Drifting has always been somewhat of a niche form of motorsport especially when compared to Formula 1, NASCAR or even the World Endurance Championship (WEC) series. However, back in 2017, the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) officially recognized it as a legitimate motorsport. In fact, they have taken it upon themselves to host the Intercontinental Drifting Cup.
Unlike other motorsport events, it is quite challenging to implement a standard set of rules and regulations for competitors worldwide. Simply put, almost anything and everything can be a drift car as long as regulations for the event were met. The problem is each event and series worldwide also has its own set of rules and regulations on what is and isn’t legal – from Formula Drift to Drift Masters European Championship and D1 Grand Prix. As a result, there isn’t really a “standard” set of rules.
To address the issue of standardizing regulations for drifting, the FIA has now released the first-ever regulations for drift cars dubbed as DC1. According to the FIA Drifting Commission, “these new standards will allow teams to build to a common set of regulations which can be adopted worldwide, thus making it much easier for competitors to use the same car across multiple events, enabling the sport to grow further”.
Before you get your pitchforks up in protest, the FIA isn’t requiring drift cars to have an F1-style HALO device or be a hybrid. In fact, going over the document, only internal-combustion engines are permitted. Electrics and hybrid powertrains must first be approved by the FIA before being eligible.
Other important things to note include weight limits, safety systems and modifications to the chassis of the vehicle. Each vehicle must also have an FIA Technical Passport for Drifting which must be presented at scrutineering or at the request of an FIA official. Furthermore, to be eligible, vehicles must be considered as a “production car”.
As a result, the new FIA regulations don’t allow professional drift competitors to go wild with their cars. This then keeps competition on a more level playing field for teams that do and don’t have big budgets.
For now, the DC1 regulations are aimed towards the professional class of the sport. The Drifting Commission and FIA Technical Department will continue to work on similar regulations for Semi-Professional and Amateur Classes as well.
If you plan on competing in the sport, you should probably give the DC1 regulation a read.