Formula DRIFT Eliminates Solo Qualifying runs

“In the biggest competition change in Formula DRIFT history, the series has eliminated all single-run qualifying in PRO and PROSPEC competition,” announced Ryan Sage, President of Formula DRIFT. 

Entering its 21st season, FD has become a tandem-only competition from the first runs on Friday to the winner’s podium on Saturday. “Single-run qualifying is in the history books, and Formula DRIFT is now a tandem-only series,” Sage confirmed.

The change primarily aims to provide fans and drivers with an even more compelling and entertaining experience. Previously, some lower-ranked drivers might only complete two qualifying runs before elimination. Under the new rules, every driver will compete in at least one tandem competition run to secure their place in the Top 32 competition heats.

Transitioning to the new format required a great deal of discussion to ensure everybody benefitted. And with all drivers getting to compete plus more tandem runs for fans to enjoy, the target has been met.

One of the biggest factors in creating the new rules was to accommodate the large number of registered entrants. Since its founding 21 years ago, Formula DRIFT hasn’t limited the number of competitors registered for each season. This meant qualification became the means to not only determine starting position but also reduce the field to 32 drivers for the competition heats. And with the new format, the challenge was to ensure the on-track tandem action occupied approximately the same amount of time as the previous single-car qualifying sessions. As a result, there are three seeding formats depending on the number of registered drivers. These can accommodate 32 drivers or less, 33-40 drivers, or 41-48. And for the 2024 season, the Formula DRIFT PRO Championship will operate under the 33-40 format, while PROSPEC will accommodate 41-48 based on the number of registered drivers.

At the opening Round in Long Beach on April 12-13, the top 24 PRO drivers will be ranked according to their 2023 Championship standings. This will automatically lock the top 24 drivers into the Top 32 competition bracket for Saturday. The remaining drivers will populate a 16-driver “Seeding Bracket,” which will be sorted according to a random number between 2 and 7. The order was recently drawn by Formula DRIFT President Ryan Sage and podcaster Jacob Gettins on the recent FD Podcast, The Outerzone. These Round 1 Long Beach brackets are available below.

The “unseeded” drivers will compete on Friday in a Top 16 bracket, where the drivers finishing in the top 8 positions will advance to Saturday’s Top 32. The finishing position in the Seeding Bracket will determine the competition ranking of the successful drivers, occupying positions 25-32.

Moving to Round 2, driver finishing positions at Long Beach (rather than the 2023 season ranking) will determine the starting order and assigned positions of each driver. This will continue into subsequent rounds, where the finishing position will determine the starting position in the next round.

With a larger field of registered drivers, the PROSPEC Championship will operate a different Seeding Bracket for 41-48 drivers. In this scenario, only the top 16 drivers from 2023 will be automatically locked into the Top 32 competition bracket for the opening round at Road Atlanta on May 9-11. The remaining drivers will enter a sudden death Top 32 Seeding Bracket on Friday, with the loser of each tandem run eliminated. The 16 successful drivers will then advance to the Top 32 PROSPEC competition on Saturday, with their rank determined by the number generated from the random draw that populated the initial Seeding Bracket.

Other new rules for 2024 include removing team protests during the event and dramatically altering the standards for what defines an “incomplete run.”


For anybody wishing to see the new rules broken down, Ryan Sage has created a video that can be viewed here: 

It explains how the Seeding Brackets will work and explains how the 2024 Formula DRIFT events will operate. 

The bottom line for all Formula DRIFT fans is more on-track action from Friday through Saturday. More of the tandem runs you love, and more drama around who will reach the competition heats and who will ultimately become the 2024 Formula DRIFT PRO and PROSPEC Champions.


The 2024 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship kicks off on the Streets of Long Beach on April 12-13. The Opening Round of the PROSPEC Championships will join the PRO teams for Round 2 at Road Atlanta on May 9-11. Please visit for the competition schedule, tickets, livestream, Championship standings, driver bios and more.

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