With the return of Top Drift limited for 2016, drivers are anxiously awaiting to get some seat time after a long and tedious off season. As with most limited events this year the track of choice is Willow Spring’s Balcony, a small but technical patch of asphalt nestled up in the hillside of the Willow Springs facility. The course is laid out mostly by sweeping cone sections with a narrow entry into the last portion of the course lined with bumper annihilating K-rails, letting drivers hang it all out and get as close as possible. With a lot of new faces in the Top Drift limited roster this year, it’s gearing up to be a solid round, hopefully most drivers will stay for all 3 Limited events this season!
In order to pass tech for Top Drift Limited vehicles need to compete with an OEM production engine that was made for that chassis, so no LS swaps or 2JZ’s in this event, making the field a little more diverse and letting drivers like Jon Shaffer’s amazing 110hp Miata rip it up and have a chance of getting to the top, showcasing the immense driving skill these drivers bring to the table.
During the morning drivers meeting, the judges laid out the rules and what they are looking for in each drivers run, and how to keep the deductions to a minimum. So no bouncing off the rev limiter, excessive E-brake, and keeping a solid line without straightening out is where the big deductions would come from. Now it was time for the drivers to get settled in and warm up.
A pretty unique group of vehicles are in attendance for this round of Top Drift Limited with only a small number of S-chassis’s, a rare sight these days! Vehicles like a MX83 Cressida, SN95 mustang, convertible Camaro, along with a couple Miata’s both NA and Turbo, and of course a splattering of IS300’s, built from the ground up to get sideways . While most drivers took the winter months to rebuild or upgrade their vehicle, some kept the same setup and are making a strong focus on improving their driving style. Just another reason to love Top Drift, it’s down to earth grass route styling lets you see drivers go from beginner to advanced. Progressing the sport more and more, gotta love that.
As the drivers were out having a blast and putting on a show, the media guys were busy shooting away trying their best to make the drivers look like superstars
Qualifying for Top 16 was now set and ready to go! The big difference from qualifying and the Top 16 is that you are now running and being judged on a your tandem abilities and focusing on both your lead and follow runs. For some drivers this was their first ever tandem session making them focus and drive harder than ever before.
The reaming Top 8 quickly dwindled down to crown the winners and see who would take home 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and of course the much needed champagne shower!