Formula DRIFT is Having a Fiery 2024

In the adrenaline-fueled world of Formula DRIFT, every season has its share of highs and lows, but 2024 has seen an alarming trend: car fires. With flames erupting in competition at all three rounds so far, fans and drivers alike are left wondering, what’s causing these fiery incidents? So far, each round has featured a fiery episode of some kind.

Round 1: Long Beach – The Shocking Start
The season kicked off in Long Beach with the usual high-octane energy, but it wasn’t long before the drama unfolded. Midway through the a media day ridealong session, James Deane's RTR Mustang went up in flames while PASMAG Drift Editor Kevin Darwish was riding passenger. You might recognize this incident from one of our most viewed videos of the year, shot from Darwish's POV in the passenger seat.


The blaze forced an immediate halt to the action, sending shockwaves through the onlooking crowd. Thankfully, both Deane and Darwish escaped relatively unharmed, but the incident set the tone for what’s becoming an unsettling pattern.

Round 2: Atlanta – Deja Vu
As the series moved to Atlanta, hopes were high for a smooth round. However, during the Great 8 battle between Odi Bakchis and Rome Charpentier, Bakchis' S15 Silvia erupted in flames at the end of the run. Spectators watched in anticipation as the fire engulfed the car, with safety crews rushing to extinguish the blaze. Once again, the driver was unharmed, but the sight of another fiery exit was hard to ignore.


Round 3: Orlando – A Triple Threat
Orlando continued the trend with a third car fire, this time during a high-speed slide. During a battle against Branden Sorensen, Ryan Litteral's back left tire of his S15 Silvia caught fire. The crowd’s gasps were audible as flames erupted, forcing Litteral to bail out quickly. With three fires in three rounds, it was starting to feel like more than just bad luck.


So what could be causing the fires?
The repeated incidents have sparked intense discussions in the paddock and among fans. Here are a few potential causes being explored:

Mechanical Failures: High-performance drift cars push components to their limits. Failures in the fuel system, oil lines, turbochargers, and more can lead to catastrophic fires.

Electrical Issues: Faulty wiring or shorts in the electrical system can ignite fires, especially given the high-vibration environment of a drift car.

Heat Management: Drifting generates immense heat. If cooling systems aren’t up to par or are compromised, the risk of fire increases significantly. When it comes to tires themselves igniting, there is only so much you can do.

Fuel Choices: The choice of fuel and its handling in the high-stress environment of competitive drifting might be a contributing factor. Some fuels are more volatile.

Safety Measures and Future Precautions
The safety of drivers is paramount, and Formula DRIFT is taking these incidents seriously. Enhanced fire suppression systems, technical inspections, and improved driver safety gear are all being prioritized. Additionally, teams are re-evaluating their car setups to ensure that potential fire hazards are minimized. As always, drivers are wearing state-of-the-art safety equipment.

Looking Forward
As we gear up for Round 4, the focus remains on maintaining the thrill of drifting while ensuring the safety of all participants. The fiery start to the 2024 season is a stark reminder of the risks involved in motorsport, but it also showcases the resilience and quick thinking of drivers and safety teams alike.

Stay tuned as Formula DRIFT continues to deliver heart-pounding action, with hopefully fewer flames and more smoke – the tire kind, that is. Keep drifting fun and, above all, safe!

Related Articles

"It's God's Engine". The 2JZ. Eryk Szekalski's 1995 Toyota Supra
Eryk Szekalski claims that the 2JZ-GTE is God's engine. The 60,000-mile motor in his 1995 Toyota Supra has not been abused, but he has plans for a...
Caleb Warren's 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V is ProCharger Supercharged Caleb Warren's 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V is ProCharger Supercharged
With a C1A ProCharger supercharger, intercooled and running a 2.55" pulley (~10PSI), the linear boost with the big 2.5L inline 4 in Caleb Warren's...
Best New Vehicles for Aftermarket Announced Best New Vehicles for Aftermarket Announced
DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2022) – As experts and innovators in the automotive specialty equipment industry, SEMA Show exhibitors have voted on the...
A Mixed Bag: Aneudys Mejia's 2005 Honda S2000 A Mixed Bag: Aneudys Mejia's 2005 Honda S2000
Aneudys Mejia of Intrepid Stance is from the Dominican Republic and currently resides in the Bronx, New York. His 2005 Honda S2000 was previously...
Event Calendar: October 7-16, 2022 Event Calendar: October 7-16, 2022
If you have a free weekend, here are some upcoming events you may want to add to your schedule. Oct 8 IMPORTEXPO - Toronto Closer @ Better Living...
SEMA Show’s Pennzoil “Dare to Perform” Experience Combines Fun Entertainment with Valuable Education SEMA Show’s Pennzoil “Dare to Perform” Experience Combines Fun Entertainment with Valuable Education
Pennzoil’s “Dare to Perform” Experience at the 2022 SEMA Show will feature dozens of industry influencers, celebrities, and industry education that...