FIA Introduces The Intercontinental Drifting Cup

Drifting has finally entered the realm of the FIA, the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile.

It’s been rumored for a while, then talked about when the leading drifting series met, and now the FIA has officially said they will sanction their first ever drifting event in 2017. Announced today at the fifth FIA Sport Conference in Geneva, the inaugural Intercontinental Drifting Cup event will take place on September 30 and October 1 in Japan.


While the FIA will create the rulebook for the event, Sunpros and Isao Saita will be held responsible for the promotion of the event. If you’re not familiar, Sunpros has run the D1 Grand Prix since its inception in 2000 with the JAF (Japanese Automobile Federation) as their FIA representative. D1GP was made famous by incorporating Keiichi ‘Drift King’ Tsuchiya and Option founder Daijiro Inada as judges and the original founders of the series, and creating the very first official drifting competition series.


Isao Saita became President of the series in 2008 until Osami Suzuki took over the position in 2009, the year before Tsuchiya and Inada left siting “consistent irresponsible management” as their reason. Though, mysteriously, while the FIA mentioned that Saita was a founder of the D1 Grand Prix, he is listed as the current Representative Director, and this is the first mention of him being a “founder” of D1GP.


The event will take place in Odaiba, a central Tokyo location that has hosted D1GP events since 2004 under the Tokyo Drift banner. For this year, D1GP are running it as the final round scheduled for October 7 and 8, the weekend after the FIA Intercontinental Cup. It makes sense to schedule it up this way given the logistics of creating a custom carpark course.


It will be interesting to see how the FIA will work with drifting. There are fans right now who are praising the idea and looking forward to finally seeing parity between cars, but others are lamenting and comparing it with the current state of Formula One and the rigid structure of the rulebook killing car styling. Many are also wondering who will be representing their series for this world event.

While it may be tough, the date works with all but the King of Nations/King of Europe round on the very same weekend in Greinbach, Austria. Most every other series has an event the week before or the week after and shipping a main car for that event probably won’t work out. If any drivers from the other major series do show, it may be with a car purchased in Japan for it, or a car built specifically for the event.


The best news is that it comes with the blessing of FIA President, Jean Todt, who said, “With the creation of the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup, we are building the framework for a standard format which will help the sport continue to grow from grass roots level to more professional competitions globally. We are setting the standard for what I’m sure will be a hugely successful form of motor sport.”


The idea of an FIA-backed drifting series isn’t a new one and has probably been on the horizon since the inception of sanctioned, competition drifting in 2000 and the D1GP. While this will be a single event, you can expect that the rulebook that the FIA creates will be adopted by several series as this talk has already begun last year at the FIA Drift Working Group meeting.

Do you think the idea of the FIA creating a standardized rule book for drifting is a promising idea? Who do you expect and/or hope to see at the first ever FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup? Do you expect a world drifting championship to come out of this single round? Let’s share our thoughts in the comments section below.

Justin Banner
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"Do you think the idea of the FIA creating a standardized rule book for drifting is a promising idea?"

If drifting wants to be taken seriously then a standardized rulebook must be made. I don't care for drifting but I'm definitely going to keep following this development.

Muhammad Haqy Aunoora

The best news is that it comes with the blessing of FIA President, Jean Todt, who said, “With the creation of the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup, we are building the framework for a standard format which will help the sport continue to grow from grass roots level to more professional competitions globally. We are setting the standard for what I’m sure will be a hugely successful form of motor sport.”

Reading that statement makes me hope that every drifter from around the world not participate in this event because it seems with that statement above the only result we get is some sort of formula one but with drift car and the event is drifting. My point here is that I'm afraid this standardized event will ruin the already good event and system we have now. But, in the other hand I also hope that I'm wrong.

Nicholas Cefaratti

The only thing that the FIA has done is ruin motorsport. So kiss drifting as you know it goodbye. By the time they are done with it, you will have autonomous, electricly powered sliding vehicles. May the best programmer win!


Yeah cos that's really what's happened with Rallycross, WRC and numerous others, isn't it? There's more to the FIA than F1.


Ya, FIA also does WEC where they've killed off lmp1 with overly expensive hybrids.

FIA also does WTCC, which is completely dead, its hopeless.

The best racing series in the planet right now are things like V8SC, Super GT, BTCC, Indycar, IMSA, and TCR....all have nothing to directly with FIA.

WRC is just now recovering from what the FIA did to it.

Watch, Todt and his savefty squad will turn drifting into more of a farce than FD. The safety regs will be through the roof.

FFS, the FIA is all about road safety. The only reason they're getting involved with drifting to make "standardized rules" is to make it impossible to compete in a competition or even matsuri with a road legal car.

This is the start of the FIA standardized "drift monocoque".


You forget one thing in all of those points: The technical rulebook is developed with the series itself. Example WEC: The ACO does ruin the LMP1 right now. Or the WTCC: The promoter did want more agressive, more exaggerated cars and the FIA sanctioned it. The FIA just sets the sporting rules and the rest is a dialogue. Look at the DTM which has nothing to do with the FIA and that's really a killed off series. I bet there will me many other examples for that. If the founders and "drift people" who work with the FIA do not mess up, it'll be a great opportunity to get drifting to the big screens.


this ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


I'm interested to think what a purpose-built drift car would look like... not something made from silvias and mustangs, but something like a "D1 car"


I've thought about this, too, when I spoke with Jim Liaw after he came back from the Drifting Working Group. He said he didn't expect it, but if it does happen it would probably be something closer to GT4. A full production car with OE suspension and OE offered engines. Again, he made it very clear he didn't expect that to happen.

Seb Agent-Orange Betts

Really hope that this doesn't turn drifting into the same as F1, hopefully the rules are a little bit more relaxed otherwise I can it detracting from the fun of drift


Hey, They're crushing lap records this year at F1. I have a feeling ownership was more to blame than the FIA in ruining F1.


Great news. Drifting needs standartization and stricter rules. 1000hp spaceships are cool, but equal (and i hope less powerful) cars will actually be MORE fun to watch, because it will be the battle of actual driver's skills, and it's great.
What i'd personally like to see in terms of rules:
Horsepower limitations (intake restrictors, power to weight ratio balance) + tire size rules
Only 2000+ (or maybe even later) year chassis, possible engine swap limitations

Everyone here telling about "drifting will turn into F1" and stuff completely forgots that MAIN point and fun of drifting is demonstration of driver's skills, and the best way to compare them is to run ~equal cars in terms of tech specs.


Hmm.. I for one like the variety. Watching Huxley in his little Celica going against a huge GTR, or the black smoke Mercedes wagon pouring two tone smoke, makes it all so much more interesting. Then we have D-mac building his Audi S1. Where would these fit in with a standardised series?

Having attended the wrc quite a few times as I lived in Wales, the support classes are actually more interesting than the main championship, as there's only really 6 or 7 fast cars in the top class. But with national rules closing in on FIA standards, many of the very fast, and really interesting specials, like Andy Burtons Peugeot Cosworth have disappeared, because they can't be run in any class anymore.

I hope the Fia leaves the variety of drifting intact, as its really vital to let the drivers express their style. The last thing I want to see, is a field of 32 beige metallic Toyota Camry's with identical LS swaps. In the end, drifting is professional showboating, and style is everything.


I completely agree with you and have the same fears. It's like when you see Lone Star Drift go to Aus and they have to run really small rear tyre sizes.

It's so interesting to watch the teams adopt different ways of achieving reliable high power. I see it as more innovative and exciting when custom/aftermarket parts are constantly being looked at to try and make improvements. I think it would be a real shame to see intake restrictors implemented. Maybe just different classes with different power limits so there are "more affordable" options to enter the series but don't have any restrictions about how you make the power.

I'm also quite worried about how it's going to be judged, because as cool as the red bull drift shifters series is, I prefer when the drivers are judged more on their flamboyance and how to chose to go about approaching the clips and lines. BDC I think is perfect, awesome to be a spectator at with the runs within a couple of minutes of each other and drift games played in between larger gaps and (in my opinion) some very good judging with great variety in the field.


Following up, concerning "FIA KILLS MOTORSPORTS" stuff some guys are saying here

There are a lot of FIA-run events and series which are actually fun and entertaining and have some great competition while being pretty strictly ruled. Take WRX championship for example, or GT racing.


The biggest benefit will be clarifying how the runs are judged in what is hopefully a more consistent, and understandable to the average spectator, manner.


This is only a good thing for drifting. A set of rules that series all around the world can work to can only be a good thing. Take a look at the TCR touring cars that are being built. Before you had countless national series running to their own specs, now there is a global standard and the cars and championships are popping up everywhere.

To create a set of standardised drifting rules should allow everyone to compete on a more level playing field. The FIA simply has to look at the things people love about drifting... The mad looking cars, the personalities behind the wheel and the spectacle of cars being hurled sideways. Keep that and there on to a winner.


TCR spawned specifically because the FIA killed off touring car racing. TCR is not run by the FIA. That's why it's not called the TCR "world championship", because the FIA kind of "owns" the title "world championship". So that's why they went with TCR International.

TCR, BTCC, and V8SC, these are the leading TC catagories, and they all stay away from the FIA.


I don't they will keep that though, just look at how similar all the LMP1 and 2 cars are at le mans vs the 80s. Having a limited number of chassis to choose from and rules and restrictions on aro etc.

I just don't see the FIA keeping the parts about drifting that make it so popular and unique.


I personally want to see this fail.. FIA has always been saying that drifting is not a motorsport.. and now that it is sooooo popular they want a hand in it?? Fuck them... and I agree the dullness of F1 and other motorsport just proves that FIA just makes thing more boring. Soon you will have same cars and nothing more just going around..


Agreed, I too want to see this fail. Drifting has come this far without the FIA, and now that they are starting to notice how huge the sport has grown, they want a piece. Thanks to the sheer variation of cars and drivers at all levels of competition and practice days, Drifting is cool. I cant see that being the case with FIA ''Standardization'' That being said, it just goes to show how much the sport has progressed now that they want to be involved. Tough shit, we don't need you

Dave Stansfield

I am 64 years old and have watched the FIA in its variouse guises over time ruin all forms of the sport I love.
Granted they have improved safety,but they have pushed the little guy out,in favor of profit and "yes men "
I fear for drifting where there is so much freedom of expression in terms of cars,drivers and teams,don't let the sterile men in smart suits take the fun out of your sport


I agree with you wholeheartedly. Who can forget Jean-Marie Balestre, who almost killed F1 singlehandedly, and did kill off Group B all on his own, which many believe to be the greatest form of motorsport to have ever existed. The FIA is a very cloaked organisation who make decisions behind closed doors. There is little clarity to the outside world, and little listening done to people at grass roots level on what they like to see. Regardless that Balestre is gone, Todt runs things the same way, he's just less of a prick. This is not a good thing for drifting at all. They only see large profit to make and want to elbow their way into that money and won't care who they push out of the way. In regards to the mess that F1 is in though, I would put most of that blame of failure on Mr Ecclestone, who is of the same genre as Mr Balestre. We need to get rid of autocrats in motorsport and have more democracy, not less.

Jordan Butters

My main concern is how close to D1GP this looks to be, and if they choose to adopt the D1GP 'drift box' judging strategy then it's a step in entirely the wrong direction.

Also, 'Intercontinental Drifting Cup' – maybe they could call it the IDC? Wait, wait, wait – that sounds familiar…


Yeah, I'm still waiting on the Technical and Sporting Regulations to get released.


Here in Spain we where obligated to run drifting under the federation and everything becomes more expensive, to do the same.
So I expect the theme same.
Really good job need to be done, not to ruin drifting


and all of a sudden the little guy gets cast even more to the side.
“With the creation of the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup, grow from grass roots level to more professional competitions globally. We are setting the standard for what I’m sure will be a hugely successful form of motor sport.”
The fuck? turn up 17 yeard after the fact, at a point where most people already cant compete dud to ludicrous budgets required and claim to be setting the standard. Fuck the FIA and Fuck Formula D


I really dont like the tone of that statement the FIA put out. It's like if they're going to be drifting's savior or something. Drifting, in its different iterations around the world, is successful one way or another. I agree, screw the FIA. If this venture of their's doesn't succeed it'll hurt the sport in the long run. And at least FD has a Pro2 class, which isnt perfect but is at least not as expensive as the Pro class. Maybe they need a PRO3 class?

Mārtiņš Ēlerts

I don't see any problems with FIA doing what they want, at the end of the day if You want to see a drift event there will still be plenty to chose from. No one is forcing anyone to watch a boring FIA event.

Joachim Taverne

I'm curious to see how it will match with the other existing and well established drift competition (IDC, Formula D, the king of series amongst other). Not sure that finding a common base will that easy.

On the other hand, the good nieuws (or is it? ) , drift gain some sort of international recognition outside the "afficionados" circle, may be that could help in some way :)


I think grassroots drifting is already growing very quickly without the need for standardised regulations across the world. In the UK a lot of the grassroots drivers use bmws and mx5s with very different levels of mods. I don't see how a globally standardised rules/regulations is going to work effectively, much like common monetary policy in Eurozone countries.


This wont work in Australia. We cant even get a true national level drift series happening, let alone something international. Plus, companies dont have the kind of marketing budgets here like OS.


Admittedly I dont know enough about the rules and politics of current drift series to speculate on this news, but I literally laughed out loud (in a good way) at the thought of Jean Todt watching a drift event! I can picture the happy little Frenchman grinning through the tire smoke. I really hope he does it justice.


Drifting as a form of mortorsport as evolved is different ways across the Globe. I really hope FIA will consult the organisers of various championships ( IDC, BDC, King Of series and so on..), to actually mix the best of each series to make a fabulous one, for the drivers and the spectators of course. In terms of safety regulations, they tend to be pretty much similar whatever the series, but then I agree that the freedom enjoyed in drifting is what makes the sport in essence. I'm happy that it gets finally the "fame" it deserves, as it is one of the most exciting form of motorsport to watch. Great drivers, cools cars, amazing show, everything is here to make it a major success Please Mr Todt, don't ruin the sport we love so much !


Yes. Yes. Yes. It's about time.

Federico Barutto

I hope that rotary swaps will still be permitted, that's my biggest concern about that. I could even accept standardized chassis/monocoques, so no more standard cars will be converted to drift cars (ergo more used cars available)


The Rotary engine isn't banned by the FIA outright except for displacement requirements, that I'm aware of. If a rotary swap will be illegal, then most likely all swaps that don't match chassis make to engine make will be banned. I do suspect that might be a possibility, if anything.


There are a few racing series that don't have cookie-cutter cars. Hopefully drifting remains this way.


My biggest concern with this, as with my past grumblings about Formula Drift, is how the drivers will be treated and more importantly, paid. The payout for winning an FD event is laughable at best, and no where near covers the entry and operating costs for the teams.

Yet, without the drivers and the popularity they generate with their fan bases on social media, FD simply would not exist. I understand it is a for-profit business, but there seems to be little re-investment towards the key components that make it profitable.

Having spoken with some driver and team buddies, they once tried to form a union of sorts, but the newer drivers seemed reluctant to speak up and take a stand against what I would deem outright insulting compensation.

The few drivers that do get big corporate partners and sponsorships are lucky to break even at the end of year, and most will tell you that running a season of FD actually ends up costing them out of pocket.

So, the passion and commitment is clearly there, but the drivers are in a proverbial catch 22: the contracts with their partners are for eight FD appearances, so they cannot really boycott an event without biting the hand that feeds them.

Lest we forget about Pro 2, that is also beginning to be financially out-of-reach for many drivers. As that gap widens, how do you keep a steady flow of drivers progressing to fill the Top 32 grid at the pro level?

FD struggles as is to put even 30 drivers on the grid, and it is not uncommon for the top five qualifying drivers to all receive a bye into Top 16 competition. As a casual fan, that is lame, and I imagine the drivers do not care for it either.

So when FIA talks about 'grassroots', let us hope they remain true to their mission, and instead of pricing everyone out of participation, there is a sincere and concerted effort to develop the feeder series for the pro events.

Apologies for the rant, I will step down from my soap box now, but I am hopeful that FIA will take into consideration the shortcomings of the most well-known series to systemically improve the sport for everybody across the board.