First, I would like to apologize to everyone for taking so long to get this written up and then thank everyone who voted. After the first day of voting, it looked like the Joon Maeng v. Tony Angelo tandem match would be the most voted on, but then there was another match that was rivaling it for a brief period, so we just wanted to make sure until the poll ended before we wrote up our breakdown. I believe the voting finally ended on Friday and between preparing for our event this weekend and my regular day job, I didn’t get a chance to combine everyone’s notes until after work on Wednesday.
In order to help explain this, I think we need to discuss in detail what it is that we look for in tandem. I know we touched on some key points after RD2 at Road Atlanta, but after RD3 it is apparent that there is still some information lost between us, the fans, and maybe even some teams. We are continually working to make this better, and we hope that when things aren’t as clearly defined or explained, people will constructively let us know so that we may continue to make adjustments and improvements.
We judge both Driver A and Driver B’s lead and chase runs as well as compare Driver A and Driver B’s lead and chase runs. The goal of Driver A and Driver B is to have a strong lead and chase run to advance. An ideal tandem matchup is when the lead driver adheres to the judges’ criteria as a lead driver which allows (and makes it possible) for the chase driver to anticipate the lead driver’s run for a fair battle.
The lead driver’s goal is to drift throughout the entire course outlined by the judges based on the judges’ criteria explained in the drivers’ meetings. This means to be on point at all of the clipping points, outer zones, and touch & go areas (if specified) with maximum angle and speed. The lead driver is not to deviate from the judges’ criteria in the lead driver position. If the lead driver does deviate from the judges’ criteria, such as running a low line and/or shallow angle, they will not gain or have any advantage from doing so.
The chase driver’s goal is to follow as close as possible to the lead driver throughout the entire course outlined by the judges. Essentially the lead driver is considered a moving clipping point, however, the chase driver is not allowed to run a shallow line and/or less angle than the lead driver. If the chase driver does deviate from this, the chase driver will not gain or have any advantage from doing so.
This venue is unique in that it is a racetrack, but the portion we use is essentially half racetrack and half parking lot. With that said, we tried to make the course more defined and visually appealing by painting yellow lines throughout the course, as well as using less cones (only 12) and no big orange barrels this year.
The course was defined in the drivers’ meeting as being inside the yellow lines. The yellow lines served as a buffer for drivers in case some vehicles’ bumpers extended out more than another vehicle. As a result, all clipping points were positioned on the opposite side of the yellow line, thus allowing the drivers to get their tires as close to the yellow line and not worry that their bumper was going to hit or knock over a clipping point. We did the same in Atlanta, only there wasn’t a yellow line painted, we just had the clipping points positioned approximately 16-18″ from the edge of the rumblestrips or the track.
The yellow lines were painted 16″ wide starting between initiation point and the touch & go section and extending throughout the course on both sides of the track past the finish line. The yellow lines also remained the same distance apart from each other throughout the course to help drivers know how much room they had on course (with the exception of the finish line due to space constraints).
The rumble strips at the race track are 32″ wide and found at the beginning and end of the outer zones. Since we allow drivers to use the rumblestrips at any venue as part of the track and we do not award deductions for a tire touching them, we doubled the width of the yellow line in the outer zones to 32″ in order to allow the rumblestrips to remain evenly through the outerzones and not disrupt the flow of a driver’s line should they enter the outerzone with a tire on the rumblestrip.
Those 12 Orange Cones (off course markers):
First, we don’t like the cones, they take away from the appeal of the track, they make it look less professional, take time to replace when hit, and after this event cause controversy. We prefer a track with defined edges, but certain venues require the need for cones, and this happened to be such a venue. The orange cones were placed in groups of 3 spaced 45′ apart to help aid us in determining if a driver was in excess of one tire way off course. They were positioned 18″ past the yellow lines.
In the outer zones, an orange cone would be located 50″ past the edge of the course (32″ yellow line + 18″ space between yellow line and cone). That’s just over 4′ of room to allow before coming in contact with a cone, and even then there were only 6 cones in the outer zones. Now depending on the vehicle, some may be two wheels off at this point and others may only be one, that is why we had the cones positioned in key areas where this may happen to help alleviate any problem areas.
The tough & go section and the left side between the inner clip 1 and inner clip 2 each had one section of cones. These cones were 34″ past the edge of the course (16″ yellow line + 18″ space between yellow line and cone). The touch & go area was the first real edge of the track the drivers encounter after initiation, so it was highly probably that this area would also see lots of tires cross over the yellow line. At almost 3′, this was still a decent amount of room to allow before coming in contact with a cone. I don’t recall the area between the inner clips being much of an issue (if any), but the track does dip down in this area towards a storm drain, so again this was an area where a visual aid may have come in handy.
The Lighted Markers:
The lighted markers aren’t judged, they are there merely to help the drivers visualize the course at night and hopefully help the fans watching as well. They are generally positioned near clipping points and other areas of the track that may be difficult to see the course line clearly.
(Skip to 16:00 minutes to watch Joon Maeng vs. Tony Angelo – Sorry, Formula Drift won’t make it convenient to display individual runs anymore for some reason).
Joon Maeng v. Tony Angelo:
My overall impression went back to the first run where Tony’s lead run out performed Joon’s lead run. Joon’s lead run was hard to anticipate what his next move was because he was not on the line the judges specified. Joon also had more than a few stalls throughout the course. Simply looking at the touch & go area, Tony had a better approach in the chase position. In the drivers’ meeting, we asked them to use the whole course here whereas Joon in the chase position cut it short on the touch & go area. Tony was actually in a better chase position setting up for Joon to be on the touch & go area in order to keep proximity.
I could not give Joon the win because Tony had a great lead run where Joon was given plenty of opportunity in the chase position to run a low line with low angle, as Joon clearly did.
While leading, Tony was off of the Touch & Go and wide at Inner Clip 2, but overall had a decent lead run with minimal corrections. Joon does an okay job following, but has a correction and less angle through the Touch & Go.
Tonys chase run wasn’t pretty, but I deemed Joon responsible for that due to his poor lead run. Immediately after Joon’s initiation, he ended up on a shallow line, far from the Touch & Go and then slowed down significantly, transitioning early and throttling through to the outside clipping point. In the driver’s meeting we were very specific about what we wanted to see in this area: full throttle through the Touch & Go until the transition was complete, then lifting off throttle if needed to slow the car, using the vehicle’s momentum to carry the car wide through the outside zone. Joon clearly made a mistake, lifted, managed to hold onto the drift, but had to transition early and then go hard on the throttle though much of the outside zone, taking away any chance Tony had of chasing him adequately throughout the rest of the course.
I felt that all of Tony’s mistakes were almost forgiven after that point as his momentum was completely interrupted and he had to regain his speed and proximity after getting on the brakes hard to avoid contact. After that point Tony was playing catch up. Joon also made several mistakes at inner clip 1 and 2 that tripped up Tony, who was still trying to regain proximity. As for the contact, we saw Joon’s car aggressively slow down in an area that didn’t call for it.
I would like to point out that at no point were Joon’s actions deemed malicious. They were simply mistakes made by the lead driver that caused the chase driver to make errors and were severe enough to give Tony the win despite what his chase run looked like.
On Tony’s lead run he is slightly off at the touch & go and enters outer zone 1 fairly well. Tony then shallows up his line and exits outer zone 2 early. Tony then makes inner clip 1 and then goes wide at inner clip 2. Joon chasing has slightly less angle at initiation and past the touch & go making a correction. Joon does pretty good throughout the outer zones and then follows the desired line past inner clip 2 rather than follow Tony.
On Joon’s lead run he initiates early and is never really able to get his car out near the touch & go area. Joon actually begins his transition towards the outer zone just before the first cone in the touch & go area and this is where he disrupts Tony’s chase run. Joon enters outer zone 1 well, but as he is in the middle of the outer zones, he makes two corrections and then exits outer zone 2 early (like Tony’s lead run). Joon goes past inner clip 1 and then as he sets up for inner clip 2 stalls. Tony chasing initiates and makes a correction at the touch & go to avoid contact. As a result, Tony straightens up and shallows up his line in order to regain proximity and resume drift in the outer zones. He then makes another correction at inner clip 1. Tony regains drift after inner clip 1 only to make contact with Joon prior to inner clip 2.
Overall Tony’s lead run was not the best lead run in regards to line, but he was still able to make it fluid. Joon’s lead run had several mistakes and as a result didn’t give Tony the same opportunity to have a fair chase run, especially with the initiation and again by stalling.