With the expansion of Formula Drift into two classes starting in 2014, movement between the classes now must be monitored just as equally as the actual championship standings. As we approach the final event of the 2015 season, Pro 2 drivers will be looking to either earn a promotion to the Pro class or, at the very least, maintain their Pro 2 license.
On the promotion side of things, the top 8 drivers will earn their way into the more prestigious Pro class. Due to the gap in points, the current top four drivers (Alex Heilbrunn, James Evans, Andy Gray, and Faruk Kugay) are virtually guaranteed to earn their way into the higher class for 2016. Currently, Brody Goble, Brandon Wicknick, Taylor Hull, and Dave Briggs are in the position to be promoted, although Jeff Jones is just one point behind Brigss (Jones is above the relegation line in the Pro class, so he will likely remain in the Pro class). With a top 16 appearance earning no fewer than 35 points (32 in tandem points and no fewer than 3 qualifying points), the first step in earning the promotion will be to make the top 16 cut via Thursday qualifying. A final four appearance earns no fewer than 67 points (64 for tandem, no less than 3 for qualifying), so there’s a chance for some substantial swings on this list.
On the relegation side of the house, the rules state that drivers who earn 64 points will remain in the Pro 2 class, which means drivers above the pink line are currently safe to stay in Pro 2 for the 2016 season. Any driver below the line who fails to make the top 16 cut will not be permitted to drive in Pro 2 for 2016, and will be relegated to their local ProAm series. In essence, the 64-point bar is equivalent to two top 16 appearances, which makes sense. Although this season’s Pro 2 class was much more competitive than last season, if you’re unable to make the Top 16 at least twice in the season, it’s probably not logical for a driver to continue to compete in the class.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the higher Pro class, and see who’s in position to stay above the relegation line.