April 18, 2011
Tommy Roberts is a former Formula Drift driver and full time spotter for our very own Matt Powers. I have known Tommy for years now, so I thought it would be interesting to better understand his job as a spotter.
Larry: Tell me, what is it like being a spotter?
Tommy: Perhaps the most glamourous lifestyle in Formula Drift is the life of a spotter. The spotter's job is to sit up in a tower near the judges. Usually that's the best seat in the house. We watch our drivers and keep in contact with them giving them tips and feedback on each run. There are strict criteria that the judges are looking for.
Tommy in the judges tower at Formula Drift round 1 in Long Beach
Tommy: As a driver, it can be hard to judge yourself from inside the car. Everything goes by so fast. The spotter can tell the driver if they look to be off line, the speed based off radar guns, or even watch the way the car works throughout the run which helps in tuning the handling.
Larry: So what makes you qualified for such a demanding position?
Tommy: Matt and I have been drifting together since we first started. We've lived together, traveled together, and lots of other things I probably can't talk about. We have the same idea of what is cool in drifting.
Tommy: He likes how I drift, I like how he drifts and I know what he expects of himself as a driver. He knows that I will tell him when his runs are garbage. On top of that, my drift car is still in several pieces in a garage. I won't be driving in Formula D this season. So I guess I had no excuse not to help out, right?
Larry: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Tommy: One day, I will return in need of my own spotter and hope, at that time, there will be so many new spotters getting into the game that I'll be beating them off with a stick.