It was a rainy atmosphere this past Labour Day weekend, but spirits could not be dampened at the first ever Formula Drift Canada. The event took place in St-Eustache, Quebec and garnered a crowd of over 10,000 spectators. There were 67 drivers in total that participated in this two day tournament. Those in auto careers will know that unlike a normal race where the winner is whoever crosses the finish line, the Formula Drift is a competition of skill on the track.
Drivers in Attendance
There were several veteran drivers taking part in the Formula Drift Canada, to the excitement of long-time auto competition fans. Japan is considered the birthplace of drifting, therefore it was not surprising to see a large Japanese driver presence there that weekend. Some attending Formula Drift veterans and stars included Daigo Saito, Chelsea DeNofa, Forrest Wang and Charles Ng. The first day was reserved for qualifications, whereas day two was the competition between the 16 qualifiers. After a final between Irish driver Dean Keaney in a Dodge Viper and Japan’s Daigo Saito in a Lexus SC430, the first prize went to Saito. There were many Canadian drivers also participating in the event, including Marc Landreville, Dave Briggs and rookie Mats Baribeau. In fact, Baribeau earned himself the 2013 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year award.
There are no front-wheel drives allowed in the Formula Drift Canada (along with most all Formula Drift competitions), but all-wheel drives which have been converted to a rear-wheel drive by an auto mechanic are allowed. Models such as the Lexus SC and the Nissan 240SX are popular for North American drift competitions, with some other headliners including the Subaru WRX, Scion tC and the Mitsubishi EVO. Those in mechanic colleges will be interested to know that drivers and mechanics are given free reign for to make whichever modifications they wish on their engines. The one rule is that only the back wheels can propel the vehicle.
Basic Drift Rules
Like we said, a drifting competition isn’t your average motor race. As a driver, you are judged on style, speed, line and angle. Line refers to a driver following the ideal path marked out by inner or outer clipping points. Angle refers to the maximum drift angle a driver can maintain while controlling their vehicle. Some show factors that judges take into account is the amount of smoke you make, how close your car is to the wall and audience excitability. The finals in a drift competition are tandem passes between two racers, where points are awarded every time one opponent passes the other. This part of the competition is called Tsuiso (chasing race) in Japan. It is typical when drifting with several other cars that bumpers collide and cars are damaged, and it’s not uncommon for a truck to drive around and collect detached bumper pieces after a run. This just make it that much more important to have a good mechanic team.
Catch a glimpse of the action with this video recap of highlights from the Formula Drift Canada: