Expanding on yesterday’s Promotion and Relegation preview for the Pro 2 class, today we take a look at Formula D’s top Pro class and who’s at risk of being dropped to the lower class for the 2016 season. We will get into the chase for the 2015 Formula Drift championship with our well-known “What it takes to win” series later this week.
As the top class in the Formula Drift series, there’s no opportunity for ‘promotion’ available. Instead, the top 32 drivers in the series will maintain their Pro class license, while drivers falling below 32nd in the final standings will be relegated to the Pro 2 class. Currently, drivers like Kristaps Bluss, Michael Essa, Jeff Jones, Kyle Mohan, and Nate Hamilton are sitting above the relegation point, while drivers like Marc Landreville, James Evans, Brandon Wicknick, and Mats Baribeau will face possible relegation. For Wicknick and Evans, they are sitting in position to be promoted via the Pro 2 class, so they would be permitted to stay in the Pro class due to the smart decision they made to drive in both series.
Most interestingly, Tanner Foust currently sits in 37th position in the standings due mostly to only participating on a limited schedule. Should Foust make it to the Final Four at Irwindale, he would earn no fewer than 66 points (64 points for tandem plus at least 2 points for qualifying), which would jump him up above the red line as it sits now. However, that still may not be enough as some of the drivers below the current red line may qualify and move up as well. In reality, anything less than a final round appearance for Foust (earning 80 points for second or 100 points for first, plus qualifying points) may put him in a position to be relegated to the Pro 2 class.
Of course, Formula Drift does have a petition process (which is how Foust was permitted to re-enter the series directly into the Pro class), but it is unclear at this time if he would be permitted to remain in the top Pro class given that he petitioned last season.
In 2014, two drivers who stayed above the relegation line chose not to compete in 2015 (Darren McNamara and Ryan Kado). Formula D did NOT permit the 33rd or 34th ranked drivers to move up in the standings and remain in the Pro Class, and were only permitted to compete in Pro 2. We expect this precedent to continue, as the bar has remained the same all season. If you want to stay in the top Pro class, you must finish the season in the top 32 final standings.
In case you want to tally points live at the event, here’s how the Formula Drift championship points are allocated: