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Official Hooniversal Opinion: Drifting is Good

Greg Kachadurian August 28, 2017 Formula Drift, Motorsports 14 Comments

This past weekend was spent at the Gridlife South motorsport festival which hosted, among other wonderful things, dozens of drifters both professional and amateur. It was the first time I had ever seen [intentional] drifting in person and I got to witness it as a credentialed media “professional” stationed closer to the track than I had ever been before.

I think I speak for almost everyone on the Hooniverse team by officially declaring drifting to be good. Our friend Drift Idiot was right all along – it’s just plain good. I’ll briefly explain why with some pretty pictures.

Drifting is a way to gain fame by destroying tires in the most spectacular way possible. You can kill a set of tires by doing a brake stand or some donuts in a parking lot, or you can chuck a car sideways at 100 mph and leaving a quarter-mile-long streak of molten rubber on the ground and lots of white smoke in the air. One method is adequate and efficient, the other is a spectacular display of insanity and car control.

What’s even more impressive is watching professionals drift in tandem. In this scenario, two or more drivers are tricking a 3,000-pound car into doing things it was never meant to do while on the absolute limits of control and with only a few feet separating them. They not only have to keep from smacking into each other, they follower also has to mimic the leader’s every move without losing too much ground. Oh, and good luck seeing the car ahead through all the smoke.

But whether it’s one car on a solo run or five in a train, it’s just plain fun to watch. From the moment a car kicks sideways to initiate to the moment it’s completely engulfed by its own smoke, it’s a spectacle like nothing else. It’s the ultimate display of car control and bravery to be able to do this well.

But what it also displays is the creativity within the community. Drifting has evolved well beyond the AE86 and 240sx you always used to see. There are Corvettes, new Mustangs, Infiniti M45s, Skylines, and Supras among other radical creations. And even if you do see a more common car like a 350Z or BRZ, they’re all engine-swapped monsters. Seriously, good luck finding a drift car with its stock powertrain intact.

Not only can anything go drifting, it turns out anyone can go drifting too. When Rob “Chairslayer” Parsons was given lemons, he engineered his own hand controls and made a drift car. Watching him slay on track, you’d never guess he was facing an extra challenge.

It’s fun and seriously impressive to watch (especially in person), it harbors some of the most creative minds in motorsport, and it’s the coolest way to kill a set of tires.

So yes, drifting is good. Go check it out and support one of the greatest spectacles in motorsport.

I probably don’t need to remind anyone about this, but drifting is of course inherently dangerous. Whether you’re at a local amateur practice session or a professional competition, watch where you stand and know where the cars are at any time.

I was standing on the inside of turn 10A at Road Atlanta (as I was allowed to with my media vest) and got a nice surprise. That arrow is pointing to a rock or rubber marble that was kicked up by this 680-hp Corvette when it kicked sideways outside of the racing line where all the debris was. Half-a-second after shooting this, I got hit right in my upper forehead. It sucked, but what’s most important is that the shots I got turned out pretty good. You’ll see the rest of them in the full Gridlife recap later this week.

[Images © 2017 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian – go here for full size]

  • jeepjeff

    So… Drift truck?

  • roguetoaster

    It’s a right of passage, much like a hockey coach getting hit in the head by an errant puck.

  • onrails

    I know I’m probably on the ‘Get off my lawn!’ side of things here, but while I certainly understand the preparation and skill needed to drift, I just don’t really get it. Don’t get me wrong… turning tires to smoke and noise is endlessly entertaining for sure, but it’s the slow way around, works better with tires with no grip, and puts off the same sort of vibe as diesel trucks rolling coal. It’s a lot of ‘look at me!’ without a lot of substance behind it.

    Pointless, but…still fun to watch.

    • crank_case

      Drifting I think probably works best at a real amateur sort of level, where its not too serious. It’s an outlet for going sideways, because regular track days will black flag you if you go sideways too much. Just horsing around in a beat up Silvia would be a laugh, though I might get a bit tired of it and want to go grip again.

      On the pro front though, it is more and more a “proper” motorsport, while there are points for style, VBOX monitoring does record angle and speed, so there is a bit more substance to it these days.

    • Troggy

      I don’t much like Eminem’s music (or “music” if you prefer), but I acknowledge that he’s very good at what he does.

      I feel much the same way about drifting. I don’t ‘get’ it, but there is a certain artistry to it, and I recognise that it takes ability to do it well.

    • Greg Kachadurian

      Yeah I’ll admit it’s a bit pointless in the grand scheme of things but it’s a fun kind of pointless 🙂
      If you happen to catch it at a professional level someday, I think you’d find a way to enjoy it. I’ve been hooked on ALMS/IMSA and historic racing for the last 7 years to the point where that’s all I’ve been going to see, but this made a fan of me pretty quickly.

    • Jeff Glucker

      The tires with no grip thing, that’s actually false at this level of drifting. These cars actually have tremendous grip, which they need to be able to accurately place the car on its intended line. Then they run massive horsepower to push past a certain level of grip.

      I believe we’re in the world of 1,000- and 1,200-horsepower top-tier Formula Drift cars right now. If they had no grip, they would barely make it from the pits to the start line.

      No… on your average street car when you just want to have a bit of giggle time behind the wheel. Yeah, a nice set of shitty tires can help reduce the need for serious horsepower.

  • smalleyxb122

    Drifting is cool. It’s fun to do, and fun to watch. You’ll never convince me that it’s a sport. Sports don’t have style points. In my personal, perhaps too narrow, definition of a sport, it comes close, but style points disqualify it.

    To be a sport requires:
    -Competition
    -Athleticism
    -Objective scoring
    -No subjective scoring

    Drifting has the top three, but the subjective scoring groups it with pseudo sports like figure skating and diving.

    Who can go the fastest around the track? Sport
    Who can go around the track the prettiest? Not a sport

    • P161911

      Drifting is somewhere between the figure skating and professional wrestling of the Motorsports world.

      • Alff

        Monster truck racing is the professional wrestling of Motorsports.

  • cap’n fast

    would a full face helmet not have been a good thing to have worn that close to the corner when taking close up shots???