What Do You Think About The Horsepower Wars?
What war?

One of the things that has always attracted me to Formula Drift is the variety of cars that compete. Along with differences in shape, size and configuration, there’s the engines. These days motor swaps are commonplace, as are mind-numbing horsepower figures. But when it comes to output, how much is too much? At Formula D’s 2014 Long Beach media day earlier in the week, I decided to ask a few of the drivers what they thought about FD’s ‘horsepower wars’. Some of their responses were funny and some were serious, but all are insightful.


Dave Briggs: I think it’s a little crazy, but you definitely need power. I think it’s just a competition between everyone else who has the most and who can be the scariest on track.


Larry: So do you like horsepower wars?

Dave: Yeah of course! But I also like the idea of not throwing the same motor in every car. I think drifting is about individuality and it should be a little more about the roots. Maybe it’s a Nissan car, throw in an SR, or RB, or something like that in it. Just so each kind of car is different and you have different cars battling each other.


Chelsea Denofa: Oh I don’t know. I’m just showing up with like five more horsepower than last year. The car feels good, I’m not too worried about it.

Larry: So that means you have 105 to the wheels now, right?

Chelsea: I think they all have tiny penises and want to make up for it with horsepower or something. Something like that.


Larry: Really? So what would you rather have lower horsepower across the field?

Chelsea: I don’t know. I think throttle body restrictors would be good. Turbo cars get one, NA cars get another, and you just gotta make power around them.


Ken Gushi: What do I think? [Pointing at Daigo Saito] I effing blame this guy for the horsepower wars. It’s his fault we have to push it even harder. It’s the only reason we went to the 2J this year; because we’re just trying to keep up with Daigo.


Ken: So if you look at the engine setup, it’s basically identical to what he’s running. 2J, 3.4L, big turbo, rear radiator.


Larry: Do you have 1,000hp?

Ken: Hahaha! We’re catching up!


Larry: [Asking Ken to translate for Daigo] What do you think about the horsepower wars?

Ken: Why don’t you just ask him – he knows English.

Larry: [Asking Ken] But does he know that he started it?


Daigo Saito: I had no idea I started it, but I think it’s interesting. It’s just too natural to get a lot of horsepower with a 2J. It’s like a given.


Larry: It’s your style to drive with a lot of power correct? Your driving style requires it.

Daigo: I’m having fun with it.


Michael Essa: If teams have the budget to change all the parts they need to – axles and trannies and all that stuff – they’re probably going to run away from the rest of the field. But their cars won’t be reliable.


Michael: Right now I decided to keep mine at around 700hp.


Larry: So you don’t need 1,000hp to be competitive?

Michael: No, I think I proved that last year. I mean, I had 700hp and I won the championship. So yeah, the guys are getting a little carried away.


Michael: I think that suspension setup is a little more important than all-out power.


Tony Angelo: I’m like at 3,800hp on a cold day. Something like that. Around 3,000hp when it’s warm out. I don’t know, you just gotta do what you gotta do to keep up with everybody else. Forsberg, I think he said he’s making like 7,500hp so it is what it is. I’m trying to do my best with a four cylinder.


Larry: What do you think about the guys running 1,000hp then?

Tony: They’re out of their minds! It’s like bringing a plastic knife to a gun fight. You know what I mean?


Larry: So what are you looking forward to this season?

Tony: I’m looking to get my first podium finish. Hoping to get that third place without actually having to drive. I’m sure that will be really rewarding if that works out. That won’t be a huge let down or anything.


Ryan Tuerck: The horsepower war? There’s a war? What kind of a horsepower war? I thought it was a war of torque?


Larry: Well, Tony Angelo said he has 3,800hp on a cold day.

Ryan: That is a lie! I don’t know, I think everybody is trying to go through their allotment of tires in one event these days with all this horsepower going on. But they’re going to be screwed because they’re going to run out of tires and they’re not going to be able to run the rest of the season.


Larry: What if they have a tire sponsor?

Ryan: What if they run out of their tire sponsor allotment?


Larry: That’s true. So you’re just thinking that’s the strategy?

Ryan: There is a strategy to the horsepower war. You want to be on that higher threshold, but then you want to be able to tone your driving style down a little bit. I think. I don’t exactly know.

Oh, that war!

Conrad Grunewald: I think it’s inevitable. I’m still lower than most people. I’m 624 at the wheels, but I know we posted the highest entry speed in Texas with the same power. I think everyone should go for as much horsepower as they can. I think it sells tickets. But like I said, it’s inevitable. We haven’t even scratched the surface of where the horsepower will end up in this sport. I think we’re going to be double where some of the top guys are now, at the end.


Larry: Wow! So your program this year?

Conrad: Until people are pulling away from us at all the tracks, we’re probably going to stick to what we’ve got for now. Our trade off is, if we want more power, we have to add a lot more weight. But I’d rather have light and old car, ’cause I’ve driven heavy cars and I don’t think they’re as competitive. I’m stoked for it, I think it’s awesome. I think having 1,500hp cars is cool, I think 3,000hp is even cooler.


Larry: That’s crazy that you think it’s cool that your competitors have more horsepower than you. You’re still keeping up though…

Conrad: The only tracks that we’ve struggled at is at the two big ovals – Irwindale and Seattle. I take grip away from the rear of the car in order to drift. At all the other tracks – especially with the new car – I think we’re one of the fastest. Maybe not the fastest, but one of the fastest cars, and we by no means have the most power. I mean, we were 624hp, and like 541 torque at the wheels with a naturally aspirated 427. So yeah, it’s still a game of trying to get more traction.


Conrad: I think throwing more horsepower at it is not necessarily the right solution. The thing I’m scared about is the reliability. If you have a mechanical, there’s your weekend. Especially now with the points [system] the way it is…


Chris Forsberg: Well, I think that it’s a whole bunch of bragging rights. It doesn’t matter how much power your car makes – it just matters if it’s actually fast on the course.


Chris: But it’s fun to say that your car makes 1,000hp, just ’cause it’s the next step in anything. I mean, there’s no fun in saying 850hp, so everyone’s claiming big numbers. I bet half of them don’t even make that. But who cares? We’ll see who’s actually fast.


Larry: So for you, you’re just going to stick with naturally aspirated? It’s more reliable, or…?

Chris: Uh… no. Us idiots jumped in the horsepower game! Hahaha! We’re running nitrous, but it’s all in the midrange.


Chris: We still make about the same overall power as last year, but nitrous now helps to even further grippin’ up our car in the midrange, for tandem.


Dean Kearney: Actually, it’s starting to get kind of insane, isn’t it? Starting to get like drag racing now, but you’re going sideways. We had to step our game up this year so we added a bigger supercharger and nitrous, and a new motor.


Dean: We are at around 950hp as well, almost 1,000. That’s where you’ve got to be. Anything under 700hp, the guys at the front are just gonna leave you at the straight away.  That’s pretty hard to beat.


Larry: What do you think about the front runners, like Essa?

Dean: Essa doesn’t have crazy horsepower numbers, but his car just works. It’s so simple, it just works. The front guys like JR, I heard add more power. Chris is putting in nitrous now and Daigo is at 1,200hp.


Larry: Well, he’s the one who started it right?

Dean: Yeah, it’s like a pissing contest, you know? You kind of have to try to stay in the game or else you’re going to get left behind, ’cause this sport is just evolving so fast. But the thing is the expense.


Dean: It’s accessible enough to get to 700hp relatively cheap. You can do it under $10,000 if you really want it. It’s the step from 700hp to 1,000hp where the cost increases three or four times. It’s crazy. Fellas are here with $40,000 motors, you know. It’s no joke.


Larry: That’s how much Formula Drift cars used to cost in total.

Dean: Yeah, these guys buy a chassis out of the junkyard for $200 and they but a $40,000 motor in it. It’s insane, but we’ll do our best to keep up.


Charles Ng: I think it’s crazy. I was trying to drag race Conrad, and yeah, I think his car has a lot of power too.


Larry: That’s funny, because I just talked to him and he said he had a more ‘conservative’ power output.

Charles: Yeah I think, or perhaps maybe I wasn’t going all out. I was just testing the car…


Larry: You lie!

Charles: Just kidding, no no no! Hahaha! I think I like it and dislike it at the same time. Hopefully not crazy, not too crazy.


Larry: It’s a lot different now than it was when you were competing previously. It’s been a while.

Charles: Yeah, two or three years.


Larry: You have more than doubled your horsepower, right?

Charles: Yeah, more than double, that’s for sure. I was running low 400hp, but it felt totally different. Now the car pulls more out of the corners. There’s a lot more tire grip.


Charles: It’s just totally different. Everybody else is just running a lot more aero you know, and like a bigger turbo, or a supercharger on a V8.  So I feel like it’s interesting to see all these new cars, but at the same time I’m competing so I gotta make sure my car works just as well too.


Fredric: I love it!

Larry: Really? That’s all you have to say? ‘You love it.’ Why?

Fredric: It makes it even more of a spectacle. It makes it more exotic, even cooler. The cars are going to sound meaner; more tire smoke. In the end it’s not a huge game changer, because what really matters is to grip with the cars.


Fredric:  You can have all the power in the world, but what you really need to have in order to do well is to have grip. So I like it, and it’s not even that expensive anymore.  Building an LS Turbo is not as expensive; getting 1,000hp is not as expensive as it was 20 years ago. So I love it!


Larry: So is that’s coming from someone who has probably the most powerful four cylinder engine in Formula D?

Fredric:  Uh…Yeah! And one of the very few four cylinders that are left too. But even though we’re at a disadvantage with small displacement, for the sake of the sport, I still love it.

So that’s what the pros had to say, now what do you Speedhunters out there think? Should there be limits on power, or are you happy to see this horsepower war continue. As the 2014 Formula Drift season kicks off, let us know your thoughts…

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto



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I remember when i used to go watch Formula D events and i could hear SR20s, RB26s, even the occasional VQ putting some rubber down on the road.
Now a days its an LS poop fest, everyones got the same motors, same trannies, same cars even, and its really losing what made it fun in the first place. Now i enjoy going to smaller gatherings like club loose to watch guys who are in it for fun slide their cars around without huge sponser decals on the sides, trying to hold a good line because they dont have an 800hp LSX to get them out of a bind.
I like guys like Essa, Aasbo and Odi going out there and duking it out with the big displacement guys. I absolutely LOVED watching Gushi rip that EJ around the Gauntlet at Wall, anti-lag and nitrous spooling up a storm in that little car sliding through the woods. Thats good stuff, if i want to watch V8s lay rubber all day ill just go to the drag strip. FD is losing what made it great in the first place. Im not saying they should put restrictors on the motors, im just saying theres very little orginality left.


I'm loving the "horsepower wars." It's showing the advancement of the sport. Personally, I think there should never be a cap on horsepower and I'm also not a fan of the power/weight tire rules they made a few years ago. This is the highest level of drift competition, so let them run there cars at the highest possible level. If the teams want restrictions and a cheaper playing field, let them go back down to pro am. Professional racing isn't cheap, and FD is finally leaving the grass roots scene and becoming a legitimate motorsport.


I don't think they should ever limit the horsepower. Like Conrad said, horsepower sells tickets. If you look across many race series, when they start dialing back and controlling horsepower/speed, the series suffers. Most times, the issue is safety and I don't think the FD cars are at risk of that. Racing is important for development and I don't think people are going to be (as)interested if cars aren't pushing the envelope.

Seeking Perfection

Horsepower should be unrestricted. It is interesting to note that Dai's turbocharged LS7 made me completely change my perspective on v8 swaps. I now strongly approve turbo/supercharged V8s. On the other hand, I am not a huge fan of stockish NA LS engines on every single platform.

Most importantly, I do not feel that we should hold Daigo responsible for initiating these horsepower wars. Dude came from Japan (D1GP) and obliterated his competition during his first year in FD. Consequently, even FD veterans were shitting bricks and their interpretation of keeping up with him was to chase big hp numbers. My opinion is that you can give Tangelo a 1,000hp power plant under his bonnet and the guy cannot still qualify to top16 even though he is a part of FD since day 1.  All things considered, many guys might find drifting incomprehensible and a grotesque as a form of motorsport, but the fact is that it takes immense talent to slide under full control with 1,200hp at your disposal.


Everyone should watch Aono's documentary before commenting here. Honestly. That video really opened my eyes as to how broken drifting has become.

Seeking Perfection

Fearedisx Is there any kind of motorsport that is not broken or even corrupted to a certain extent? To exemplify, should we talk about team orders or spy scandals at F1 - the pinnacle of motorsports? 

Horsepower wars is not the problem of FD. The constant and ambiguous change of the FD rulebook is a huge problem. The long-lasting main event and the enormous-redundant half time break between top32 and top 16 are both problems. Do they really expect to attract big sponsors for a race that would require several hours of live broadcast on TV? It becomes utterly boring as the time passes by and that, my friend, kills the sport because drivers like Taka and other privateers have a hard time attracting sponsors to help them with their considerable expenses. To sum up, poor decisions are responsible for the decline of FD and not big horsepower numbers.


People keep talking about horse power wars when in fact what is happening is a tyre war. When you have tyres that are so soft they barely last two passes your going to need big power to spin them. Massive grip and big power means the drive train won't last very long either which seems to be weakest link in FD cars these days.

Drifting is about balance, big power with little grip means your just going to melt tires . Massive grip with a little power and your going to bog down and go no where. No one seems to be blowing tires to pieces in FD so clearly they ' need ' all this power for something .


Adding monstrous amounts of horsepower coupled with the large corporate interface really detracts from what drifting is really about. I love drifting, but I think FD is large figure skating extravaganza that only lets in the people who can afford to drift, not the other people out there COULD have the skill, but not the money. Sticking to grassroots events and even small gatherings in cities or towns in abandoned areas is where drifting is really fun.


Personally, I think they should put restrictions on minimum laps on the tires. Make them last at least 2 one more times. The constant -- "we will get back to that race later as they change tires" kills the excitement built up from the OMTs. Anything to minimize the down-time will make it MUCH more exciting.
Limiting tires will also will help regulate the hp/budget wars.


Top end professional level, sure!
Low end grassroots, no...


Please dont make restrictive rules! I wanna see how far it can get! there can be no developement, if people are not pushing the boundaries! I love it :)


@mac  Sounds amazingly dangerous if you've ever watched the old Cooper tires chunk apart after one lap on the rougher tracks. I'm all for keeping our drivers safe too..


No restrictors as this is the top end of the scale. i think it all depends on how 1 pairs up man and machine. daigo's always been about big power...he's developed his style to suit it. Essa doesn't have as much power but he matches the capabilities of his car. maybe making the tracks more technical can also help put pressure on the drivers to improve. I've seen many cars with abilities higher than the driver's skill.


@EOS I would say all car building is about balance. They are going to reach a point that NASCAR did years ago, where the only thing left of the actual car is the trunk lid.


I agree. I'm relatively new to actually following drifting but I can see how pushing guys to make their tyres last longer will degenerate into them using their tyres well past when they should be replaced. Yeah it can make the wait for an OMT seem interminable but I think that's down to the preparedness of the team. If they had spare wheels ready with fresh rubber in case if a OMT that can be swapped on that'd help =)


Its a typical american thing to take something that requires finesse and turn it into a powerslide HP wankfest. At the end of the day you are limited by mechanical grip, once the threshold had been passed its all smoke, a 700 hp car will still spin the wheels at the same speed as a 1200 hp car one traction has been broken. They should start using tight tracks where having over say 500hp is a disadvantage.


ae70 'powerslide HP wankfest' - absolutely brilliant!


It's funny, when Saito debuted his 1000hp Chaser in D1 there wasn't half as big a power war as there has been in FD these past few years. I guess it's just the way things are done in the respective countries. In Japan the emphasis seems to be on mastering car control, whereas in the US the attitude seems to be 'I can't compete with him unless my car is on a par'. Which means everyone is now chasing ridiculous power figures because they feel like they'll get thrashed with a lower power car. 
In reality, the only reason people get beaten by high power cars is the initial drag race kills any chance of a decent chase run. Therefore, I think the answer to capping power levels is to stop the drag racing aspect of the sport that I dislike so much.


It seems the horsepower is overcompensation for poor chassis set up. The big gamechanger will be when a team buys a shaker-rig and hires some full time chassis engineers to set up the cars. In the future teams probably wont need so much power because the cars will be better. The learning/technical curve in this sport is amazing, they evolve a lot compared to other forms of motorsport.


SMRacing  You are completely wrong. Restrictions force people to come up with solutions. Newton invented calculus because there was nothing else to solve his problems.


Bridges  I am not sure where your logic makes sense. FD cars are just as at high of a risk as any other car in motorsport. Especially cars that are essentially sliding under control. Its really, really easy to get big horsepower numbers with no restrictions. 
I also do not really see how drifting can be seen as a good development platform at all. As, again, you're essentially sliding a car beyond its grip. No one on the street does that for practical purposes. 
For ABS systems and longer lasting tires? Perhaps I'd see it as a good development platform. 
Formula 1 and other tiers of motorsport do push the envelope due to restrictions. I understand that we all do not like electric cars, hybrids, and maybe some diesels but its extremely ignorant that people dismiss the efforts of the car companies for trying to get a lot of power alternatively. 
For example, Formula 1 has the following restrictions on the engines:
1.6 literes only - how can we cleverly get a lot of power out of a small displacement? How can we get sufficient high power yet still be economical? Thats something special right there.
Single Turbos - advancement in turbocharger design in terms of efficiency and spooling.




To me it's kinda sad that joe average with his 600hp car can't give these guys a run because he won't be competitive without the immense hp the pros are putting out. I dont think drifting as a sport should be such an expensive sport, I mean $40,000 for a engine that will need a rebuild every couple races :/ that IMO is not what drifting is about. Their has to be more skill and finesse to it than just massive tyre smoke etc..


Power is fine, but they need to limit pre-turn-in delta-v. The drag racing thing is irrelevant to the sport, and should not be rewarded.
I think that super bespoke car configurations limits the marketing power. I feel that drifting should aim to drive car sales and aftermarket component sales.

More cute men with accents would be good too.


I don't mind the horsepower wars because it pushes the sport forward even though it does suck for privateers like Taka. I don't agree with motor swapping though, at least keep engines from the same manufacture. Maybe FD can help lower HP cars by letting them use really sticky compound tires or making massive HP cars have less sticky tires.


i hate horsepower wars and always cheering for the underdog!


What people forget to consider is that there is also a marketing aspect in the sport. Cant sell tickets if it does not draw the crowds, they want to see tire smoke and not the finesse, they want to see bumper to bumper near the wall at full speed.


It's a competition so everybody is progressing. Strict rules don't stop progression, it just makes them more expensive (hence Formula1). In one of my engineering classes at university we were taught the 90-10 rule. To make 90% of the progression takes 10% of the resources and the other way round. So everybody did their 90% on chassis and suspension setup, aero is almost negligible at these speeds, especially as the aero will never get clean air going sideways, so now its on to power. It's just natural. At one point they will hit cost limits (and I don't think it's that far away) because the hunt for the last 10%  begins. Maybe Mike Kojima and Chris marion will ship the SPD cars to Germany and put them on this: http://www.kw-suspension.com/us/kw_7-post_dyno_technology.php .
I wonder if somebody would cry out loud then? Probably not, because horsepower produces some numbers you can scream on the internet ans suspension hasn't) (Nobody is bitching about the angle kits or did i miss something?)

But either way at that point the progession in usefull stuff will tone down. The rest is just numbers to scare the others.

And everybody should stop complaining horsepower killed drifting. It's like saying Group B killed Rallying (And yes I know they stopped it, but it was about safety and nothing else).

So relax, enjoy the show that is FD and if you want grassroots, watch grassroots.


Actually, too much horsepower killed the true rallying and F1. Too powerful cars going way too fast, and thats the recipe for fatal accidents. Which did happen..
Nowadays both are much more safer to the drovers, but the spirit is gone.

Seeking Perfection

AdamBezzeghWell that is your opinion buddy. Motorsports are dangerous in general but as far as I am aware of, FD cars pass through very stringent inspections.
It is mostly ignorant people who are not fully aware of how FD works
that moan about the high horsepower quest killing the spirit of drifting. The name of the game is tires because grip is what matters the most, while horsepower helps to catch up during chase runs. On the other hand, during solo runs, speed is no longer a factor of judging criteria. 

While you are entitled to your opinion, feel free to stick to grass root events and watch the amateurs do their thing. I have been following FD religiously and I can tell you with certainty that most privateers and more specifically FD rookies suck because they are severely lacking talent and cannot link more than 2 corners when it comes to competition with the big guys. In contrast, there is only 1 or 2 that may stand out from the rest with the rate of every 2 years. For instance, Fredric had the most mildly tuned Supra and he managed to distinguish himself with his aggressive driving style.

More horsepower is for the select few that got the resources (motorsports are expensive), but most importantly, the skills to keep full control of the car. Anyone who cannot keep up with the advancements and requirements of FD should stick to lower categories like Pro Am and Pro Am 2. There is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing your limits.


AdamBezzegh What's "true" rallying?
It's just a recipe for fatal accidents if the safety engineering isn't keeping up. Thats not the case nowadays. Especially not in FD where the speed doesn't exceed 180 km/h


The problem I see with adding more and more horsepower is that it increases the gap between the grassroots drifters looking to go pro and the Formula D guys.  Part of me thinks drifting should just be for fun, but there's a competitive aspect to it that I can't deny.  I just hope that the guys drifting in the licensing series' like the Midwest Drift Union can work their way up to Formula D if they want to, without totally breaking the bank because they don't have the sponsorship that guys like Forsberg or Tuerck do.


It's crazy, but understandable. I just hope it doesn't bite into the diversity of the cars too much.


LOL. Brandon Wicknick makes 900 hp in his stock-head 2JZ for way less than $10,000. I was there when they dyno'd at Metric Motors in Centerville, UT. Built bottom end, a good turbo, and an even better tune on E85. It's really not that hard or expensive.


I think its a mind game, like when you pull up next to vaughn or forsberg and you think they have this huge amount of power and its just onoe more thing you have to think of when you already stressing about how to follow him into a corner.


I think it's refreshing that a couple of the drivers have a "don't care, I run whatever horsepower level I'm comfortable with" attitude. I also think the intake restrictors might be a good idea.

Oh yeah, you mis-spelled "Dave Briggs".


I think they should run restrictors... but the restrictor size should depend on the cars weight. lighter car smaller restrictor, heavier car bigger restrictor... This will force builders to be more creative. Also there are countless examples of racing series that died because of rising costs and the HP war will ultimately lead to high costs...


Why would a lighter car have a smaller restrictor? That would mean that the car is not only more powerful but it's lighter to. Doesn't make sense.


It unfortunately already has. Frederic is almost the only 4 banger around, 80% of cars are v8's and the remainder are turbo 6's (mostly 2jz). If they lowered the hp to a max of 700 it would allow grass root drivers to step up and be competitive, it would also make for a far more diverse field of cars. They did a similar thing in world time attack last year, they put in weight restrictions and aero rules to allow privateer drivers to be more competitive. It also allowed for a more diverse sport instead of seeing the big dogs constantly at the top. I think a hp restriction wouldn't be a bad idea.


Gary89 Smaller (hole) in the restrictor means less air and less hp,


ldgrandey To close the gap they want to use Pro2, which is a feeder up series like GP2 is for Formula1. So you put another level between ProAm and the Top Level Competition.


mat88 I would say restrictions would raise the costs. Because these guys aren't the first to produce HP numbers like this. But if you add restrictions of an unknown kind, the engine builder has to work around them, which is more work, which leads to higher costs.


BMueller Gary89 A restrictor is the best way to limit HP... what you can't limit is how the torque and HP are distributed across the powerband. The restictor to weight limit and the existing tire to weight limit would create an environment where very different machines can compete on an equal foot.... Just look at the BTCC the variety of cars is amazing... FWD and RWD competing head to head... An environment where the cars performance is more or less equal (and at the same time an environment that allows multiple paths to building a competitive car like a 450hp 2000lbs AE86 vs a 700hp 3000lbs mustang) will allow the driver skill to shine and at the same time will give grass roots guys a fighting chance, how hard is it to build a relatively light car with 500 hp?... These sets of limitations would also give rise to a huge variety of cars and the rules could add incentives to build different cars like... you could have 50 or 100 HP more if you'll build up a classic like a 71 cuda or a RWD converted integra.. whatever... 

Drift as a sport needs to be regulated, judges should be replaced by a computer system that analyses angle, speed, proximity, etc, power and tire should be regulated etc....

I think some drivers try to hide behind big HP instead of improving themselves


I feel like as long as it doesn't get to the point where everyone is swapping corvette motors in everything then it's cool. You want diversity after all. Big power numbers can be a great spectacle to watch, and it leads to some exciting builds. I just don't want it to become only about power. However other guys have already proved it so I feel like it will all balance it out eventually. I mean part of what makes a top level motorsport category is top level cars... However you don't want it to become a mindless arms race where every engine is the same. Different cars and drivers competing is what we want to see most after all!

There still needs to be a ladder so smaller grassroots level teams can move their way up gradually to FD or get recognition in other categories. That way they don't have to immediately build 1000HP engines to get known in drifting. Like all types of racing Drifting has moved to a phase where there is now a top level category that is going to be expensive... That doesn't mean drifting is broken. There just needs to be other categories to highlight other teams in other performance brackets that way there isn't a disconnect between different levels.


Fearedisx Drifting isn't broken. If FD is going to be a high cost formula for drifting that doesn't mean the entire sport is broken. There just needs to be other categories that get exposure too, that's all... Not every team in open wheel racing goes to F1, does that matter? No. Why? Because there are other series that cost less and get drivers exposure. Drifting just needs more attention to all of it's categories.

Just like if you got watch an endurance race at the Nurburgring for example. People pay attention to the big factory Porsche and Audi efforts in the top class, but they also pay attention to the guys running smaller budget cars in lower classes. So they get attention too. That's all drifting needs. Attention to other classes too. In motorsport the natural competitive spirit will drive costs up. That's why you need attention to all categories so all platforms get attention.


ae70 Well said add diversity to the tracks and make it tough! That wont hurt anything! Honestly whether we are talking grassroots level or top level drifting. It can always be fun we just need to keep it reasonable on how we judge it. Personally I think smoke should NOT be a judging factor ever in drifting it has nothing to do with car control. It should just be something that is a part of the atmosphere not something that should be judged.


J.Albert Corporate sponsors don't negatively effect it. It's all about the rules. Honestly if these corporate sponsors can give a great driver exposure, GOOD! They deserve it. I just think smoke shouldn't be a category of judging in drifting. Drifting is about car control and I don't care if that is achieved with a 1000HP Supra or 140HP Corolla. As long as someone isn't getting better judgments because of more smoke or having more power at the beginning. That doesn't make much sense. Judge it right and it's always fun.


AdamBezzegh ? What is true rallying? Group B had high numbers and it was fantastic rallying... The 90's had way less power and were awesome too. Go to a rally today whether pro or grassroots and you will still have a great time... So I don't get what your pointing at.

How is the spirit of racing gone just because it's safer? Go tell Dan Wheldon or Ayrton Senna's family that safety ruins racing and see what kind of response you get. The spirit of racing is not gone. Spirit of racing is all about the competition. Drivers competing against one another pushing hard in their vehicles. Whether that's with a little Honda Civic at a local Autocross or an Audi LMP1 blasting down the back straight at LeMans. That is what makes racing great. It may change over time, but the spirit always remains and that's why there are so many great drivers and cars to look back on whether we are


Chelsea and Fredric got a point. 1000 is the limit for me though.


I think horsepower is the most usefull at de bankings of Irwindale and Seattle, just as Conrad said. For the other tracks you need to have grip. It sounds cool when everybody has a 1000 ponys under the hood, but that won't bring you the championship...

Restrictors are good, it's pushes the teams to innovate for many horsepowers. But then privateers will be out of the game because it will become a money game.


I don't think they should introduce limitations about the horsepower or whatever else. Let the development go on. I know they're two totally different things but just look at Formula 1: the excessive number of rules and sanctions killed the sport. Don't let this happen to FD too.


It would typically be America that would go crazy with horsepower, it's such a drag racer mentality. Drifting isn't a pissing contest with power, and it shows, compare formula D to the original drifting competitions and the skill just isn't there, proved by the latest article speedhunters has produced, so many of their cars are wrecked!! Have a look at any of the big jap racers or drift/touge cars, barely any are pushing over 600hp. Also there is nothing fun or interesting about slapping a fucking huge ls engine in for power, what's happened to the perfectly tuned Sr20's and 4age's? I have no interest in the big American 'drift' give me grassroots touge drifting any day over this


The problem is they don't have car control. Look at speedhunters latest article and you'll see half of them have wrecked their cars before its even started !!!!


I think it is more interesting when the limiting factor is not engine output.  Running an entire weekend on one motor, limited number of tires, minimum treadwear, maximum tire width, spec fuel, minimum weight, or something of that nature is interesting to me.  Let's be honest and admit that anyone with a tire sponsor is getting rubber that is not commercially available regardless of what the rules might be.

At the end of the day, though, there is a certain amount of "pro wrestling" going on here.  If at all possible we can't have an unsponsered perennial back-marker beating one of the hero's of the sport.  The organizers are here to get paid and they will write the rules to suit the series sponsers.


xracer6  I completely agree with you on the LS aspect. If everyone's running a big Bowtie V8 then there's really no variety left in the sport, just the same engine/trannies running under a few different shells.


Also nowadays the shells are all extremely similar in shape on modern cars :p


WillTKB Didn't the horsepower war originally originate from Japan, where lately in D1GP most of the cars are like 800-1000hp cars, with mad aero and they drift shorter distances for tire use...?


WillTKB  I agree. These 1000+hp power slide cars are for show and won't survive drifting on narrow touge. I last counted 12 different types of drifting technique, I'm sure almost everyone here use only power slide all the time. If the hp to drifting was limited to 300, very few people here would be able to drift competitively.


I am with fredric on this one. This is the big leagues here boys, if you're scared, got to church!


TristianScarbrough  or it could work like this. "Shit, he's only got 550hp and I have 950hp and hes points leader by 50 points, how is he doing it?" I think even stuff like that can mess with the mind.


Don't put limitations, just let them continue. I think they should know their own limits soon.


My opinion is DO NOT put restrictions on the engine. <== By this I mean what Chelsea said, "I think throttle
body restrictors would be good." No this is not Nascar, this is Formula
Drift. Everyone is forgetting what drifting is all about, driving skills not
horsepower. I think and believe if Formula Drift went back to their roots, Formula
Drift will be much more attractive and interesting just like when it all
started. We will see many more challengers stepping up to the plate with garage
built cars, not expensive drag cars.


Personally, I like a Weight/HP ratio rule.  It works in all types of road racing and would make the show less of a drag race and put more emphasis on the drifting.  Make it high enough to be interesting to the fans with great sounding engines and flame spitting, but not so high as to compromise the durability of the rest of the drivetrain.  And you could have 4 cylinders and rotaries still be competitive. Who wants to see more cars broken instead of drifting??

This sport should be about the driver and the car set-up more than the all out power.  Here in the states for example, the NASA sanctioning body will roll a mobile chassis dyno to events and run cars over it to ensure compliance. Not a difficult process.  I just think if they want to keep the number of quality competitors up in the field, then having a formula that allows a guy to build a car that is fast enough and won't break every weekend would be the way. And may entice more manufactures to come out and play since they don't have to run someone elses engines to make the grade.


Stop trying to act like you know anything about this. Its very obvious you don't. Last I knew Professional drift competitions don't happen on public roads. Only ILLEGAL street drifting. Get your head out of Initial D long enough to realize that has nothing to do with D1 or FD. The guys who run touge do it 100% for fun as much as I would love to see a series where people come and watch a bunch of sweet ass drivers drift for fun shit doesn't sell tickets and therefor does not work as a series. Competition puts butts in the seats.


Do not limit power! 

For many, drifting is one of the only motorsport left that you will not win just because you have the biggest budget. If by any way FD try to restrict power, only the big budgets teams will be able to pay more and engineer their way around that restriction in order to make big horse power. Just like they do in rallying. 

I agree with Dean. It's relatively cheap these day to make 700hp. And you can be competitive with that. Essa prove it. So it gives more chances to smaller budget teams.

Plus, restrictions open the door for cheating. And there is cheating at way to many racing series no body can deny it. And you can't put a maximum hp unless you bring a dyno at every round. Even then, they could flip a switch at the starting line and run a more agressive setup without any body nowing it.


I think restrictions are a bad idea, we are at a unique time in drifting. Similar to group b rally with amazing cars that are pushing the envelope of what is possible with drifting a car. Everybody wants a return of group b and the videos and cars are historic. I hope that drift cars can fill the void in the normally over regulated world we live in


why they have that much power? shouldn't be everthing for throttle response? how can you have it with that boost?


Here's the blunt and brutally honest answer, All you guys wanting the grassroots and privateer guys to be in formula d and be competitive Its Not Going To Happen so get over it and stop crying about it, there's only a couple privateers who are competitive for instance mike essa but they actually have talent and skill and are really good unlike the grassroots amateur guys. if you want to see grassroots and privateer guys go to your local events or the amateur events for example go to lone star drift, golden gate drift, vegas pro am, U.S. drift, street wise drift, midwest drift union, evergreen drift, and just drift etc.  Formula d is the highest level of drifting, your not going to find the amateur grassroot guys there, formula d is the equivalent to major league baseball or professional football your not going to find amateurs at that level so Stop being a bunch of bitches crying about there being no grassroot guys or having that grassroot vibe.  As far as horsepower goes it's needed to progress the sport.  There is no need for for over 800hp and even when they do have 1000hp that doesn't mean they are getting all that horsepower to the ground.  You can have 1000hp and still be slow.  They have the tire rule to restrict the guys with high hp so they won't be a lot faster than the other guys and that's if they are and can actually put the hp down to the ground.  Kenneth Moen has feal suspension and wisefab and around 800hp give or take and he has the fastest car on the grid showing the fact that you can have less horsepower and still be the fastest.  As far as people saying its sideways drag racing that's bullshit because they are usually door to door and usually rubbing tire to tire when they are in competition and formula d actually promotes them being close to each other hence the proximity being a huge factor in judging despite people who think its who's the fastest or farthest ahead, its about proximity, line and angle and as much smoke as possible.


The Weight/Hp rule is very important along with the tire rule those restrict the high hp guys from being too fast, as far as restricting hp you can't because they would have to dyno the car at every event and before every run because the teams can turn up the horsepower right after the dyno and having high hp and being the fastest isn't an advantage its a disadvantaged whether your in your lead run or chase run because you don't want to be far ahead in a lead run and if your chasing a low hp guy its much harder when you have a lot more hp than him.


Also another disadvantage is when they do have these massive hp engine they are Not reliable also they have to let on and off the throttle a lot instead of staying on the throttle the whole time which a lower hp car could and it would create more consistent smoke.  The real war is all about grip and traction, The horsepower wars are idiotic.  It doesn't matter how much hp you have it matters how fast it is on the track!


Those who want to see more skill and finesse in drifting will have to watch something else other than FD... Unfortunately grassroots drifters are usually not skillful enough to display very high levels of skilll and the top level drifting competitions are all about managing 1000+ HP powerslides... Well drifting fans, your best bet is to find these pros on their off days when they're chillin with friends and drifting their personal 500HP cars for fun. Good luck with that. I love circuit racing and it has its own problems... Even when it gets boring *cough, F1 cough* I can still admire the skill of the driver navigating the race track and I can still find some racing series to watch (touring cars) that are not boring... Hopefully drifting gets to the level where there are many different series available for people to watch and choose what they like.


My point wasn't that I wanted to see more grassroots drifters in fd, I just meant there is no skill left in fd for example watch this and tell me again how good they are compared to the amateurs in Japan:Kyle Mohan Crash Long Beach 480 Frames Slow Mo: http://youtu.be/eiXtltwYIJw
Not saying this doesn't happen anywhere else but this seems to be happening a lot in formula d (look at the speedhunters article for example). To me that means they just don't have much skill out or they have to much power to control.


It's such a typical American style of motorsport. No skill required just as long as it's loud and colorful it's considered good. Therefore yes it is sideways drag racing or to put it in a better way NASCAR for real men but it's definitely not proper drifting (MitchJBaier smoke is one of these bullshit factors, although I do not deny it is fun )
worker bee powerslides are the complete opposite of 'top level drifting'


WillTKB Since you can read between the lines I'll make my statement clearer for you. Top level drifting is getting worse as more of the different nuances of drifting skill become lost in the HP war.


WillTKB  Kyle mohan is a terrible example, the pro drivers in fd been there since they had low hp cars and now they have high hp cars, they had skill back then and they still do and some more than others. for instance essa, forsberg, vaughn, aasbo, tuerc daigo, moen etc they have real skill and talent, there are many drivers considered pros in fd who aren't really pro and aren't at that skill level but after this year the ones that don't belong will be gone they have to make it in the top 32 by the end of the season to remain pro


I like how you didnt mention the veterans taka aono, gushi, daijiro, etc etc. Clearly youre favoring the people who ended up in top 8 for fdlb 2014. Youre not looking at the big picture. All of them are really good. They are all skilled drivers otherwise they wouldnt be where they are at. Not to mention matt field's consistency last year coming up in the ranks. Tyler McQuarrie who is always a threat. Justin Pawlak and Darren McNamara. This is just favoritism. Give credit where its due and respect all formula d drivers. Horsepower wars or not. Essa proved it last year that you dont need 1k+ hp to win championships.


SlidewayZ213   I mentioned some drivers names followed by etc you moron.


I personally dislike the power wars. I'm a classic show person. I like flashy liveries and running sr's and stuff like that. I'm currently building my car to run pro-am and I'm hearing now that people are coming into pro-am with like 5-600+ HP. I mean really? Pro am for me is like grassroots drifting. Well I hoped it would have been. But now its becoming an american sport instead of the Japanese sport its supposed to be. You go over to japan and you wont see v8's in 240's you will see ka-t or sr20 . personally I am putting a 1jz in my 240 just for reliability and easy works. I haven't had good luck with sr and I haven't herd anything attractive for the rb so I'm going with a Toyota motor. For proam I'm only going to be making 450-5. And then hopefully for my second a mature year either a full 2j or hybrid 1.5j so me I don't like the HP wars. This isn't NASCAR or champ cars or anything like that. I wish we could all just have like 6 or 7 for pro that's all you need lol. Grip and tourqe why have 1200hp when you only use 600 of it anyway!!!! That's my rant that is all


If you see any of these drivers outside a competition you will almost never see them have a serious crash, because in formula D they push it as hard as they can, to go faster, closer to the wall, with more angle.
Anyone who knows anything about motorsports in general can tell you that when you push to the limit, you are much more likely to have some sort of an accident or failure.

Anyone seen them drive a proper driftcar (not like going missilecar bashing) on a "just for fun" event?
I saw Aasbo, Moen, Gittin, Tuereck, Mad Mike drift at Gatebil together last summer, all drove batshit crazy and other than some rear bumbers from dirt dropping and mad mikes engine from strict noise reductions, nothing else went wrong.
So to say these guy's do not have skills anymore, just high hp engines, is very wrong!


Turbo technology has come a LOONG way the last years (and much due to turbocharching of ordinary cars has skyrocketed)
So a 800hp turbo (if you go for a top end one) today will be able to spool up as quickly as a 500hp one from 10 years ago.
And many of the big HP cars are not 4 cyl any more, A 6cyl spools up much quicker than a 4 cyl.
Plus they use clever nitrous systems not to boost overall power, but to help spool up and low-midrange power.


i think its both good and bad...if you stiffle it will become a spec series if not it could get retarded...who knows...


these high hp cars are dumb and untraditional but the sound and feel of the v8s is great in person


chrisgotta86  Sound and feel of the V8s in person is what makes me and everyone I know hate spectating drift events now.  It's a haggard sound.


All really embarrassing cars shown on the second page.  The whole thing that killed American drifting was when someone decided the point was to go fast.  NO.  The point is to drive sideways in a fun, stylish manner.  Grippy, fast drifting is not fun to do or watch.  Limit tire width to something like 235.  Also put the redneck V8s in a different class so we can go watch the drifting and leave before the hillbilly burnout drag race starts.


People getting all crazy over a competition based on style - tons of horsepower is stylish, that's all. Essas car has no bearing on a production car with 700 hp or 7000 - its a roll cage on wheels, with a very expensive set of parts and more engineering than any decent human could afford.


I guess it could work out in one of two major ways:

1) If you do limit HP figures, then the cars begin to lose their individuality. Who's to say that torque, engine type, body styling, suspension setups, etc. won't fall victim to standardization.? In my mind, FD will get mundane VERY QUICKLY. Or,

2) Champions are directly proportional to bank account sizes. Unfortunately true, but simple as that.

Though I'm sure I've oversimplified certain points here, but these are the two obvious outcomes to this discussion.


Its less about grassroots guys skill...and more about money. I know plenty of GR guys chat can pbysically be competitive, are even in formula d competing, but the money... GUY I know B wicknick, has the skill but pays for his own tires so he can ok nly afford a few, pays for his own 900hp 2j, so ehen something snaps..its out of his pocket, pays for gas chasing the comp around the country, and you really arent doing much unless you get a corporate sponsor.


I dont think they should limit power...but I think there should be a class where they make them use cars again...not a tube chassis, with skin and some seats