Domination. This is the title that was given to the second round of British Drift Championship that took place in DriftLandUK. So how can one dominate a drifting round. Let me tell you all about the judging in the BDC this year and what it takes to score a perfect 100 points qualifying run and win a tandem battle.
First, let’s take a step back. BDC is now owned by Matt Stevenson (more about it in my previous article here ). A guy who went through a hustle of forming a new team – from marshals to judging panel. Having a completely new judging panel makes everything different for drivers who are used being judged from a different perspective. BDC announced its judges back in March with a head judge Brad McQueen. He’s quite famous of his past in British and European PRO drift series and it’s quite an obvious choice for such a responsible role. At round two Brad was accompanied by Gaz Taylor and Kyle Chisholm.These three men were the ones behind all the decisions. Let me break it down to you how those decisions are made.
Every day of competition starts with the drivers briefing. It consists of couple things. Drivers get the general tracks and pit rules first. It’s just a very brief induction to the track specification, marshals position, flags being used etc. After that the head judge steps in to tell what is required from them to score 100 points qualifying run and win the tandem battles afterwards.
Qualifying is so important, especially when you’re looking to claim the top spot of the day. The higher you qualify, the better your odds in the battle. Higher qualifiers get to do lead runs first and are usually chased by weaker opponents. Once the driver lays a good lead run, being consistent and safe but aggressive on a chase will give him a win. Judges require some good effort from drifters to score a perfect qualifying run.
A perfect run will be rewarded 100 points. What is included in those 100 points. DriftLandUK track layout has 6 (actual 5) clipping points.
The 1st and 6th clips are the same box. Each of the clipping points are awarded 10 points. This means that depending on a clip type, the driver needs to fully put its front or back wheels in the clipping box. Fulfilling the clip will give 10 points, less fulfilment less points, if the tire isn’t in the clipping box driver gets 0 points for that clip. 20 points are given for speed and another 20 for commitment. Speed is an obvious one, commitment is something worth going deeper into it. Those 20 points are given for the driver that can keep maximum angle throughout the whole track. Good entry is also awarded by commitment points, however points can be deducted by putting one wheel off track, straightening, cutting corners. Losing drift completely or putting two wheels or more off track is a zero. Summing up – 100 points are given for those who have a good, aggressive initiation, go deep into each clip, maintain a reasonably fast pace and have a fluid, wide angle run.
Tandems come in pairs that are decided by the qualifying points. BDC runs TOP32 for PROAM and TOP24 for PRO. In Top 32 battles, the No1 qualifier runs against 32nd qualifier and so on ( you can do the math here). Top 24 model is slightly different – first Top 8 are granted bye runs to Top 16 and 9th place goes against 24th etc. The lead driver in the pair is the one who qualified higher and his lead run is required to be ran as a perfect qualifying run. Chase driver MUST mimic the lead driver – line, angle, speed (overtaking is not allowed unless the driver in front spins). Chase driver is expected to be aggressive, keep close proximity (sitting on the door is always appreciated) and be consistent. Every run has a 10 point score, that is divided between the drivers after each run. If a lead driver will run an unchaseable run (completely wrong line, crawling slower than a turtle, losing drift, two wheels off track, spinning), the chase driver is awarded the whole 10 points for the run, leaving lead driver with a zero. There is another scenario – if a lead driver is hit by a chase driver hence his or her line is being affected by the impact, the lead driver does not get penalised for the change in line and in most cases is rewarded the 10 points. In a tandem battles drivers are compared chase to chase, lead to lead for the final decision to be made if it cannot be determined the OMT (one more time) is called. This basically means that drivers are going to battle one more time against each other and the decision has to be drawn after this battle.no score is carried from the original battle. The BDC has a rule of only one OMT per battle. This pretty much covers how battles are judged and what it takes to be the number one.
The second round of BDC had quite a few interesting judging calls, that were highly debated by the drivers on the spot and the grief was spilled on social media after. It’s an interesting take to look at – judges make their decisions on the battle from what they see from the judging tower and by additional footage from livestream. Sometimes they can see more than spectators, sometimes they are not able to spot everything what could be seen by others on the track. However, they judge battles by the material they have on the spot and their calls are final and not debatable. It’s an important point for drivers and judges- not all decisions might be 100% fair, but none of that is intentional. Judges are learning with every single competition, same as the drivers. You can only work with what’s provided. Bearing in mind that the livestream is a massive privilege that so many smaller series cannot afford to have. Let’s look at it like this – Formula Drift after 16 years in the making finally have and can afford the system that will show every single point of the car. The British Drift Championship with the new management has been alive for only two rounds. My take on this is simple – improvement is needed and I am sure it will come with time. If not – you’ll read about that in my next articles :D
On a good note – congratulations to William Hanna, first time PRO AM top qualifier and a round winner, as well top qualifier for the PRO day competition. He has raised the bar high for himself, from now on everyone will expect much more from him.
Worth mentioning is Martin Wonnacott, who was on boost all weekend and won the PRO competition, where in the final he beat the Lithuanian Lunatic – Aurimas Vaškelis. Cannot wait to see what round 3 will bring to us in just two weeks’ time.