JK Tyre, pioneers in promoting motorsport in India, is all set to rev up the pulse rates of Indian motorsport fans yet again with the launch of the country’s first-ever drifting competition. The JK Tyre Drift Challenge will take place at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) on October 16 and shake up the Indian motor-racing status quo, with the introduction of yet another emerging motorsport discipline which has gained global momentum.
Drifting is a motorsport discipline that rewards skill, precision and car control over outright speed. It involves drivers sliding their cars and using oversteer to go sideways through a corner. The sight of the cars, balancing on a knife-edge, sliding around a corner, wheels smoking, is a spectacle to behold which has made Drifting extremely popular with fans, especially the younger generation. It is also the fastest-growing sub-disciplines of motorsport across the world.
Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Head-Motorsport, JK Tyre, said, “The introduction of the JK Tyre Drift Challenge marks a significant moment in Indian motorsport history. Drifting has been happening in India in silos; however, with this competition with the help of FMSCI, we will formalize norms of drifting in India and try to match it on par with global standards soon. We have always been forerunners in the Indian motorsports arena, and with this competition, we continue to pursue our aim to develop the motorsport scene here with the introduction of diverse disciplines. This challenge will not only provide a platform for the country’s talented drivers to shine but also delight motorsport enthusiasts who are hungry for a new thrill."
The JK Tyre Drift Challenge will feature a grid of 25 powerful rear-wheel drive cars piloted by some of the country’s most skilled & talented drivers. It will unfold over a series of events on specially-designed track layouts that will test the limits of driver and machine. They will be judged by an international three-member panel of drifting experts comprising Alistair Woodham from India who was ex-member of Drift Commission of FIA, Cristiani Nanami Lazaro from Brazil and Tanakorn Lertyaovarit from Thailand.
The judging criteria will center on four main aspects: line, angle, style, and speed.
Judges normally brief the drivers about the ideal line through a corner and drivers that stick as precisely to it as possible are scored higher. Similarly, the angle at which a driver drifts the car also counts towards their score. A shallow angle earns a lower score. A more acute angle is scored higher considering it requires more skill as the driver has to carry more speed through the drift so as not to lose momentum.
As far as style is concerned, the more precise the drift the higher the score awarded. If a driver has to make too many corrections on the steering wheel as they’re going through the corner, they’ll pick up a lower score.
Which brings us to speed - the really skilled drivers are able to carry a lot of speed around the corners. The more speed they carry into the drift, the more difficult it is for them to be fluid, precise, hit the right angles and stick to the ideal line.
Thus, if a driver is able to tick all of the other scoring boxes, all while carrying a lot of speed through the corners, they get more points.
In addition to the Drift Challenge, the BIC will also host the JK Tyre Formula Imperial and Indian Karting Race. Organised by the Imperial Society of Innovation Engineers (ISIEINDIA) and supported by JK Tyre, the event is an Industry-Academia initiative that offers a platform to the engineering students of India to design and develop sustainable mobility solutions.
Over 2,000 students from across the country are expected to take part, demonstrating their innovation in the areas of vehicle aerodynamics, battery and powertrain design, brakes, and suspension technologies. They will be put to the test over various rounds between October 12 and 16, culminating in a 12-lap the endurance finale at the BIC which will decide the winners.