Behind the hype train of hate, confusion, and misinformation I am delaying the 10 Things post until tomorrow to whip up a full and in-depth review of the Forrest Wang vs. Chris Forsberg Top 16 battle. The fans and viewers keep screaming for consistency and rules to apply so Formula Drift can be more clear cut. Well, let’s dig deep into this one.
This map was displayed clearly and discussed during the mandatory drivers meeting. This is referred to as an acceleration/deceleration map. The denotations of green should be a section of the course where you are on throttle and the red sections are acceptable braking/slowing down areas. This is a pretty clear understanding of the course. To promote very close proximity and tandem battles you have these maps so drifters can run close tandem and understand/expect where drivers will scrub speed/slow down.
In fact, Mad Mike Whiddett addressed this very topic in the drivers meeting after going over the accel/deaccel map. Mad Mike went on to ask about having big angle off the bank and slowing up/scrubbing speed. The judges replied to him no, they want to see a nice balance of angle and speed, while being on throttle, to set up a re-initiation for outer zone two (seen above).
Top 32 versus Tyler McQuarrie
In the Top 32 battle it is pretty easy to see why Forrest Wang was the victor. In no way do I see the judges rewarding Forrest Wang for his violation of the rules above. In fact, I imagine he was probably docked points for these actions. However, Tyler McQuarrie drove worse than a first time Pro Am drifter against him. That means, in a mistake versus mistake analysis Wang clearly was the winner with far less mistakes and cleaner runs.
The judges call OMT here when I actually think Wang earned the win. The only real error I see Wang making was on his chase run he left the track on the inner bank which probably even outed the run in the judges mind, who were all three consistent on the call. The OMT battle had Andy Yen favoring Forrest Wang and the other two judges going OMT again. Tyler did a little bit better overall on this battle and I think it should be noted Forrest Wang was much faster across that section in the OMT battle visually. He is on throttle, less smoke, more angle.
Thanks Shoot First Media for this side by side screen shot here that will lead us into the Top 16 battle because I don’t want to analyze this Top 32 battle to death. I think if McQuarrie was simply cleaner/smoother around the course and better in the follow position he gets a win here. Note above, in this side-by-side video the amount of smoke Forrest is making from Top 32 to Top 16.
If you still have serious dispute over the contact in question, this angle clearly shows zero smoke coming from Wang’s tires in slow motion. It does cut away at times to the front of the car for some reason but he is clearly not accelerating in an acceleration zone (See graph above).
I spent hour of my day overlooking content, video, clips, and speaking to other drivers/teams in the paddock about this battle. The conclusion I came to is the judges were 100% consistent with the guidelines they set out for the race. Everyone talks about a lack of consistency, but I just don’t see it. I cannot find any evidence of Forrest Wang even being on throttle (visual sounds from fan videos) and these images from David at AMDrift clearly just show no new smoke being produced by the car. NOW, do I agree with those guidelines they put forward is a whole other can of worms I am not going to explore. Everyone is crying for the judges to be clear and consistent and I just don’t see where the lack of this is. If this is truly a Forrest Wang retirement from Formula Drift I think the timing is poor for him and I will leave my thoughts on that announcement at just that. I do really hope he returns to Formula Drift at some point to compete as the most stylish drifter in America.
UPDATED 6/21/2016 at 9:00AM PST: Here are three notes I wanted to add to this story on our end.
1. Here is Chris Forsberg following Forrest in Tandem:
2. Had several people tell us that Forsberg’s brake lights were not working and he didn’t use them. David Karey at AmDrift was kind enough to provide/post this:
3. Forrest Wang’s car does look broken by all accounts coming off the bank. I won’t speculator further and it is just my opinion :
Thanks for doing detective work AmDrift!