place on the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Street Course and utilizes turns 9, 10, and 11.

DSC_7292EDrivers competing in this years event had a drivers meeting to start the day followed by a few hours of practice. Practice was closed off to the public and allowed drivers to get familiar with the course before the qualifying rounds begin.

Last year, Series Champion Chris Forsberg took home the first place podium on this track, followed by Kenn Moen and Michael Essa.

To qualify for the top 32, drivers are given two opportunity’s judged on line, angle, and style or overall impression. After the top 32 has been established the Tandem runs will begin and the individual drivers will be judged on line, angle, and style as well as some additional criteria.

The Drift Line is similar to the normal race line and is defined by Formula Drift as “the ideal path a vehicle must take on course and is marked by inner clipping points and outer clipping zones.” The Formula Drift judges not only dictate the line of this event but every event after and look to utilize the entire track from wall to wall. A specific judge is in charge of judging the line and will give a number ranking of 1 to 25 based on how well each driver followed the line.

The next thing the drivers need to worry about to qualify is the angle. Formula Drift has also dedicated a single judge to over see the slip angle the driver uses over the course of the qualifying pass. The judge will give the drivers more points for pushing the limits in as many places as possible. Steering adjustments should be minimal and during a corner, while smooth transitions will maximize points as well. Again, this portion will be made up of a score of 1 to 25.

IMG_2978_wmDrivers will also be judged on the style of their qualifying runs. The Formula Drift judge will review the overall smoothness and excitement of the run, which includes things like aggressive flicks, how close the car gets to the wall, extreme angles, degree of difficulty, and the proximity of the chase car to the lead car in a tandem. The style judge will be giving a score from 1 to 30. Additional, both the line and angle judges can provide a style score between one and 10.

While these are all things the drivers need to keep in mind, their are a few things that will result in an automatic zero in either single runs or tandem runs. An incomplete initiation or an initiation after the last initiation point will result in a zero as well as spinning out, obvious straightening that would require a re-initiation to continue the course, two tires off course. Additionally any hood, hatch, or doors open during the run will result in an automatic zero as well as hitting anything that will cause a change in the cars drift.

When in a tandem battle, any contact to the other driver that is considered avoidable will result in a zero in addition to the chase driver not actively chasing the lead car through the course, and passing the lead car illegally.

The qualifying rounds will begin at 1:00 pm today and continue until 3:00 pm, followed by an autograph signing session at 3:35 pm.

Tomorrow, April 11th, the main competition will start at 11:00 Am.

For a live video stream of the qualifying rounds, visit the Formula Drift website.


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