At the close of 2012 it was decided that the ARDC would trial several forms of drifting at Sydney Motorsport Park in 2013. It was communicated clearly to the drift clubs hiring SMSP facilities and to the drifting community, that 2013 would be a year of trials to see what would be viable – both for SMSP, and for the progress the sport of Drifting in NSW. During the year drifting has occurred on the Wet Skidpan, the Figure 8 (Skid Circuit), and the South Circuit.
The South Circuit
The process to licence drift on the South Circuit was formed to encourage people learning to drift to start with the with Wet Skidpan and Figure 8 drift days and nights (run by both the ARDC and customer drift clubs), and progress to the South Circuit for private practice and future competition. Three of Sydney‘s largest drift clubs were invited to develop both private practice and a three-strong drift series on the South Circuit. However the need for more time and organisation for this event saw the latter postponed. Only one club signed up and came on board with the ARDC, and Driftmob have proved to be a fantastic organisation, working tirelessly to provide support and help run the South Circuit Private Practice. Every attempt was made to make South Circuit Private Practice drifting affordable and accessible, from $60 introductory evening sessions, to extended drift evenings under lights and full Saturday drift days. Unfortunately, every single event was undersubscribed, and as the year progressed, the numbers did not increase – instead, they dwindled. Only two of the drift Private Practice events had sufficient numbers, with every other event incurring a loss and, more importantly, not enough support (attendance) from drivers. The trials on the South Circuit also uncovered problems for other users of the track. The amount of rubber put down made the track unsafe the following day, for motorcycles in particular, but also for cars, particularly in the wet. The time required to clean the track for the next day’s use meant many maintenance hours overnight, which also proved to be financially unsustainable.
Figure 8 Competitions
In contrast, the Wet Skidpan and Figure 8, along with a new Hi-Tec Oils Figure 8 Drift Series by Motive DVD and ARDC, proved to be an overwhelming success. The Skidpan and Figure 8 are always well subscribed events, and the new series showed the Figure 8 circuit’s amphitheatre setup was perfect for spectators, not as expensive to light and maintain, and drift battles could loop and continue around its configuration easily. Crowd numbers were strong and continued to grow. The other advantage the Figure 8 has is that drifting on it doesn’t impede any other users, and the circuit itself doesn’t suffer any damage or need extensive maintenance following drift sessions.
2014 – The future
The 2013 trial has without a doubt proved that Drifting is alive and well in NSW and is a sport that is well subscribed and has a great fan base. However, its success at SMSP has been on the Figure 8, not on the South Circuit. The Skidpan and Figure Eight will be the dedicated facilities for drifting in 2014 at SMSP. The South Circuit will only be used for drifting for large scale events such as Top Gear Festival Sydney and the ADGP. A new major sponsor, Hi-Tec Oils, has also come on board for 2014, leading a three-strong Drift Experience at SMSP in 2014 encompassing Drift tuition, hot laps and an eight-round expansion of the popular Friday night Figure 8 Drift Series (up from three rounds in 2013). The ARDC is very excited about this venture, and what it will do for the sport.