With only three rounds remaining in the 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship, the title chase is heating up as we head toward the Final round in Irwindale, CA, at the end of October.
Round 6: Crossroads brings the teams to familiar territory at the World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, IL—a mere six miles from the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
With 100 points available for the winner of each round, 32 of the 33 FD PRO drivers have a mathematical chance of winning. But in reality, the 2021 FD PRO Champion will almost certainly emerge from the top six drivers, who are all within 105 points of current leader Chelsea DeNofa (USA) in the BC Racing / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D.
Despite three wins from five rounds, DeNofa is only one point clear of second place Matt Field (USA) in the Falken Tire / Drift Cave Chevrolet Corvette. Both drivers have been incredibly consistent this season, managing to deliver blistering acceleration from their circa 1000hp missiles, while drifting with controlled aggression between unforgiving walls.
Four of the top six drivers have yet to claim an FD PRO Championship title, making them especially hungry, willing to put everything on the line. But let’s not discount the experience of 2015 FD Champion Fredric Aasbo (Norway) and his potent Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota GR Supra. The Norwegian is currently third, always a threat, and has to be respected.
The same applies to sixth place Vaughn Gittin Jr (USA). As the team leader to DeNofa, Gittin’s Monster Energy Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D is more powerful than the majority of his competitors, and with two titles under his belt from 2010 and 2020, the reigning champ loves to ruin the day for his rivals.
For all the top drivers, success and failure are a whisker away as they attempt to run fast, hard, and uncomfortably close to each other, risking everything for the win. And as the pressure mounts, small mistakes can be brutally punished by the walls expectantly waiting to wreck aspirations in a fraction of a second.
For the 2021 Formula DRIFT PROSPEC Championship, Round 3 in St. Louis represents the start of the second half of the four-round season. The teams had a six-week summer break to fix, fettle, and fine-tune their vehicles. As the feeder series for the PRO Championship, PROSPEC cars tend to be less powerful, averaging around 600hp. The drivers tend to be less experienced, cutting their teeth on concrete walls before moving up to FD PRO. However, less horsepower and experience doesn’t mean a lack of excitement or commitment. If anything, the PROSPEC drivers have more to prove and will do what it takes to catch the eye of the bigger teams and sponsors.
The Championship currently has two drivers on the same 180 points, led by reigning Champion, Dmitriy Brutskiy (Belarus) who drives the Essa Autosport / ISC Suspension BMW E46. As the 2020 title winner, Brutskiy had the opportunity to join the PRO Championship but decided to remain in PROSPEC and develop his skills. That decision has paid off but he needs to remain consistent to rise above joint leader, Nick Noback (USA) in the KoruWorks BMW E46. However, Noback fully intends to win the title himself, meaning both men need to score points this weekend to take the fight to the Final round in Irwindale.
With two Championship rounds taking place this weekend, fans can satisfy their drift craving as the competition runs late into the night. Visit formulad.com for ticket sales to join what will be a capacity crowd, if the previous 2021 rounds are any indicator of the popularity of the series.
Fans unable to attend can log onto the free-to-view Formula DRIFT livestream. Broadcasts are available for both qualifying and competition heats at every round, and are available via the Formula DRIFT website, the FD YouTube page, or FD Facebook page. Visit the website for the event schedule.
Formula DRIFT is an all-weather, high-horsepower, high-speed sport. Drivers qualify in cars that typically have more than 1000hp, for a position in the Top 32 elimination heats. Drivers drift the course in pairs during competition, with points awarded for angle, line, and style, where proximity and speed are the key ingredients. Teams from around the globe compete in Formula DRIFT, which is the premier drift series in the world.
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