It’s been a busy few months of drifting – as we get closer and closer to the end of our “summer” there is an awful lot left to fit in before it becomes cold and miserable for another 8 months.
Only 2 weeks ago we took a trip north to Knockhill circuit up in Scotland for round four and now we find ourselves at Silverstone circuit for Round 5. On the 4th of September the circuit played host to the TRAX 2011 Performance Car Show.
This is now an annual event in the UK and always draws in big crowds with lots of club stands, tuner stands and public track sessions there is something for everyone. From low-riders and stanced out air-rides….
….to ridealongs with experienced drivers in a fleet of Nissan backed 370Z and R35 GTR cars – or maybe a more race car like experience in track prepared Lotus Exiges.
Its a busy, busy day and there simply wouldn’t be enough time to run a full quota of cars across all classes with the now massive BDC driver’s roster. The time slots on the busy track would be enough, however, to hold round 5 of Super Pro championship (don’t worry – Semi-Pro and Pro drivers will be up at the Nissan factory in Sunderland later this month!). A lot of the people at the show were not there specifically for the drifting – but they would no doubt to lining the edges of the track whilst it took place.
Maybe some of the spectators have never witnessed drifting first hand and maybe after today many of them would be inspired to visit some more rounds of the championship – events like this are great for boosting peoples awareness of the sport. One thing is for sure, the stands are never busier than when the drifting starts!
Silverstone was one of the first motor racing circuits in the UK to allow drifting on their hallowed tarmac. I remember back in 2005 watching many of my D1 heroes fighting it out with the best drivers in Europe at the time in the D1 exhibition match – it was immense. Being stood with my AE86 and meeting Keiichi Tsuchiya was so far removed from watching video Option DVDs was unreal.
With rain and constant drizzle in the morning it would likely be that practice and qualifying sessions would be smoke-free – watching some of the morning track sessions revealed just how slippery the Silverstone tarmac was with a good layer of the wet stuff settling on top of it – so many front wheel drive cars getting into near uncontrollable tank slappers through the Brooklands corner into the Luffield complex – RWD and AWD cars treading very gingerly round the section and waiting until the end of Woodcote turn before building up speed.
With only twenty minutes of open practice allocated starting at 11:10am precisely it was time for us to make our way onto the track. Todays judged course would be the tried and tested section of track used in other drift events. Lets take a look at the course.
Drivers set of from the start line and accelerate under the bridge down the long straight that leads to the Brooklands complex which houses the BRDC stand.
The initiation into Brooklands has a HUGE entry speed – probably one of the fastest in the entire calendar – if you are lucky you may even see a backwards entry.
Drivers clip a front apex here and whilst piling back on speed they drift towards the outside edge of the track before transitioning back for the entry into the long over 180degrees Luffield turn.
Judges want to see drivers with their front wheel within one metre of the inner rumble strip here on the apex – after the apex the drivers then push back out towards the outside edge of the track to place the back of their cars as close to the rumble strip as possible and hold their angle for as long as possible.
As the drivers pass the pit entrance just before Woodcote turn the judge course ends. Drivers continue along the old pit straight round Copse and Maggots before peeling right to re-join the back of the queue to do it all again.
With practice over there was an hours wait before qualifying. The drivers took a few minutes out to sign autographs and meet with fans.
A great chance for drivers to chat to fans and for the fans to grab a memento of the day.
At 12:10 the the circuit was ours again. With the rain reduced to light drizzle the track was still damp – not even the track sessions and constant streams of cars had made any real impact and the racing line still wasn’t dry. A damp track really takes some of the aggression out of driving – tyres don’t reach temperature and changing levels of grip keep the drivers busy. At times like this under-steer is much more prominent so drivers have to really smooth out their throttle inputs often needing to hold part throttle to keep their line instead of being flat to the boards – it slows things down – but its still very very graceful to watch.
Top 3 qualifiers were:
1st. Phil Morrison
2nd. Fredric Aasbø
3rd. Shane O’Sullivan
Formula Drift’s D-Mac managed to qualify in 5th place which all things considered isn’t a disaster given this is the first event the Team Need For Speed AE86 has competed in. Darren had some serious steering issues to resolve with the car after its first long-term shakedown back at AwesomeFest in August. From what I can understand the triple rotor Mazda powered car was making use of a Vauxhall Corsa electronic steering column (rather than a fluid run power steering rack) and manual rack which was causing some issues with winding off steering lock as the car was transitioning or straightening up.
This is likely because the electronic assistance isn’t designed to allow lock to be wound off as quickly as would be required when drifting (A motor around the column controls how quickly it can move). The Corsa electronic steering rack is very popular amongst rally drivers who run Ford mk1/2 escorts – whenever I’ve seen this drivers usually have an adjustable pot on their dashboards (similar to a remote brake bias adjustment knob) which can adjust the load on the column (they have their own ECU) – maybe this is how the problem was solved? If we find out we’ll let you know. The technical side of things isn’t something we usually go into but if you’d like to see more technical content in our articles we can give you it.
First battle of the day was between D-Mac and Wesley Keating. The Need for Speed Ae86 takes the advantage in the first run. This time following the AE86 stays glued onto the door of Wesley’s S13. D-Mac goes through into the Top 8.
Next up Stephen Biagioni in the Team Japspeed 1JZ Subaru vs Simon Perry in the ‘subtle’ Skyline Owners R33. Baggsy doesn’t get to the required angle in time and tags the side of Perry’s Skyline in the first corner causing a spin giving him the advantage. The Pink Skyline remains glued to the lead car in the second battle so Simon Perry goes onwards.
Then it was Daniel Moorehead paired up with championship leader Matt Carter in the Team Falken S14. Dan Moorhead is too fast into the first corner and goes wide off the track giving the Team Falken driver the advantage. Even though Matt only needs to put in a safe run to go into the top 8 this doesn’t stop him from remaining in extremely close proximity to Mr Moorehead through the entire course. Matt Carter advances into the top 8.
Next a very exicting battle between Team Falken’s Alan Green vs Fredric Aasbø in the Team Need For Speed Supra. Our first glimpse Fredric in battle mode!
Aasbø completes the first run with a clear advantage over the Team Falken driver and drives superbly again in the second run moving onwards and upwards into the next round of battles.
The battles came thick and fast. Our next paring was Wayne Keeber in the Mint Tyres Toyota Soarer along side Team Japspeed’s Paul ‘Smoky’ Smith in the S15 Silvia. Paul has to straighten in the first corner and Mr Keeber gets the advantage. The pressure is now all on the Team Japspeed driver to force an error in the second battle but he unfortunately has to make yet another correction in the first turn meaning Wayne advances into the Top 8 battles.
Mark Luney vs Declan Munnelly. Two completely opposite approaches to drifting here. Marks Supra has 1012bhp for today’s outing at Silverstone – Declan’s little mark 2 Ford Escort runs a Vauxhall C20XE 2.0L 16v engine (found in Astra and Cavalier 16vs – of Cosworth origin) with independent throttle bodies making about 270bhp.
Declan does all he can to try and get away from the huge Supra but it just isn’t enough. Mark Luney heads up into the Top 8.
An all S15 battle next. Team Japspeed’s Shane lynch vs BDC 2010 Champion Driftworks Phil Morrison -V8 twin turbo against 2JZ turbo power. Phil is no stranger to Silverstone and manages to pull a good lead on Lynch in the first battle getting the advantage. The 2nd run seals it for Phil mirroring Shanes line perfectly.
Shane O’Sullivan vs David Waterworth are the final pairing in the Top 16. In the first run Shane runs wide onto the outside line and loses ground on David. In the second run David takes the advantage with some great driving and progresses to the Great 8 in his S13.5!
As Simon Perry and D-Mac headed out for their practice run Darren pins the front of his AE86 to Simon’s door for the entire circuit. This battle would not disappoint! The first run was a mirror of the practice, Simon could not shake the lightweight Corolla and D-Mac is militeres from the pink R33’s doorhandle around Luffield.
They switch positions for run two but Simon can do nothing to catch the Need for Speed Ae86 and D-Mac goes through to the Semi Final.
Championship leader Matt Carter lines up next to Formula Drift star Fredric Aasbø. Fredric leads the first run and pulls a gap from Matt Carter initiating into the first turn. The Supra is fast! Matt simply can not see through the smoke following through Luffield.
The second run starts and Aasbø is all over Matt as they transition into Luffield and the judges award the red, white and black Need for Speed Supra the win and the progression into the Semis.
Two drivers no stranger to the circuit at Silverstone are top qualifier Phil Morrison and SATS Cosworth driver Mark Luney in the Supra. As the combined total of 1700bhp hurtles towards Brooklands and around the loop there is nothing to separate the drivers going into run two.
Phil plays chase in the second run and closes the gap on the Supra.
He is awarded the advantage and goes through to the Semi Final!
Another Great 8 and Wayne Keeber is paired off against David Waterworth. Pressure from David on the first run puts Wayne into a spin, the drivers piroette and bump slightly amongst the smoke.David goes into the second run with a 10-0 advantage, meaning a safe run sees Mr Waterworth in the Semi-Finals.
As the first Semi-Final battle gets underway there is a scrabbling amoungst the Speedhunters media team to get the ‘money shot’. Team Need For Speed Drivers Fredric Aasbø and Darren McNamara face each other for a place in the finals.
Aasbø is so fast even the huge power/weight ratio of the Rotary Corolla cannot keep up. Fredric takes the first run based on the gap that accumulates.
Into the second run and the gap swings the other way, Darren carries good speed around Brooklands into the transition.
But Fredric closes in and is judged to have done enough. He books his place in the Finals.
Driftworks Phil Morrisons and Scotland’s David Waterworth go up for the other spot in the Finals. Phil leads the first run, submerging the white S13.5 in thick Federal tyre smoke. The gap closes, opens and closes between the two cars over the run. Phil is judged to have run the better line and takes the advantage.
Run two and both drivers drive well but both make slight errors. Phil goes on into the Finals based on his first run victory. But first David must face D-Mac for 3rd place.
On the practice run D-Mac has a problem and calls a 5 minute rule! Unfortunately gearbox problems end Darren’s event and David Waterworth steps up onto the lowest step of the podium.
What an epic Final line up. Fredric Aasbø in the NFS Supra vs Phil Morrison in the DWS15.
Run one is the stuff of drifting dreams. Both cars are mere centimeters apart as they exit the course. Amazing drifting from both! We struggle to see the track as the smoke breezes over us.
Run two and Phil chases Aasbø into Brooklands. The second run is just as close. The judges have made a decision, but we can’t call it, it’s too close!
As we wait for the podium role call to be made the result is confirmed. The winner of the British Drift Championship Super Pro Round 5 is Fredric Aasbø!
1st. Fredric Aasbø
2nd. Phil Morrison
3rd. David Waterworth
With Aasbø being a non BDC regular and Phil Morrison taking time out this year the big points earned don’t really change the Super Pro championship standings. The drivers at the top of the leaderboard (still need to see the current points standings) stay as they were after knockhill. Matt Carter still has a good lead over 2nd place man Mark Luney but its still all to play for with 1 round remaining.
We head up to the Nissan Factory in Sunderland in 2 weeks time for Round 5 for Semi Pro and Pro – and Round 6 for Super Pro. Its the last round of the 2011 Championship and should not be missed. This is your last chance to catch the British Drift Championship in 2011 so please do your bit and get up to Sunderland and show your support!
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