Formula D

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Formula D
Category Drifting
Country  USA
Inaugural season 2004
Tire suppliers Achilles Radial · Falken Tire · Hankook Tire · Nexen Tire · Nitto Tire
Drivers' champion Pro

2019 · Republic of IrelandJames Deane
Pro 2

2019 · United StatesTrenton Beechum
Official website
Sponsors & Affiliates
Media Partners
Previous Pro Champions Previous Pro 2 Champions
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

Formula D or Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship Presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras is the premier United States drifting series. Formula Drift, Inc. was co-founded by Jim Liaw and Ryan Sage in 2003 as a sister company to the now defunct Slipstream Global Marketing, the same partnership that introduced D1 Grand Prix to the United States. The new entity would solely own, operate and launch the first official drifting series in North America. 2018 was Formula Drift's fifteenth year of competition.

With 60 currently licensed drivers competing in Pro and Pro 2, Formula Drift is recognized as the premier North American professional drifting championship series. The series consists of an eight-round championship played out at race tracks across North America. Judged on line, angle, and style, rather than who finishes the course in the fastest time, Formula Drift brings together traditional racing and extreme sports.

Formula Drift works closely with a huge variety of sponsors such as: Black Magic Car Care, BlackVue Dash Cameras, NOS Energy Drink, and the United States Air Force. Most notably Formula Drift works with the largest amount of tire suppliers to a single series. Achilles Radial, Falken Tire, Hankook Tire, Nexen Tire, and Nitto Tire all work together to supply teams and develop test their products.


Formula Drift is home to 60+ professional drift drivers. The competition for Formula Drift licenses is intense. Drivers in the U.S. can compete in a number of regionally sanctioned Pro-Am series for licensing.

  • Evergreen Drift – Pacific Northwest
  • Hold the Line – Northeast (2011)
  • USDrift – Mid-Atlantic (2006-2008, 2013+)
  • Just Drift – Southern California
  • Lone Star Drift – Texas
  • Midwest Drift Union – Midwest
  • Southeast Drift Union – Southeast
  • Golden Gate Drift – Northern California
  • Vegas Drift – Southwest

Winners and high finishers of these feeders series are then able to enter the Formula DRIFT Pro 2 series, a secondary national tour where they compete to move up to the main series.


Drivers from around the world have set their sights on Formula Drift as the series of choice worldwide in which to compete. This also includes the legions of talented drivers from Japan, who have competed previously in the D1 Grand Prix. Other drivers who crossed over to Formula Drift from foreign series are the Irish drivers Darren McNamara, James Deane, Eric O'Sullivan, and Dean Kearney. These drivers rose to acclaim in their European home series before making the move stateside.


Current tracks

Former tracks

International presence

Formula Drift has increased its international presence every year since 2008 with the addition of demonstration and sister series in other countries. "Taking the Formula Drift brand internationally is a huge milestone. Our priority is to continue to build the Series here while growing the sport of drifting as a whole," said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula Drift. "We are very careful in choosing our event partners and take careful consideration of the boundaries of our international affiliates such as Drift Australia, MSC, and Pro Drift."[1]

Sister series

Formula Drift Asia. Formula Drift Asia was created in 2008 with the inaugural FD Singapore competition. The first real international competition of its in Asia, held at the Changi Air Show Grounds. This historic event was sold out before the gates opened. Since then, Formula Drift Asia became its own championship series, the first Pan-Asian professional drifting championship. In 2009 and 2010, the Championship made stops in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. For the 2011/2012 Championship tour, Formula Drift Asia added an additional stop in Indonesia.

FD Asia web site.

The first Formula Drift Asia Champion was Tengku Djan.

Exhibition events


Formula Drift has continued to refine its rulebook and technical regulations year to year in terms of car and competition regulations.

Car eligibility

Cars and their builds are constantly under review by the Formula Drift staff. The rule book is revised every year to promote fair and exciting drifting. Some cars and practices are written out of the rule book in order to keep a realistic and level playing field. During the 2004 season, the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe was permitted to compete; subsequently it was ineligible in Formula Drift.

Although Formula Drift does not permit front-wheel drive cars, it does allow all-wheel drive cars to be converted to rear wheel drive, such as the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi EVO. In the United States, the Scion tC is sold only in the FWD layout, but because it shares the same chassis as the AWD Toyota Avensis (sold only in the United Kingdom and Europe), it can be converted to a competition-ready RWD layout. This change sparked great debate between drifters in the series who felt that an original FWD vehicle should not be eligible due to the front cross member changes needed.

A trademark of Formula D competition cars is the very open engine rulebook. Formula Drift allows engines from other manufacturers to be swapped into competition cars. "Engine, transmission, ECU and/or final drive modifications are free, but only the rear wheels may propel the vehicle". This results in a huge variety of engine/chassis combinations as well as huge power outputs commonly in excess of 850+ whp. Vehicles wishing to compete for the Manufacturers Championship must use an engine from the same manufacturer as the chassis. Engine swaps remain very common with older models but can be seen with new builds as well. Naturally aspirated Chevrolet V8 engines are often used because of their availability and lower operating costs.

Suspension modification is widely open to development as long as stock pickup locations are utilized. Suspension tuning is a vital part of any successful Formula D team.

To keep cars in check Formula D institutes a maximum tire size based on the vehicles total weight.

Formula Drift cars are given fixed numbers for their cars and are not necessarily based on rankings.

Scoring and judging

Formula D uses its own scoring system that may differ from other drifting organizations. Often scoring systems for qualifying, tandem battles, and penalties are different.

Qualifying – Formula D competitors are allowed two non-consecutive judged solo runs to post their highest possible score in order to compete. The top 32 drivers with the highest qualifying scores are entered in a competition bracket pairing the highest scoring drivers against the lowest scoring drivers. 1st v. 32nd, 2nd v. 31st, 3rd v. 30th, etc. The drivers are judged on line, speed, angle, and overall impact. The judges can also make additional request at the drivers meeting for actions or techniques that will weigh in their decision making (ex; entry technique, racing line, proximity, etc.). Formula D drivers are scored on a points-deduction system where every driver will start their judged run with a perfect score of 100 pts. For every mistake, points will be deducted. These points will vary between .25 point to the most severe mistakes (-1.75).[2]

Competition – The top 32 qualifying drivers are paired up in an elimination bracket pairing the highest scoring drivers against the lowest scoring drivers. The biggest difference from qualifying is that now drivers face off head to head on the track in a tandem battle. The two cars run together side by side, each driver trying to show greater skill than the other. The highest qualifying driver leads on the first run, then on the second run the lower qualifying driver leads. Drivers are judged on the same basic criteria as qualifying but an emphasis is put on the interaction between the two drivers competing head to head. The lead driver will set the pace and driving line often trying to produce a gap between themselves and the following driver. The following driver will try to stay on top of the lead driver as close as possible without making contact with their vehicle. The goal is to mimic or "shadow" the lead drivers run while staying on their door throughout the run. It is possible for either driver to win either run. Often one driver will have a points advantage going into the second run. Driver mistakes (ex. 2 wheels off course, spinning out, avoidable contact, etc.) can also cause them to be given an automatic zero. The three-judge panel then will look at both runs and determine one of three outcomes; Driver 1 advances, Driver 2 advances, or if a winner can not be determined a "One More Time" will be called. In the event of a "One More Time" the drivers will then complete a new pair of runs. The drivers will face off again until a winner can be determined. The winner advance to the next bracket.

Competition Time Out – Drivers have a one-time option to utilize a "Competition Time Out" in order to attempt to fix their vehicle. In the event that a driver or car can not come to the start line in time for their tandem run the other driver will be allowed to run a solo lap to advance.

Overtaking – Formula D rules are structured so as not to encourage drivers to overtake their opponents; doing so incurs a penalty. Overtaking is only permitted when the lead car makes a mistake such as coming to a complete stop or going completely off course.[2]

The current judges are Andy Yen, Ryan Lanteigne, and Brian Eggert. Doug Artus is the Race Manager for the series.[2]

Formula Drift Champions


Year Name Car
2004 Sweden Samuel Hübinette Dodge Viper Competition Coupe
2005 New Zealand Rhys Millen Pontiac GTO
2006 Sweden Samuel Hübinette Dodge Viper SRT-10
2007 United States Tanner Foust Nissan 350Z
2008 United States Tanner Foust Nissan 350Z
2009 United States Chris Forsberg Nissan 350Z
2010 United States Vaughn Gittin Jr. Ford Mustang
2011 Japan Daijiro Yoshihara Nissan 240SX
2012 Japan Daigo Saito Lexus SC430
2013 United States Michael Essa BMW M3
2014 United States Chris Forsberg Nissan 370Z
2015 Norway Fredric Aasbø Scion tC
2016 United States Chris Forsberg Nissan 370Z
2017 Republic of Ireland James Deane Nissan Silvia
2018 Republic of Ireland James Deane Nissan Silvia
2019 Republic of Ireland James Deane Nissan Silvia


Pro 2 Champions


Rookie of the Year

Most Improved Driver

Driver of the Year

Hardest Charging Driver

Spirit of Drifting

Superstar of the Year

Best Drifting Style

Best Personal Style

Best Looking Car

  • 2011 United States Matt Field's S14[3]

Crew Member of the Year

  • 2011 Japan Mike Kojima[3]
  • 2012 Japan Mike Kojima[8]
  • 2014 United States Brian Wilkerson

Team Manager of the Year

Comeback of the Year

Fan Favorite

All-time Formula Drift Pro event winners list

  1. Norway Fredric Aasbø – 13 wins (2014 at Wall Speedway and Texas; 2015 at Long Beach, Wall, Seattle, and Irwindale; 2016 at Orlando and Canada; 2017 at Orlando and Canada; 2018 at Long Beach; 2018 at St. Louis; 2019 Road Atlanta)
  2. United States Vaughn Gittin, Jr. – 10 wins (2008 at Irwindale; 2010 at Long Beach and Sonoma; 2012 at Wall Speedway; 2012 at Seattle; 2014 at Road Atlanta and Miami; 2016 at Road Atlanta and at Wall Speedway; 2018 at Irwindale)
  3. Sweden Samuel Hübinette – 9 wins (2004 at Road Atlanta, Houston, and Infineon; 2005 at Road Atlanta and Chicago; 2006 at Long Beach, Chicago and Wall Speedway; 2007 at Summit Point)
  4. United States Chris Forsberg – 9 wins (2005 at Irwindale; 2007 at Road Atlanta and Infineon; 2008 at Long Beach; 2009 at Road Atlanta and Seattle; 2013 at Seattle; 2014 at Long Beach; 2018 at Orlando)
  5. Japan Daijiro Yoshihara – 8 wins (2006 at Irwindale; 2007 at Seattle and Wall Speedway; 2010 at Road Atlanta and Wall Speedway; 2011 at Road Atlanta and Monroe; 2013 at Long Beach)
  6. Republic of Ireland James Deane – 7 wins (2017 at Long Beach, Road Atlanta, Seattle and Texas, 2018 at Wall Speedway, 2018 at Monroe, 2019 St. Louis)
  7. United States Tanner Foust – 7 wins (2006 at Road Atlanta; 2007 at Irwindale; 2008 at Englishtown and Sonoma; 2009 at Las Vegas; 2010 at Seattle and Irwindale)
  8. New Zealand Rhys Millen – 7 wins (2004 at Irwindale; 2005 at Wall; 2006 at Infineon; 2008 at Road Atlanta and Seattle; 2011 at Las Vegas; 2012 at Las Vegas)
  9. Japan Daigo Saito – 6 wins (2012 at Palm Beach and Irwindale; 2013 at Road Atlanta, Wall Speedway and Irwindale; 2014 at Irwindale)
  10. Lithuania Aurimas Bakchis – 5 wins (2015 at Road Atlanta; 2016 at Seattle; 2017 at Wall Speedway; 2019 at Long Beach and Orlando)
  11. United States Justin Pawlak – 4 wins (2011 at Long Beach and Palm Beach; 2012 at Long Beach and Road Atlanta)
  12. United States Ryan Tuerck – 4 wins (2009 at Long Beach and Irwindale; 2015 at Orlando, 2019 at Wall Speedway)
  13. Poland Piotr Więcek 3 wins (2017 at Irwindale; 2018 at Texas, 2019 Monroe)
  14. United States Tyler McQuarrie – 2 wins (2010 at Las Vegas; 2011 at Irwindale)
  15. United States Michael Essa – 2 wins (2013 at Palm Beach and Texas)
  16. Republic of Ireland Darren McNamara – 2 wins (2009 at Wall Speedway; 2014 at Monroe)
  17. United States Matt Field – 2 wins (2016 at Texas and Irwindale)
  18. United States Chelsea Denofa -- 2 wins (2016 at Long Beach; 2019 at Texas)
  19. Japan Ken Gushi (2005 at Houston; 2019 at Irwindale)

One win each for:

  1. Hong Kong Calvin Wan (2005 at Infineon)
  2. Japan Yukinobu Okubo (2006 at Seattle)
  3. Japan Mitsuru Haraguchi (2007 at Long Beach)
  4. Japan Toshiki Yoshioka (2008 at Las Vegas)
  5. France Stephan Verdier (2009 at Infineon)
  6. United States Conrad Grunewald (2011 at Wall Speedway)
  7. Japan Masashi Yokoi (2015 at Texas)
  8. Latvia Kristaps Bluss (2018 at Road Atlanta)

To this date, only five drivers have won both Formula Drift and D1 Grand Prix events, they are Mitsuru Haraguchi, Toshiki Yoshioka, Vaughn Gittin, Jr., Daigo Saito, and Chris Forsberg.

Formula Drift television coverage

Former Fox Soccer USA host Brandon Johnson hosted the Formula D show for G4 in 2006. Rossi Morreale was the show's host in 2005. Johnson was joined by Attack of the Show co-host Olivia Munn who covered the pits and drivers during the events and drifting expert Adam Matthews who provided commentary and insight on the tandem battles. G4 aired each round on a tape-delayed basis. Jarod DeAnda is the public address announcer at each event, earning him the moniker, "The Voice of Formula D." In 2005, G4 used DeAnda's event commentary track, but for 2006, used Johnson and Matthews calling each battle like a typical play-by-play/color commentator combination. Johnson and Matthews were on-site for each event, but it sounded as if they had taped their commentary after the event had already taken place. This practice is not uncommon in the motorsports business in post-production.

In the 2005 season, there were two people working the pits — driver interviewer Mayleen Ramey, who was a roving reporter for the half-hour episodes, and a second anchor, who patrolled around the car show at each event. In 2005, G4 used three reporters for this job. From the round in Wall to the round in Houston, actor Emeka Nnadi held the job. At the Infineon round, Attack of the Show! co-host Kevin Pereira took the duties, while Street Fury host Big C finished things out in Chicago and Irwindale. Also, G4 showed half-hour episodes in-between rounds, most of which focused on the network having its own drift car built from scratch, with other segments focusing on the aspects of drifting. One of the first half-hour episodes in 2005 had one Formula D competitor, Chris Forsberg go to Japan, and meet up with another competitor, Daijiro Yoshihara, to explore the country and get more perspective on the birth of drifting. Episodes that featured event coverage lasted an hour-and-a-half, and featured the top 16 tandem rounds, including those that needed to be run again, because the judges deemed them too close to call. These episodes aired the night after the next round in the series had already taken place.

In 2006, however, coverage was dramatically different. The half-hour episodes were gone, and event coverage was reduced to an hour, and their scheduling was quite random. The Long Beach and Atlanta rounds premiered on June 18, with the Chicago round airing on July 2, and the Sonoma round airing a week after it took place. During the Sonoma round, G4 noted that the Seattle round would premiere on September 10, but that date was changed to October 8, with the last two rounds (Wall and Irwindale) airing every other week afterward. These episodes featured more interviews and driver profiles, many of which would've been placed in a half-hour show last year, and many of the tandem battles have been cut out, and any battle that needed to be run again did not have its second run shown. This led to some criticism from those in the drifting community, including fans and some Formula D drivers.

At the 2006 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Formula D co-founders Jim Liaw and Ryan Sage announced that the series would have a new television partner in 2007. That partner was ESPN2. Each round began airing in a one-hour block on November 15 with the Long Beach round. All subsequent airings were supposed to be every Thursday afterward, but beginning with the Evergreen Speedway round on December 5, the air dates for new rounds switched to Wednesday.

The ESPN deal lasted just one season. SPEED Channel will air all rounds of the 2008 Formula D season, as well as the World Championship, scheduled for after the Irwindale round. Airings will take place on Sundays, beginning with the Long Beach round on October 26. All airings will begin at 4 PM Eastern.[10]

For 2010 Formula Drift announces a comprehensive race programming schedule with VERSUS in which Drifting, the fastest-growing motorsport, will slide into more than 75 million U.S. homes. The seven-stop Formula DRIFT Championship Series programs will air over fourteen Sundays during the 2 PM (EST) / 11 AM (PST) time slot beginning Sunday, August 30. Each episode will showcase all the on- and off-track action as the world’s top drift drivers battle for the coveted title of Formula DRIFT Champion. The first episode, airing on August 30, will feature a comprehensive overview of the sport and drivers. Each episode will re-air the week following the initial airing.[11] Coverage is slated to remain the same for the 2011 season.

In 2012 NBC's merger with Comcast, Comcast's sports channels were combined under the NBC Sports division, in an arrangement known as the NBC Sports Group, which also comprises Golf Channel, the Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks, and Versus, which was re-launched as the NBC Sports Network on January 2, 2012.

Internet Coverage

In 2010 Formula D joined forces with to bring a live stream of all 7 events. All rounds were broadcast via complete with practices and all rounds of competition were included. During the 2010 season over 1,000,000 viewers tuned in to watch the live action unfold over the 7 Pro Championship events.

2013 Formula D partnered with Livestream for the domestic series.

2014 Formula D partnered with Daily Motion for its live stream.

Formula D now broadcasts online at Formula Drift Live and on Motor Trend On Demand.

Print Coverage

At the 2010 SEMA show, FD co-founder Jim Liaw announced the Formula Drift would begin the quarterly publication of a Formula Drift's magazine in 2011. The publication will be handled by Haymarket Media Group.


  1. ^ "Formula DRIFT - 404".
  2. ^ a b c "Judging Information". Archived from the original on 2007-01-26.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-07-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Formula DRIFT Awards Banquet".
  5. ^ "2012 Formula Drift Spirit of Drifting – Danny George". Breaking Drift News.
  6. ^ "2012 Best Drifting Style – Fredric Aasbo". Breaking Drift News.
  7. ^ "2012 Best Style – Ryan Tuerck". Breaking Drift News.
  8. ^ "2012 Formula Drift Crew Member of the Year – Mike Kojima". Breaking Drift News.
  9. ^ "2012 Team Manager of the Year – Stephan Papadakis". Breaking Drift News.
  10. ^ "Formula DRIFT - 404".
  11. ^ 2010 Versus package, additional text.

External links

  • Formula D's official website
  • Wrecked Magazine - Drifting's home in the USA
  • - Unofficial Formula D Coverage
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