For seven weekends a year, Formula Drift attracts thousands of adoring fans to cheer some of the world's most talented drivers. The competition, run in head-to-head knockout rounds, challenges the sport's stars to crush the course with proper behind-the-wheel swagger. Each run is judged in four categories—line, angle, style, and speed—leveling the field and allowing the man with the most control to take the crown.
Formula Drift sounds exciting, right? So, why haven't you heard of it?
Complex.com is out in Irwindale, CA this weekend to get a taste of one of the fastest growing motorsports. The Irwindale Speedway not only hosts the "Title Fight" of Formula Drift it is also the spiritual home of the sport in American. 10 years ago, the town hosted the first drift event on U.S. soil, and remains central to the its growth. Now, the cars are more badass, the drivers more refined, and the scene rowdier than ever.
We spoke with NOS sponsord driver Chris Forsberg, the 2009 Formula Drift Champion, about the series, his start in the sport, and where it is headed in the future.
Interview by Phoebe Lovatt (@phoebelovatt) and Nick Schonberger (@nschon)
Let’s start with an idiot’s guide to Formula Drift. What are the basic elements of the event?
With Drift, it’s about the quality of the driving. It is a judged motorsport, one of the only, and the judges are looking for speed, line, angle, and style...which is how fast the the car gets around the course, for speed; where the car is placed along the course, how close it gets to the wall or inner clipping points, for line; angle is really just how sideways you can get the car; and style is just the use of the throttle, the amount of smoke the car produces, how dynamic the transfers are, and if the car looks smooth around the course. It is not just about driving from point a to b, but making it look like you are in complete control.