For 2016 Lone Star Drift will be implementing a small portion the Dejager System from Vicdrift in Australia, basically their bracketing competition layout.
1. Qualifying will be eliminated, making the events more fun, with more practice time, and less single runs. This is more fun for everyone, including the judges, drivers, and spectators. Everyone wins.
2. Top 32 bracketing format from FD and other drift series is being eliminated and replaced with a divisional system. Divisional in this instance only means a different way to divide up the bracket tree. The purpose of this system is to include all competition drivers in a bracketed tandem setup and eliminate qualifying, where all drivers compete directly against other drivers. Less experienced drivers with less points in the series will actually have the ability to have more competition and tandem experience per round than the more experienced drivers, who will actually potentially get less. This has the added benefit of being more inclusive of new drivers and letting them drive more, and potentially letting the more experienced drivers get away with less breakage and tire wear. Basically the inverse of how things normally are. This creates more fun for everyone, and encourages new driver participation instead of discouraging it, which is a problem with the current system.
3. We can implement any number of drivers into our tandem bracket, instead of only the typical 8, 16, 32, 64.
I have been wanting to get rid of qualifying for years but never had the balls. Many drivers have heard me ask them ways to accomplish this, and while I had some ideas, I never had the nerve to implement them. I also felt the current bracketing system we have been using since the beginning of drifting discourages new drivers from participating. It often leaves them going home after two qualifying laps and barely getting their feet wet, discouraged and embarrassed at their results in front of their friends and peers. At the same time, experienced drivers that are going for the win are forced to tandem with completely new and unprepared drivers in the first round, pairing the 1st and 32nd placed drivers together. This is terrible for a number of reasons, as 32nd place has literally no chance of advancing and gaining valuable experience, and 1st place is at an odd position of going against someone that has no idea what they are doing, and potentially crashing a highly developed and expensive race car into a complete newb with a junk car on cut springs and bald tires who spins into the first corner. This isn’t good for either competitor. What we need is a system that doesn’t create more classes of cars, more restrictions, or other complicated things. We need something as simple as possible, which is easy to implement, easier on the judges, fun for the crowd, better for the drivers, etc. Luckily while I was in Ebisu I met a lot of passionate Australian drifters and heard about something that Chris Dejager was dreaming up. It answered a lot of questions that 2016 is forcing me to find answers for. Such as what do we do with 100 plus caged competition cars during a two day competition weekend. Do we simply keep adding more time to qualifying and tandem and subtracting it from practice and fun time? Do we do a top 64 traditional proam tandem tree ( is that event a thing? ) with an additional top 32 tandem tree for TXSL? We won’t have any fun time left, which is what I personally love, where we just run around on track and do 15 car tandem trains. We won’t have time at Texas Motor Speedway for our new full track hot lapping format, we will just be running qualifying all weekend and then giant tandem trees where the front runners have to make it through every single bracket.
So in a great way, my hand was forced to come up with something new in order to keep the events enjoyable. Looking around me and knowing someone was thinking the same thing through, I took a bit of the easy way out and ran down to Australia knowing I would have a bit of time to implement the new format if I liked what I saw. I stole certain points of Chris Dejager’s new system, about 10% of it in his words, the bracketing system. It was my favorite part though, the part I needed. So now that I am back from Australia, I have what I want to do in mind. I have thought everything threw as much as possible with my judges, run it by many drivers to poke holes in it, I have seen the system in person and learned a few new little tricks to speed up the competition, and I am ready to implement all this in the 11th hour right before Round 1, confident it is a great idea and will improve the quality of the events and the overall fun factor.
Judging style will not be changing significantly from 2015 Lone Star Drift other than we will be posting results and judging notes almost in real time as the competition happens. That way both the fans and the drivers can know the thought process of the judging as it unfolds. I love the idea of the judging being as transparent as possible and the crowd understanding and being involved as much as possible. One small addition to judging is no protests can occur unless their is contact made between cars, this is in the spirit of keeping things moving as quickly as possible, especially as it is extremely rare for the judges to ever overturn a decision.
Explanation of the qualifying order.
There will be no qualifying at the events. Qualifying for 2016 Round 1 will be based upon 2015 end of the year results in our series. Drivers who are new will be slotted into the appropriate area of the brackets that the judges see fit behind the 2015 points holders. Each round after that will go off of the previous rounds points results. Qualifying is much less important in this format as their are no points associated with qualifying. For example anyone in the top 9-16 receive the same event points, so it does not matter if you place 9th or 12th overall. Points matter more as the season progresses than in the beginning.
Explanation of competition bracketing.
This is very very simple once you understand it, and has lots of advantages.
Your placement in the “qualifying bracket or division” is not very important. As there are no points for qualifying, the only advantage of being placed in a low division is you do not have to do as many battles and thus your car should have less chance to break and the driver should have less chances of screwing up. You will do the same amount of tandem battles in Division 1 as a conventional top 16 format. This is the perk of being ranked highly. Overall though, the best driver should making it through the brackets and win, and accumulate the most points from the event regardless of where they start in the order. Since there are no qualifying points, there is very little overall purpose in qualifying rank other than not having to face as many opponents.
For the Battles, the drivers will be split into divisions consisting of up to 8 drivers.
As an example:
46 drivers = 6 divisions ( 5 groups of 8 + 1 group of 6)
Divisions 1 ,2, 3, 4, 5 with 8 drivers and Division 6 with 6 drivers.
The battles will begin with 6 drivers in Div6 battling against the bottom 6 of Div5.
The top 2 of Div5 will have a bye and automatically advance.
The winners of these battles, along with the 2 drivers who had the bye, will then move on to battle those in Div4.
The winners of that will go on to battle the drivers in Div3.
The winners of that will go on to battle the drivers in Div2.
The winners of that will battle the drivers in Div1.
The winners of the below Divisions vs Division1 will make up final 16 drivers. From this point on this will go into the TOP 8 battles and continue on just like a regular comp top 8 and forwards.
e.g. TOP 8 Battles :
#1 vs #8,
#2 vs #7,
# 3 vs #6,
#4 vs #5