Clear Your Schedule for This Weekend’s Must-Watch Event: 2021 Formula Drift Finals

Formula DRIFT cars drifting on a track with a plume of smoke
Larry Chen

Got plans this weekend? You do now: The 2021 Formula DRIFT Finals are taking place Oct. 22 and 23 at the famed House of Drift—Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, CA. The tire-smoking 2021 series has seen plenty of ups, downs, and surprises—cementing its place as the must-watch motorsports event of the year—but it all comes down to this weekend’s competition. Just one Pro and one Prospec driver will walk away from the track as champions.

Whether you’ve been following the series since the beginning or are new to the sport, you won’t want to miss the Final Round. Here are 10 reasons why you should tune in to the livestream—or grab a ticket before they sell out.

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1. The House of Drift

Irwindale Speedway has been a part of the Formula DRIFT schedule every year since the series began in 2005—the only track to hold that distinction. In fact, Irwindale has become such an iconic location to drift fans around the world it’s earned the name House of Drift, and the location alone guarantees a thrilling end to the 2021 season. Better yet, its amphitheater seating around the short oval track ensures a perfect view for every fan.

2. No Prizes for Second Place

The Final Round will conclude season 18 of the Formula DRIFT series, and once the smoke settles, winners will be crowned for both the premier Pro championship and the feeder Prospec title fights. Drivers have been battling all season, and in order to get a shot at a title, they’ll have to put it all on the line one last time—because nobody remembers who comes in second.

3. Will a New Name Emerge?

The FD Pro Championship is a tight race: Currently, six drivers are within 100 points of earning a series title, and since the winner at Irwindale earns 100 points, all six have a chance of winning the 2021 season. Of those six, four have never won a championship (but we’re guessing they can already taste the bubbly). Among them are Chelsea DeNofa who’s led the points table this year whenever Matt Field or Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis weren’t on top. Long shot Ryan Tuerck hasn’t won a round or led the Championship in 2021, but don’t count him out—wild things happen at the FD Finals.

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4. Will Experience Prevail?

Current points leader Fredric Aasbo won the FD Pro Championship in 2015 and finished second in both 2018 and 2019, so he can never be discounted. Even so, Vaughn Gittin Jr., who’s currently in fifth place, won the FD Pro title in 2010 and 2020, and has a knack for rising to the occasion. If he pulls off a win at Irwindale, he’ll join the vaunted ranks of Tanner Foust, James Deane, and Chris Forsberg as a three-time Championship winner.

5. The Fans Know

Each year, Irwindale promises a lot and delivers more. One of the constants throughout the seasons is the House of Drift will be a full house. Its tiered grandstands are regularly packed with cheering fans because they know this is the best event of the year. Want to join them? There are still tickets left on the Formula DRIFT website.

6. Two Full Days and Nights of Drift Action

The Pro championship is just one part of the big event: The Prospec Finals will also take place at Irwindale, and the competition is already intense. Thirteen Prospec drivers currently have a shot at winning the title, and it’s anybody’s guess who might emerge victorious this weekend.

7. Prospec Rookies Eyeing a Championship

There are five rookie Prospec drivers who have a chance of winning the title. The new kids have been upsetting the apple cart all season, but keep an eye on Canadian driver Tommy Lemaire—he’s ranked third in the standings and likely has the best shot at pulling off a win this weekend.

8. The Prospec Reigning Champ

The major obstacle for all the rookies is Dmitriy Brutskiy. Not only does he have a (slim) 15-point lead at the top of the table, but he’s the reigning Prospec champion and he knows what it takes to win.

When a driver wins the Prospec championship, they’re automatically eligible to receive a Pro license and move up to the premier class. Brutskiy chose a different route: After his win last year, he decided to hone his craft for another year in Prospec. Given his points lead and past experience, he’s a favorite to win again in 2021.

9. End of an Era

All good things come to an end: Jim Liaw, Formula DRIFT president and co-founder, is leaving the series to join Performance Racing Industry. He hands the reins to fellow co-founder Ryan Sage, who’s also part of the FD livestream commentary team. Having steered the series through the pandemic and an economic recession, and overseen its phenomenal growth, Liaw will be missed, but he leaves the sport healthy and in very good hands.

10. No Excuses

There are still tickets available for the Final Round, but if you’d rather watch from home, you can tune in to the free FD livestream to watch all the action from your couch. (You can find the full event details and itinerary here.)

Whether you’re at home or in the stands at Irwindale, it’s sure to be a high-octane conclusion to another thrilling year of Formula DRIFT.

To purchase tickets, head to the Formula DRIFT website. The livestream will be available on the FD website as well as the FD YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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