Starting Friday, the third round of Formula Drift will slide its way back to Road Atlanta for the 15th season. What originally started in Japan, drifting has become one of the fastest growing forms of motorsport competition in the U.S. Drivers are judged based on line (designed by judges and consists of clipping points that the drivers must get close to with the front/rear of the car), angle (overall steering and slip angle the driver uses while navigating the line) and style (the driver’s own take of the line – fluidity, commitment) while drifting the course.
“The atmosphere is electric as drifters race down a portion of the back straight into the first turn and cut the wheel to begin their full drift up through the horseshoe and back out, all under the lights,” said Kelsi Nilsson, senior manager of public relations and marketing director for Road Atlanta. “This event is the tail-end of our busy spring season and we work hard to make sure the fans get the most out of their time here.”
Drift Atlanta is, by attendance, Road Atlanta’s second largest event of the year. Over 40,000 drift fans are expected at the track for Friday and Saturday’s Pro and Pro 2 competitions, with many of them traveling far and wide to take part in the experience.
Road Atlanta is also always a favorite amongst drivers. Formula Drift held their inaugural event at the track in 2004, and today, Road Atlanta is one of two original tracks from the first season that Formula Drift still uses for competition — the other being Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, Calif.
“We have been a part from the inception,” said Nilsson. “Road Atlanta also purposely-built the drift zone keyhole, affectionately referred to as ‘the horseshoe’, as an addition to the Turn 10 complex for their first year of competition here.”
With a new competition season brings freshly built cars, some new competitors, and some returning competitors to the mix. Notably, Federico Sceriffo, a driver all the way from Milano, Italy, will be drifting a V12 powered Ferrari 599 for the first time in Formula Drift competition. Two local drivers will also be competing — Taylor Hull in Pro, driving the Comp Cams Cadillac ATS-V, and Dustin Miles in Pro 2, in the ANX Electric Co. Nissan s13. There are 32 drivers entered for Friday and Saturday’s Pro competition, and 32 for Pro 2.
“It must be a good omen for Formula Drift drivers to win here because over the past five years, Drift Atlanta winners have finished in the top three positions — some winning overall honors — for the season-long championship every year,” Nilsson said. “Last year, Drift Atlanta’s winner James Deane went on to win the championship.”
Currently, Fredric Aasbo is in the lead for the 2018 Pro season with 175 points after taking first place at Round 1 in Long Beach, Calif., and third place at Round 2 in Orlando, Fla., in the No. 151 Rockstar Energy Toyota Corolla Hatchback. James Deane is in second for the season driving the No. 130 Worthouse Drift Nissan s15 with 156 points, followed closely by Chris Forsberg and the No. 64 Nissan 370z in third place with 155 points.
“We’re proud to work with Formula Drift to put on this amazing show for our fans, who have been loyal and coming back for well over a decade,” said Nilsson.
Where: Road Atlanta, Braselton
Tickets: $30 Today, $35 Saturday; $45 for two-day pass