Drifting is a driving technique in which the driver takes the line that is decided upon by the judges of the event. Generally this line is one that provides the highest speed and angle the car is capable of handling.
The Drift Colorado Championship consists of a scheduled number of Championship “Rounds” in which drivers compete in a single elimination bracket. Drivers individually compete “head-to- head” against other competitors in single elimination runs on an open course layout. Competitors progress through a “competition bracket” and are awarded points towards a season championship.
Head to head “Runs” are judged and scored based on a number of pre determined criteria with the higher scoring entry moves on to the next level of the bracket. Points are awarded based on finishing order and cumulative season points will determine the championship order.
Changes Effective 2017
Zeros: spins, excessive understeer or straightening, going completely off course, and excessive mistakes in other areas resulting in a run that is deemed too difficult to score.
Clipping points and zones: will have staggered distance markers to help with consistent scoring. More points will be awarded for maintaining close proximity to the clipping points and zones throughout the course. Drivers will not be penalized for slightly hitting clipping points or going slightly too deep into zones (ex. dropping a tire), but going too far off course or not getting close enough will result in deductions. Judges would prefer to see a more aggressive line compared to a more conservative line.
Commitment: is key. Higher scores will be awarded to those who commit fully to the course. Drivers must maintain full throttle from the start line until they have entered the first corner, and should maintain an aggressive line and high slip angle throughout the course. Drivers who fail to maintain full throttle into their initiation point will cause problems during tandem and their scores will be heavily deducted points from their scores.
Driving Style: will be taken into consideration for a driver’s overall score. Judges typically will be looking for aggressive driving style that shows confidence and commitment. Snappy entries, early entires, high rate to angle during entry and transitions, maintaining high angle, aggressive throttle commitment, minimal steering corrections, etc.. are examples of techniques that will be awarded higher points.
Handbrake and left-foot brake will be considered tools for maintaining line and angle and will not cause deductions when used in proper areas of the course. Excessive use of either of these techniques will be looked down upon.
Top 16 competition brackets will be judged as two independent runs. Drivers should do their best to perform their best qualifying run regardless of their ‘lead’ or ‘follow’ position in the bracket. The two runs will be compared and the higher scoring driver will advance. If no driver has more points after both runs, they will complete a ‘One more run’, and the driver with the advantage after that will advance.
Lead: driver is responsible for maintaining their best qualifying run and needs to stay at high angle and on a proper line on the course.
Lead drivers will NOT be awarded for ‘pulling a gap’ from the following driver, and an attempt to drive a ‘faster’ line will be looked down upon a result in a deduction from their score.
It is the lead drivers duty to provide the follow driver with a good line to follow, and will be judged accordingly.
Lead driver needs to maintain a consistent style of initiation between qualifying and tandem in order to provide a consistent line and style to follow
Speed will not be used to score, but will be taken into consideration to determine the lead driver’s consistency.
Follow: driver should do their best to maintain close proximity to the lead driver.
The lead car is considered a ‘moving clipping point’ and should be followed regardless of their line. Judges will take into consideration the quality of the lead driver’s run when determining the follow driver’s score.
Proximity should be stressed during the beginning of the track. An aggressive close proximity entry by the follow driver will be scored higher than gradually increasing proximity throughout the course.
Falling back slightly at the end of the course may not be deducted IF the follow driver shows an aggressive follow from the first corner and maintains the lead driver’s line through the remainder of the course.
Proximity should be stressed. Minor corrections and mistakes may be overlooked if they result a close proximity follow of the lead driver’s line.
Both drivers: will take turns in the lead/follow position, with the higher qualifier leading first.
Each judge will have 10 points to score between the two drivers for each run, with more points going to the driver with a higher advantage (eg. 7 to 3). After both runs have been completed, the higher scoring driver advances. If no driver has more points after both runs, they will complete a ‘One more run’, and the driver with the advantage after that will advance.
The criteria for judging are as follows:
Speed is the only non-subjective criteria. Speed is used by monitoring a drivers speed at a specific part of the course. Each course will have a minimum of one, but possibly two speed areas. Speed will be captured at those areas and given a designated points scale based on the average speed generated through the weekend from the driver pool. This system helps those drivers that may gain an advantage in points by “drag racing” to a certain speed zone.
The maximum steering angle at which a driver can maintain and control his/her vehicle throughout the marked course.
The drift line is defined as the ideal path a vehicle must take on course and is marked by inner clipping points and zones, and outer clipping points and zones, and transition zones. Inner Clipping Points are reference points on the course where the vehicles front bumper should come as close as possible to the reference point. Outer Clipping Points are reference points are scored by determining how close the corner of the vehicle’s rear bumper comes to the point. Transition Zones are areas on track where the direction of the line changes and vehicles must change the direction of their drift. Scoring will be based on the execution of the transition. The drift line will be given during the drivers’ meeting.
Style is probably the most subjective part of the drifters’ runs. Style is just what it sounds like: The drivers overall ability to take the specific judging criteria and display it is the most personal way each driver can. That is the essence of style.
All competitors will be required to “qualify” in order to make the competition.
A) Qualifying Scoring
In qualifying, each judge will be assigned to Line, Angle, or Style. Each judge will have a possible 30 points to award in .25 point increments. The judges combined scores plus a possible 10 speed points that will be determined by measuring speed. Qualifying score ties will be resolved by the driver with the higher measured speed.
Anytime a driver spins out or experiences major under-steer during a run, a 0 score will be awarded.
C) Off Course
Unless otherwise specified during the judging meetings, if at any time 4 tires or more are off course during a run, the driver will be given a score of “0”.
D) Clipping Zones
Cones or other similar marking will denote all clipping points, either inner or outer. Anytime an “Inner Clipping Cone” is hit, the vehicle will be considered to be off course, and points will either be deducted or the driver will be scored a 0, depending on the severity of the hit. Hitting an “Outer Clipping Cone” with anything other than the driver’s rear bumper will be counted as off course and will be scored a 0. (ie. hitting the cone with the rear tire, door, etc.)
Slight contact with a wall or cone in the “Outer Clipping Zone” will not result in a point deduction if the hit does not disturb or affect the course of the drivers run. This means no major corrections were needed after the hit and the driver was still able to maintain good line, speed, and angle. If the hit occurs at any other point on track other than the marked “Outer Clipping Zones” points may be deducted. If a spin or major under steer results from contact with an “Outer Clipping Zone” an automatic score of 0 will be given.
E) In the event that qualifying cannot be completed, such as a rain-out or other circumstances, qualifying order will be established by rank, or by previous season points.
Tandem Elimination Rounds
Tandem rounds are based on two (2) runs, in Head-to- Head format, with competitors paired up based on seeding position. The higher qualifier will lead the first run and the second led by the lower qualifier.
The critical success factor is for the lead car to be able to run the course without error while being pressured by the chase car. The chase car is to try and “out drive” the lead car. Driver consistency during a tandem battle is critical.
A) Lead Car
The lead car must be able to clear the course without making any errors due to distraction or pressure by the chase car trailing close behind.
B) Chase Car
In general, the chase car needs to treat the lead car as a moving clipping point. The chase car needs to run the same basic line as the lead car. Taking a lower line than the lead car will result in a loss of advantage. If the lead car is off line, then the chase car will gain advantage points by staying in close proximity to the lead car. The chase car should keep as close to the lead car as possible to gain the advantage.
Passing is not encouraged during tandem battles. Passing is only allowed if the lead car is well off line, or is clearly specified by a judge in the drivers meeting. Passing must be executed in a safe and professional manner. A safe pass is one that is done in such a way that the car being passed does not lose any speed after the pass is complete. Passing must be done while in drift, without interrupting the line of the car being passed and in the proper line. If a pass results in contact, the passing car may be penalized.
Vehicle contact in drifting is something that Formula DRIFT recognizes as part of the sport, however contact of vehicles while in head-to- head battle requires specific rulings and guidelines as follows.
A) LEAD CAR:
The lead car must be required at all times to run the line given by the judges and also maintain adequate speed throughout the course. If the lead car measures untypical speed, this may result in a score against that driver. Untypical speed is defined as speeds of equivalent measurement from qualifying speeds. Some slight variance (+5, -5) is in most cases acceptable.
If the lead car loses drift, goes off line or reduces speed too drastically in comparison to that particular driver’s qualifying speeds and the chase car hits the lead car, the lead car will in most cases be deemed at fault for the contact. It is each individual judge’s job to ascertain fault. There may be circumstances where the lead car is not at fault for the contact, but this will be left to each individual judge to ascertain fault.
B) CHASE CAR:
The chase car is required at all times to follow and chase the lead car. The driver of the chase car is encouraged to know the approximate speed of the lead car through the entire course. If the chase car makes contact, in most cases that driver will be deemed at fault for the contact unless otherwise noted as per above. Contact known as “rubbing” is acceptable, however the chase car cannot affect the lead car where loss of drift or loss of line occurs.
C) DAMAGE DUE TO CONTACT:
Once contact is made and damage occurs to either vehicle, the Judges using majority rule will ascertain fault. If damage due to contact occurs, both drivers have a right to have their spotter enact a “5 Minute Rule.” It is expected that in most cases damaged vehicles can be repaired in this time frame.
In some cases, damage sustained to the vehicles may require more time to repair. At this point ONLY the vehicle not at fault may ask for additional time. (NOTE: This does not preempt teams ability to call 5 Minutes for other purposes). In the spirit of time and the show, the CHIEF STEWARD also reserves the right to continue the competition with the outstanding head-to- head matches of that particular round. The CHIEF STEWARD will re-assess the vehicle between subsequent head-to- head match up’s or even at the end of the round.
In most cases Formula DRIFT will encourage teams and drivers to finish the head-to- head match-up, but there will be cases where vehicles may not be able to be repaired or contact happened on the last run of a head-to-head in which case the judges can make a call on the winner of the match.
If a team cannot repair their vehicle and the team was also not at fault during the incident, a Formula DRIFT official will verify that indeed the car is not repairable in time for the next round and declare the driver the winner of the match. The driver may move onto the next round or if the damage is too extreme, may exit from the competition.
A pace cone, or comparable marker, may be placed on the starting straightaway to keep the Tandem Battles fair and close together. The use of a Pace Zone will be specified during the driver’s meetings.
Three Judges will observe both runs during a head to head battle. There will be no declaration of scores between the two runs. At the conclusion of the head to head battle each judge will individually declare a winner. Judges are allowed to converse but are not permitted to show their written winner to any other judge. Judge separation devices may be used. Judges will select from three options:
Driver “A” wins
Driver “B” wins
“One More Time”
The majority will rule and a winner will be decided. In the event there is no clear majority, a “One More Time” will be granted, and the competitors will begin another 2-run head-to- head battle. Multiple “One-More- Times” may be necessary to determine a winner.
Examples of Decisions:
All judging is done from the on top of the judging stand. If a clipping point is not visible from the judging stand, a flag system may be used to communicate whether a driver properly scores the clipping point.
A Spotter Stand will be placed in a comparable area to the judge’s stand to give team spotters a similar viewing perspective as the judges. During Tandem Battle, a designated team spotter is reccomended in the Spotter Stand.
5-Minute Time Out
To maintain safety in the competition, during tandem competition runs only, teams may call for a 5-minute grace period to make any necessary repairs. 5-Minute Time Outs are not allowed for Practice or Qualifying. 5-Minute Time Outs are not to be used for strategic purposes and teams must minimize 5-minute requests to keep the event progressing on time. Only the designated Team Representative will be allowed to request the 5-Minute Time Out, and it must be made through a Drift Colorado OFFICIAL. Only the CHIEF STEWARD may grant a 5-Minute Time Out. Team will not be granted a 5-Minute Time Out if it is believed to be unwarranted.
Competitors who fail to make the necessary repairs the allotted time limits will be disqualified from the competition and forfeit to the opposing driver. Teams may only use one 5-Minute Time Out per bracket round. Additional and concurrent 5-Minute Time Out requests are not allowed unless cited in other sections of these rules.
Vehicle Servicing During Tandem
Competitor vehicles cannot be serviced by their crew between the first and second runs of a tandem round. This includes tire changes, tire pressure adjustments, suspension adjustments, fueling, etc.
Top 16 Format
16 drivers will compete in single elimination head-to- head battles and win his/her way through a standard 16-Driver bracket. Tandem rounds are based on two (2) runs in Head-to- Head format, with competitors paired up based on their rank determined by qualifying. The higher ranked driver leads the first run and lower ranked driver leading the second run.
Qualifying Place Points Score
Q1 - 8
Q2 - 7
Q3 - 6
Q4 - 5
Q5 - Q6 - 4
Q7 - Q8 - 3
Q9 - Q12 - 2
Q13 - Q16 - 1
Q17 - Q24 - 0.5
Q25 and lower - 0.25
Event Place Points
Winner - 100
2nd - 88
3rd - 78
4th - 69
Top 8 Eliminated - 61
Top 16 Eliminated - 54
Top 32 Eliminated - 20