Gallery>>the Anti-grip: Awd-based Drift Cars

Most people would say that the biggest benefit of an all-wheel-drive layout is copious amounts of grip. For years, AWD cars and their grip have proven themselves on race tracks and roads all over the world.  You'd expect the precise grip that AWD delivers would have no place in the unusual world drifting, and for the most part that's true. However, cars that were once AWD have become rather popular among drifters around the world. Even if you take the AWD out of the equation, cars like the Evolution and Impreza still offer lots of horsepower, a stiff chassis, and well-designed suspension that can be appreciated by anyone, even drifting goons. Since we can never go too long without running a drifting story on Speedhunters, here's a look at some of the AWD-based drift cars that have popped up over the years.

The pioneers in using AWD chassis for pro drifting are of course Team Orange and their JUN-built machines. Nobushige Kumakubo switched from his proven S15 Silvia to an all-new GDB Impreza half way through the 2005 D1 Grand Prix season and immediately proved just how capable a Subaru drift car could be. He would go on to win the 2006 D1GP championship in this car.

Shortly after Kumakubo jumped in his new car, his friend and teammate Kazuhiro Tanaka began driving his own Impreza with very similar specs. Tanaka still drives the car to this day – consistently finishing in the upper ranks at D1 events.

Eventually, Team Orange had matching cars built for overseas competition. So far they have seen action in both the D1GP USA series and the European Drift Championship.

In 2006 Team Orange member Naoto Suenaga joined the party with a GC8 two-door Impreza drift car. Naoto drove this car in Japan for a few years, and if I'm not mistaken the same car is now being used by Team Orange in the D1GP USA series.

In 2007 Team Orange and JUN debuted their first non-Subaru drift car with Kumakubo's Evolution 9. After driving the car for about two seasons, Kumakubo handed it down to his Team Orange kouhai Naoto Suenaga for 2009…

…meanwhile in 2008, new Team Orange member Hideo Hiraoka took over driving duties in for Kumakubo's old championship-winning Impreza.

And the most recent addition to the Team Orange fleet, Kumakubo's Evo X which was originally shown at Tokyo Auto Salon 2008 and debuted for the 2009 D1 season. I'm still waiting to see them build a new-body style Impreza for Tanaka…

Team Orange aren't the only ones who have run Impreza drift cars in Japan. This stylish GDB was driven by Komagata in the D1 Street Legal series, but has since disappeared from the action.

From time to time, AWD models also pop up at grassroots drift events in Japan. I remember being thoroughly impressed by the driver of this GC8 at Nikko Circuit last year.

Here in the United States, Formula D driver Stephan Verdier has been successfully drifting his Impreza for a few seasons now.

The car got new livery for 2009 and Verdier has been having a very solid season so far this year.

Also joining Formula D this year is Irishman Eric O'Sullivan who pilots this Rockstar/Hankook-sponsored Impreza. Expect more on this car later in the month…

Skylines have always been popular drift cars, but not too many people drift Skyline GT-R's. Tusyoshi Tezuka and his Bee*R-built BNR32 have proven that that a converted GT-R can be a very successful slider. This car is actually one of the veteran machines on the current D1GP car roster.

And finally there's the R35 GT-R-based drift car that Blitz has been working on for a while now. If and when this car is ever finished, it should be one of the most talked about drift cars in a long time.

I think that covers all of the AWD-based drift cars I've seen personally, but I'm sure there are others out there.

What other AWD chassis have been massaged for drift use?

-Mike Garrett

Speedhunters AWD Features



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need more pics of evo's, any cp9a?


Rich Rutherford Evo


I would like to know, how they make them RWD.


Galant VR4 in NZ has been converted.


Blake Fullers RWD Integra drift car with CRV transmission

guy in Florida with RWD Subaru Legacy

RMR's silver EVo that was RWD


What about that one dude with the greenish subie wago from slide america!

that car was badass


Jamie Russell runs an R31 gt-r in the EDC




Sorry R32!


here in germany, some guys are drifting rwd audi quattro's.


RCdrifters allways use 4wd chassis :D


As far as I know Kumakubo's Evo X is RWD too.


is R31 has the GT-R version?? maybe you mean the R32..


You should really do a feature on Full-Lock's RWD Legacy.


Notice that some AWD cars featured are equipped in Enkei's....


ken blocks subaru


He's using it for gymkhana, not drift only...


white gc8 looks tight


the bee r r32 is a gt-s skyline 2 door car with a gtr front and a rb26 so it was already rwd before bee-r started modifying it.If you dont trust me take a look at the best motoring video about the skyline history.The black bee-r r32 gt-s car is the same that is now used by tezuka in d1gp


Drifthunters strikes again! Couldn't leave well enough alone from drifting...


also check some of the micro drifters from dihatsu?? the guys use the awd models and some clever hacksawing to get the lil things sliding really funky!


In Russia we also have much AWD cars in the drift championship , such as impreza and skyline


Found a guy in Japan that drifts a caldina gtt -


If the car is a RWD base, IE the skyline gtr, then you would just need to remove the transfer case and front driveshafts/cv joints. This is quite easy to do with a car like the GT-R's due to the fact that the engine is north-south and very easy to work with the g/box and t/f case


Maybe the stupidest type of motorsport to ever exist. The fact that these cars all have spoilers and are made to look like real race cars compunds that stupidity. Spoilers and ground effects are for downforce...these cars require a lack of downforce in order to break f-ing stupid it hurts. Cant wait for drifting to go away for good...this makes monster-truck bashes look like a MENSA competition.


^^^ somebody shut this idiot up

drifting does require down force to when you're flying sideways at high speeds to get more grip on the rear tires.

when you're traveling at the high rate of speed sideways that d1 drifters drift at you need downforce on both front tires and rear tires to get grip.

contrary to what many people may believe grip is very important to pro drifting. with out grip these cars whould not be able to drift at the high rate of speed that they do


Hater, your retarded and clearly have no gasp on the sport. Even though it looks like a lack of traction, drifting requires as much traction as possible in order to keep control of the vehicle as well as accelerate out of a turn. This is why 275 tires is not uncommon in pro drifting.

The "ground effects" and spoilers are mostly there for style yes (they don't exactly work when your sideways). But at the end of the day, this is a sport about style and spectator viewing. What looks better, a stock car sliding, or a low ass car with giant wing and flashing lights.