FD New Jersey: The Smoke Has Cleared
Riding The Wall

Never has a single Formula Drift event caused such a reaction or garnered so much hate on social media than the 2016 New Jersey round a couple of weekends back. While I expected to see some backlash from all the drama of Forrest Wang quitting and then coming back again, I had no idea that it would fundamentally change the sport from here on out.

My take? I say bring it on. The amount of comments good and bad were immeasurable, which in turn means that these people care in some sense. They are passionate about the sport that myself and so many others have invested their lives into. The outcry after Formula Drift New Jersey can only better the sport as a whole; professional drifting in general is still young compared to most other forms of motorsport, so each year it’s evolving at a very fast rate.


So what do you guys think Formula Drift and professional drifting in general needs to change immediately? How can this very complicated motorsport be improved?


Either way, drifting is here to stay.

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite images from Formula Drift New Jersey and figured I would dump them on you guys all at once in a mega Image Gallery below (click for the hi-res versions). Enjoy!

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto



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I believe that the judging system is flawed. My biggest point is that the judges 9 time out of 10 are very biased. There have been several times where I've watched Gitten Jr. or Aasbo have a slightly above average lead run and throw down an absolutly terribly chase run but still win the battle. I believe that the sport needs to develop a point system somehow, possibly setting up markers on clipping points and how ever close you get without hitting them determins how many points you get, I understand that's kind of what it's already like but i honestly feel the current judging system is way to subjective and needs to be fixed. Lastly, I don't think that what Denofa did should be illegal.


Forgive me if I am missing something, but what's the big deal? I don't see how one driver leaving a series can "fundamentally change the sport from here on out". After all, drivers join, switch teams, retire and change series all the time; look at Danica Patrick or Juan Pablo Montoya switching from open wheelers to NASCAR, or Valentino Rossi trying out F1 and WRC. Hell, think of all the drivers who participate in multiple series at the same time, or even Micheal Jordan leaving the NBA for a completely different sport!
My point is, Forrest Wang made a decision he felt was best for him, then changed his mind. We as humans do it all the time, and I don't see how his decision, whichever way it may have potentially gone, could have had such a dramatic impact, especially given the other personalities in the sport such as Fredric Aasbo, Vaughn Gitten Jr and others that populated FD grids.


dlaurence01 I think there is something to be said about the outcry, and subsequent reaction to this event. In the past I have always felt as if Formula Drift brushed off the fan's complaints and communicated horribly. If there was an unfair call, they would take forever to justify it and wait for people to forget. This time the call was so controversial that a driver left mid-season (something that hasn't happened like this before), another driver was getting death threats, and the series was almost universally being labeled as biased/poorly run. I've always said that there has been more then meets the eye when it comes to FD. It's a big machine, and they can't change overnight. But given how upset both fans and some drivers were over this, I think Formula Drift will be making marked efforts to communicate better with their fans. This all boiled down to confusion over the call, and fans not being able to understand the decision in the moment. As long as I have been a fan of the series, they have been horrible about communicating what is going on. If FD can prevent this from happening in the future, then the sport has definitely changed from here on out.


SkizurtImports  The judges are already using a points system, and they can choose how many points each clipping point is scored with a tablet system. It's very advanced from the days of guessing how many points a driver earned in a run.

With that said I've heard many interesting suggestions in terms of how to 'fix' the judging. Including have a fan vote count as one judge, or even using more judges and guest judges.

However it's going to be really hard to get rid of the human element. I don't care how hard you try, there will always be human error. That is just the nature of the sport.

James Davison

Larry Chen SkizurtImports

It isn't a sport and it has lost the people. It is sport entertainment like that wrestling nonsense...

Drifting is very cool but, at its nature, it is a couple of dudes having fun going sideways in THEIR cars.


Forget all the social media drama... All I see here is true talent! I love your work Larry!


I don't know why I feel like I have the need to share my worthless opinion, and honestly it has nothing to do with the question asked in the article, but I feel like pro drifting is completely against what the spirit of drifting is about. I understand there has always been different forms, but commercialization and corporate sponsorship isn't something that appeals to me. I guess its just my preference to grassroots and the feeling that it's more obtainable to someone without tones of money or talent, but pro drifting just doesn't do it for me. If it does for anyone else, more power to ya. 

Drifting will never die as long as people still love it. Doesn't matter if it's a fad, how much money you throw at it, as long as people like me still love going sideways and having fun burning rubber, it'll never die. 

I also do recognize the talent the drivers have, but I'd much rather see them drift lower power cars with custom fab and garage engineering. I'm sure some would agree.


Great photos Larry! Can't wait to see what unfolds in August

Mohammed Abdullah

All you need is Judge Judy.
And play some george michael


@James Davison Larry Chen SkizurtImports You need to move with the times. Drifting is a motorsport and at a professional level it can't always be about fun. Look at all the dramas in F1


It's amazing how you can capture so many in the moment shots. Not just the car ones. Those are cool too but seeing the drivers behind the scenes and the cars in unique angles are what makes your images great. Favorite three are the drinking water one, kid hanging on driver and the car driving away from afar with someone's leg out of focus.


I totally understand what you mean. I enjoy seeing cars on the road and local races much more than the big tv events.


Somone said that pro drifting has become  drag racing with some corners. Personaly,I'm not impresed with all that big power,and that steering angle,cars look funny. I like grassroots events more.


I was going to reply to a lower comment but then figured I had more to say that expanded beyond just a reply. 

Drifting is an evolving thing. I feel like all of the complaints about drifting have been said about any major motorsport ever as it's grown out of somebodies garage and into a professional facility with engineers on staff. The major difference being that these days people who are upset have the ability to voice their displeasure directly to the people in charge of it all. However, there are some things we need to keep in mind. 

Grassroots drifting is still around and still growing and retains the "spirit" of drifting as defined by some California kid who watched a couple videos online of japanese Video Option. Even though the Japanese started their pro series four years before Formula D, people don't decry those drivers and series the same way. 

Formula Drift is the premier Drifting league in the world with both a North American and Asian championship. Formula Drift is still growing and at this point seems poised to become the defacto drift series in the world much in the same way WRC F1 and Nascar are the top tier in the world for their respective disciplines.

So with that in mind, why are there so many complaints against Formula D? People can still go out and slide their cars on public roads with friends if they so wish, while others can compete in a regulated format. There is room for everyone to do their thing without it effecting the others in much the way Street Outlaws exists with the NHRA (they don't have to like each other).


I dont have any idea on how to fix the problems that FD has to face in the future. But it should be noted that Larry Chen is a BOSS when he gets behind the camera..absolutely love your work... amazing!


From my perspective (as a UK fan). The biggest issues don't seem to be with the sport itself. Granted there's things I'd change, but there's things I'd change with every motorsport. You'll always get that, I mean look at F1, every week it seems like they're dicking with the rules. So I don't think they need a rules and regulations change right now.

To me the biggest issues are with the way the sport is presented and the way it interacts with it's audience. Which is odd considering the background of it's founders and management, but maybe they've gotten a little blinkered of late.

1. To me the on demand content this year SUCKS. Yeah there's a livestream (which can be patchy), but for a sport with a potential world wide audience, and one that is actively pushing in to markets in different time zones, their 'catch up' streaming is really, really poor. Network A cut the 'highlights' to one lead run per battle (WTF?!), and it sounds dreadful the way they cut the audio. By all means do a highlights package, but at least show both runs, and make the full livestream available for those that want it. 

2. FD has plenty of down time between runs. It's the nature of the sport. They've spent time and effort and done well at minimising this. But seem to have missed the opportunity to create value from it (other than ramming some adverts in). Why not have tech features, car features, information about the judging/judges, graphics to show what you're looking for? This helps fans understand what they're watching, and why the judging is being done. It means the teams all get some air time (which the sponsors will love) and helps build up an affinity between fans, the teams and the 'sport' itself. Hell, why not send Larry or someone like Sam Nalven out to shoot some tech features and vids? You're literally SURROUNDED by good content makers, and you're doing nothing with them. 

3. I think bringing the judging closer to the commentating is a good idea, but the best idea I've seen would be guest judges. Like F1 do with having a driver steward at each GP, it helps keep them grounded and gives the fans some assurance it's not just a club of people with their own bias and views feeding in to each other every event. If you put the same people in a room time and time again, they're bound to influence each other, fetching in an 'outsider' each event I think would provide some perspective. (OK, this one IS a rule change)

Anyway, I wish them the best of luck pushing forwards. I'm interested to see what their take on the FIA getting involved in Drifting is and how they think that might affect them. I'll keep trying to catch up with the streaming, but it's tricky this season.


@James Davison Im not trying to be pedantic but if you look at the definition of sport one could make the argument that drifting, at least professional drifting, is indeed a sport.

Sport (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_English) or sports (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_English) are all forms of usually https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_activity or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entertainment for spectators. Usually the contest or game is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a tie game; others provide https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tie-breaking_methods, to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of such two-sided contests may be arranged in a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tournament producinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champion.


I think a lot of the issues in the competitive aspect of the sport boil down to the judging and the judges. I honestly believe it should be a rotating panel of judges. There aren't a whole lot of events in the Formula Drift season so I don't think it would be unreasonable to have a new panel of judges for each event. Before anyone jumps on me about consistency issues, look at the panel of judges we have right now and their obvious lack of consistency, I don't think it would be hurting anything.

As far as the media aspect of the sport, I really am getting tired of hearing Jarod DeAnda's puns and jokes and all-around terrible commentary. I don't mind Ryan Sage because he brings more of a technical aspect to the commentary booth, but for crying out loud find someone with some actual sports broadcast experience. I would also like to reiterate what another poster commented on about the dead air in the live streams. Have more content in the broadcast. Tech features, driver profiles, something to keep me entertained/informed. Have something queued up in case of unscheduled (or even scheduled) downtime. I love that they have a pit reporter (I don't necessarily like who they have doing it).

Lastly, when is FD going to get a live TV deal?

Forgive me if I seem like I'm typing out of my ass.


I couldn't have said it better.


T8DTurdbo  You're right about the grassroots thing.  I understand how that appeals more to most people because at the grassroots level, it is more attainable to the viewer.  Not that any guy off the couch couldn't go and compete at FD Pro level, it'd just take a lot of money and time and...well you know the drill.  I liken the grassroots vs FD comparison to what is currently going on in drag racing.  NHRA vs outlaw/no prep/street.  NHRA is where the big boys and girls play.  BUT, street guys and no prep events have the public on their side.  Cars are crazier, drivers more brash and relateable.  No one can relate to John Force or Capps, but they can relate to Big Chief and Sean Ellington...  Maybe it'll take a more street approach to FD to "win back" the fans...Maybe a street legal rules sub series?  I still enjoy FD in its current state, it's all we have here in the US.  I'll still watch it.  But I do know that FD is listening.

Just my worthless opinion too.  What do I know, I just watch.


Robo_No1  Yes! Sam Nalven FTMFW!  Haha.


BozoMotosport  True, I would love to see them on a more technical, low speed course.  Like how they make those NASCAR boys turn right on road courses twice a year...


I love drifting. And its grwat to see the progress. But....I miss the old,simplier times. Even in my country,Croatia,drift has gone soo far away, cars with V8s, 300hp is waay underpowered,biiig steering angles. Yeah,its grwat thing to see. But I miss good old times where guy could come with 150hp corolla and dominate. It was more driving skill involved. And atmosphere,it was just guys with t-shirts and helmets,with their daily driven cars,having pure fun.


Thats all you've got to say about this event Larry? I thought this was an event coverage post, this event definitely deserves a lot more than just 4 paragraphs.


To hone logic, supported with open minds and a lot to learn. For logic that is already extensive, balance it with humility


i think the judging is BS