So the big news as the Formula DRIFT season closed a couple weeks ago - besides James Deane's ridiculous domination of 2017 - was the closing of Irwindale Speedway and FD's search to replace it on the calendar. People speculated and offered plenty of guesses (some plausible, others less so), but it looks now like Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be the championship's venue of choice to close out the year. Formula D will be there October 11 and 12, 2018, for Round 8 of 8, sharing the facility with Pro 2 as it concludes its championship.
Other changes include a possible Round 6 in St. Louis, Mo., to replace Montreal (no decision has been made on that yet), and Pro 2's 2018 looks markedly different from 2017, with the feeder series skipping Orlando but returning to Road Atlanta and Texas. Mind you, this info is provisional (as in, subject to change) but this is what the 2018 season is shaping up to be according to FD.
2018 Black Magic Formula DRIFT Championship presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras Provisional Schedule
Round 1: Streets of Long Beach
April 6 - 7 - Long Beach, CA
Invitational: Super Drift Challenge at the Grand Prix of Long Beach
April 13 - 14 - Long Beach, CA
Round 2: Invasion
April 27 - 28 - Orlando, FL
Round 3: Road to the Championship
May 11 - 12 - Atlanta, GA with PRO 2
Round 4: The Gauntlet
June - Wall, NJ
Round 5: Throwdown
July - Monroe, WA
Round 6: TBD
August - St. Louis, MO with PRO 2 or Montreal, CANADA
Round 7: Showdown
September 14 - 15 - Dallas, TX with PRO 2
Round 8: Title Fight
October 12 - 13 - Las Vegas, NV with PRO 2
Speaking of Pro 2, FD also announced at the 2017 SEMA Show it has entered into an exclusive relationship with two tire manufacturers, Achilles Radial and Nexen Tire, who will serve as the Official Tire Suppliers of the Formula DRIFT PRO 2 Championship. The spec tire deal should "help with team cost containment, company inventory management, and competition parity." Lastly, FD let everyone know ITW Global Brands will be back for 2018 and 2019; that means we'll be seeing branding from the likes Black Magic, Gumout, Permatex, and Fast Orange all over FD events.
As for the drift cars that made it out to Sin City for the annual tradeshow, we don't think for a second we got them all, but we're pretty sure we got photos of the ones creating the most buzz. That includes Kristaps Bluss' carbon-Kevlar bodied HGK Motorsport E92 Eurofighter in the Motul booth and our boy RAD Dan Burkett's Supra in the Torco booth (at its first SEMA!), both patched up from battle just a few weeks earlier. It might be easy to say this year's SEMA belonged to the RX-7, thanks to hot builds from Kyle Mohan in the Exedy booth and Hert Eugene, Jr., in the Eneos booth, but really nothing could top the Baller Hauler out in front of the convention center - that is, Miles Shinneman's 1993 Isuzu NPR transporter with AE86 on the flatbed. Now that is every track-day geek's way to roll in style.