Aug 26, 2009

Drifting Competitions

The culture of high speed drifts is slowly creeping in everywhere. It has been observed that people have lost interest in races and Formula 1 Championships. Sports like X-games, high speed pursuits and drifting competitions are the ones with the highest TRP these days. Undoubtedly, people need more adventure, action and a shorter version of exciting sports which are all the inherent features of drifting competitions.

The culture that took place in Japan some 30 years ago has taken the world by surprise in the last 10 years. Drift is the ultimate sport today which is full of risk, action and great drama. The drift techniques have reached such an experienced and proficient level that minute details have to be kept in mind while judging the competitors in a competition. The most important attributes of a drift competition are line, angle, precision, speed and style of presentation. It is important to understand these attributes before one understands the true picture of a drift.

Drifting Competitions

Line is a common pre-defined factor before the drift which is common for all competitors. The judges decide before hand as to which line every competitor has to follow to show one’s skill, talent and control over the vehicle. Angle refers to the angle of a car while drifting. If a car makes a wider angle with respect to the defined line, it secures more points. One has to maintain the control of the car while making an angle during drifts. While making an angle, the driver must make sure that the car is evenly poised on both sides of the pre-defined line of judgement. Precision is a combined factor of other attributes of judgement which includes the accuracy of line maintenance, deviation of speed from the average speed and many other minute details. The style includes the majority of points. It includes the way a driver presents his drift, the amount of smoke or dusty cloud he generates, the public applauds he gains and the closeness to the wall while making a turn during drifts.

The speed factor is quite dicey. It is judged as an accumulation of speeds at three different points. The speed while entering into a turn, the speed maintained while making a turn and the speeds while exiting a turn are equally important. The faster speeds score over the slower ones.

Drifting Competitions

Judging such minute factors becomes very difficult for human eye. People usually take help of electronic devices and high precision cameras to judge the credibility of a driver. Cameras are located at important turns and points so that a good view of the car can be obtained and recorded. Straight paths hold no importance in a drift circuit. The true talent comes out at the corners which are the most important judging points in a drift competition.

At all times, driver must keep an eye on the temperature of tyres and brake joints. Since the pressure on gear shifts and tyres is immense, one of these components usually give up if a proper load balance is not maintained during a drift competition. Since the origin of this sport took place in Japan, most of the terminologies are derived from Japanese language only.

Drifting Techniques

A drift competition is composed of two different sessions. The first session is the qualifying session, Tansou. Every driver gets an individual chance to show his skills in front of the judges so as to qualify for the final 16 runners. Just like the other race championships across the globe, this qualifying event takes place 1 day prior to the actual competition.

The final competition is a grand event, the Tsuiso or the chase attack. Drivers are paired randomly to compete against one another. Each one tries to lead on turns to gain the upper hand. The best 8 in respective heat events qualify for the next level. The same procedure is followed till the final event. Judges take care of some standard points throughout the heat which also act as the qualification or disqualification criteria.

If a car overtakes the lead car during the process of a drift on a turn; the car is bound to win the heat event on merit. If a car overtakes the lead car under grip conditions; the car is bound to lose the heat event. If a car loses control during a drift and spins, the car is disqualified. If the other car also spins, then the judges note the time difference between the spin time and the re-stabilizing time. Increasing your lead under drift conditions is an asset which can win you bonus points. Maintaining the lead under drift conditions displays your drift supremacy over other driver. For every single pass, judges assign points to the drivers.

The rate of disagreement between the points awarded by judges and crowd response is quite high. In such cases, drivers may have to re-run a few laps to justify the crowd’s or judge’s decision. The role of crowd is very important since they take many significant decisions in case of a tie.

Drifting Competitions

Sometimes drift competitions might not be in the one on one format. Cars are also judged on a paired performance. In such kind of events, the group is judged on the aspect that how well the following car mimics the drift trajectory of the leading car. In such cases, personal merit might not be the deciding factor at all. A group with average drift capabilities but perfect coordination has a better chance of winning the competition than a group with extreme drift capabilities but less coordination.

The pattern of drift competitions also varies from regions to regions; hence one must expect unexpected versions during drifts. Rules and judging points might also change considerably.

Drift Competitions have become an integral part of adventurous life of this generation. They like speed, action, talent and thunder which are all the key ingredients of Drift.

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