2018 has been another phenomenal year for HEL Performance Driftcup, 81 drivers have taken part across the five round season and we have seen so many advance into the British Drift Championship.
The season began way back in March at Rockingham Motor Speedway alongside Spring Matsuri. The outer paddock hosted the competition for Round 1. A track layout that started off with wide open corners before becoming tighter and more technical towards the end.
The drivers stepped up this year, the qualifying results for Round 1 were higher than any previous year so everyone needed to bring their ‘A’ game to every round if they wanted to get into the battles.
Frazer Jamieson topped the qualifying session at this round with a score of 90.7, unfortunately for Frazer the level of competition was so high that he wouldn’t make it past his Top 32 battle against Stu Jones.
After a close set of battles it came down to the final between Martyn Cowley and Dan Tyler, Martyn pulled a small gap on his lead run but it was enough to give him the advantage over Dan. He would celebrate on the top step of the podium with Dan Tyler in second and Danny Whyman in third place.
Andy Frost earned the Driven Oils Hard Charger award for his impressive driving throughout the event and he would become a driver to watch as the season progressed.
Dan Tyler, Jake Rolls and Martin Cowley moved up to the British Drift Championship after this round making way for another few new drivers in time for Round 2 at Three Sisters Race Circuit in April.
It was great to be able to return to this tight technical track in near Wigan after missing it in 2017. The layout of the track was the same as we had previously seen but the judges had decided to challenge the drivers with the clipping points being placed away from the racing line at the first two corners, forcing the drivers to run an outside line.
This saw a lot of dirt drops as the drivers tried to dial in the right line but by the time qualifying came around the majority were hitting the correct line.
Josh King qualified in first position with a score of 76, narrowly ahead of Jamie Stevens with 74.7 points and Stu Jones with 73.7 points.
In the battles Paul Cunnington was on form beating Danny Whyman in the Top 16 on his way to the final.
Jolene ‘JoJo’ Mcdonald also battled her way into the final in a borrow car from BDC competitor Julie Robinson.
The final battle between Paul Cunnington and Jolene ‘JoJo’ Mcdonald was close with both drivers having great lead and chase runs. Paul emerged the victor,taking his first win and the top step of the podium. JoJo would take second place with Dave Bastin in third.
The Driven Oils Hard Charger award went to Jamie Stevens at this round.
We saw a few more drivers move up into the British Drift Championship after this round including Jolene ‘Jo Jo’ McDonald, Paul Cunnington, Stu Jones, Josh King and Lee Lawrence.
Round 3 saw us return to Rockingham Motor Speedway with another different layout on the outer paddock, this time the first corner would setup the whole track with it being a 360 degree right hander that opened out allowing the drivers to build speed and dial in their line throughout the corner.
If the drivers got the first corner wrong they would stand to lose a lot of points in qualifying as it had clip one on the initiation and a further four clipping points on the outside line.
After clip five the track had two hairpins, the second tighter than the first with the final clipping points on the walls in front of the crowd.
By this point in the season the drivers were expected to be pushing more and improving with every round so the judges would be rewarding drivers that could get to angle quickly and maintain their line without hesitating at each of the clipping points.
Chris Arnott became the third different driver to top the qualifying sessions this year with a score of 86 points.
As the battles began it really proved for everyone in attendance that the HEL Performance Driftcup is the place to see the rising talent in UK drifting, Danny Whyman and Steve McConnell fought like it was the final and yet it was the first battle of the Top 32!
Dave Bastin was really showing the speed that he could maintain throughout the track in his AE86, pulling a gap over the chase drivers while leading and keeping right on the lead drivers doors while chasing. It would see him through all of his battles on his way to the final.
Aidan Clarence lined up against Dave Bastin, Dave again managed to pull a big gap back to Aidan on his lead run which would leave Aidan with a big challenge ahead of him as they swapped over.
Aidan had a great lead run but Dave kept with him earning his place at the top of the podium, Aidan would settle for second place with Danny Mcguire in third place.
Steve McConnell was presented the Driven Oils Hard Charger award for his fourth place finish on his Driftcup debut.
Steve McConnell, Danny Mcguire, James Ireland and Frazer Jamieson took their chance to move up to the British Drift Championship after the Rockingham round.
Round 4 of the 2018 HEL Performance Driftcup returned to Teesside Autodrome, the birth place of the British Drift Championship.
The layout for this round is the same that the British Drift Championship recently used, giving the drivers a direct comparison between their runs and seeing if they are up to the challenge.
In the qualifying session Danny Whyman became our fourth different driver to take the top spot with a score of 77 points.
Andy Frost was close behind with 76 points, equaled by Owen Atkinson in third place.
The battles at this round were some of the most exciting battles in Driftcup so far, Dave Bastin and Danny Whyman is a memorable battle for anyone that was in attendance to see it for themselves. The teammates battled door to door multiple times before the judges could pick a winner, Dave Bastin would go through to the final for the second time in two rounds.
Andy Frost would join him in the final, both drivers had performed well all day but it would be Andy taking the win after Dave Bastin misjudged his speed whilst chasing hitting Andy’s BMW E36 as they came into the hairpin.
Andy celebrated on the top step of the podium with Dave Bastin in second and Danny Whyman in third place.
Paddy Byrne was the Driven Oils Hard Charger at this round after he qualified in 8th place in his Toyota Soarer,complete with an automatic gearbox and hand controls.
The 2018 HEL Performance Driftcup champion would be decided at Driftland,Scotland. Our one round of the year where we head north of the border and bring a new challenge to the drivers at the only purpose build drift track in the UK.
Dave Bastin came into the round with a 9 point lead over rival, Andy Frost, although Danny Whyman and Chris Wright both had a chance to win the championship if their rivals were knocked out early in the battles.
The track layout had previous been used by Driftcup back in 2016, it was tight and technical with a wall run at the last clipping point.
The morning had started out with a damp track but it quickly dried out giving the drivers plenty of track time to dial in their cars and try to improve their final ranking in the championship.
Lisa Branch made it five different drivers to top qualifying from five rounds of the championship with a score of 82.3 on her second run.
Andy Frost was the highest qualifier of the four championship rivals, he had qualified in fourth place with a score of 79.3.
The championship battle came to a deciding battle in the Top16, Dave Bastin and Andy Frost lined up against each other with a lot of pressure on each of them. Dave Bastin would win the championship if he won the battle although Andy Frost could win it if he won the battle and made it through a few more battles.
The judges couldn’t decide on a winner after their first runs so it went for a one more time, it was a close battle again but Andy Frost took the win, now he had to focus on getting through the battles and score enough points to win the championship.
Danny Whyman was still in the running for the championship as he defeated Chris Parnham to advance in to the Top 8. His championship hopes would come to an end against Lisa Branch in the next battle. Lisa would continue all the way through to the final.
Andy Frost knocked out Matt Fountain in the Top 8 and Kev Bennett in the Final 4, he would now have enough points to be crowned the 2018 HEL Performance Driftcup champion but could he finish the season with a win as he took on Lisa Branch in the final?
Lisa Branch led on the first run, as they came through the middle of the track the cars were so close with Andy timing the transitions perfectly. They swapped over and Andy Frost had another great lead run, this time a small gap separated the cars. Andy Frost took the win and ended his season in style!
Andy Frost took the top step of the podium for the second round in a row with Lisa Branch in second and Jake Lynch in third place.
It’s been a very competitive 2018 HEL Performance Driftcup season with so many different drivers able to achieve podiums at any of the rounds. The championship really has shown that the talent within the drivers is capable of competing at the higher levels of drifting in the UK. The drivers that have been able to advance to the British Drift Championship after their performance in Driftcup this season are:
The following drivers have been given the option of moving up into the British Drift Championship or remaining in Driftcup after their results at the end of the season –
Our season ended with an awards night at Rockingham Motor Speedway back in November, we celebrated the drivers and several people that have given their time over the last few years to support drifting in the UK.
We also had a preview of the season highlights video before the party kicked off and continued through into the early hours of the next morning.
It was a fantastic way to end a season and to end our events at Rockingham Motor Speedway after several amazing years at the venue.
We wish the best of luck to all of the drivers that have advanced through Driftcup and into the British Drift Championship. We can now look forward to the 2019 season with new drivers, challenging tracks and more close battles. Bring on the 2019 HEL Performance Driftcup season!