Professional racing is in dire straits in the United States these days. Attendance at Indy Car events was sparse this season, a mere fraction of what it was prior to the Champ Car / IRL split. Even NASCAR, the motorsport marketing juggernaut, has fallen on hard times and has had difficulty filling the stands at most events.
Formula Drift, the upstart motorsport series with roots in Japan, doesn’t have that problem. No, the series doesn’t attract the same crowds as the Indy 500 or NASCAR’s Daytona 500, but it’s shown consistent growth over the past decade. This season’s closing event at California’s Irwindale Speedway even set a series record for ticket sales.
Ford has noticed this, too. At a time when most manufacturers are questioning the return on their motorsport marketing dollars, Ford has announced it will return as a Formula Drift partner for 2013
. Hyundai, on the other hand, has pulled its sponsorship
of long-time series regular Rhys Millen, as it reevaluates its marketing investment.
To commemorate a decade of smoking tires and sideways race cars, Formula Drift has announced a special 10th anniversary logo, a video history of the series and a commemorative book covering the highlights of the sport’s first 10 years here.
reports, Formula Drift will kick off a manufacturers’ championship in 2013, along with a tire manufacturers’ championship, too. To contest for the manufacturers’ title, both the engine and body must come from a production car, though tuning for additional horsepower is allowed.
Changing the driveline configuration is allowed, too, though we really don’t expect to see many rear-drive Honda Civics
or Hyundai Veloster Turbos
vying for Formula Drift supremacy.
If you’ve never seen a Formula Drift event live, you’ll have another seven chances to do so in 2013. If you’re a long-time Formula Drift fan, though, don’t be surprised if the stands are just a bit more crowded than in previous seasons.