Retrospective>> Paul ‘driftking’ Vlasblom

While researching this blog post, I didn't want to make a standard Driver Profile of Paul Vlasblom like what we've been doing with the Formula D drifters. I wanted to turn it into a Q&A type of feature with lots of pictures of his cars, build projects and driving skills instead.

Paul's career got started in 1998 when he was working for a Porsche dealership and and was racing a E30. He already loved to slide the little BMW but it never occurred to him it was a real sport. He won the BMW E30-Cup in 2001 and 2002. After that he became more and more interested in drifting and won the Dutch Driftchampionship in 2004 with a BMW E36 M3 Coupe. He also started to he attend his first drift competitions in the UK and Ireland too.

Let's take a closer look at his current drift machine: his E36 Touring.

The car started out as his personal daily driver but over the years it's evolved to a full blown drift machine. In 2005 he went to the D1 driver search in the UK at the Silverstone circuit. He qualified with 5 other drivers from UK and Ireland. At that time, the car had to meet the D1GP standards so it needed a rollcage. But because it was Paul's daily driver he didn't had one, luckily he was able to borrow one from a friend  who was driving in the BMW-E36 cup.

Instead of bolting the rollcage into the car he used industrial adhesive because he didn't want to drill holes into his street car. During the scrutinizing of the car by the D1GP officials they checked the rollcage but the adhesive looked like perfect welds, so it passed. At the time it seemed OK, but thinking about it now it seems a bit reckless!

The car had been his daily driver for a year when he exchanged the standard 2 liter engine with a S50 M3 Evo engine. After drifting it in 2005 he fully rebuilt it as a professional spec driftcar. The exterior went from standard to widebody with a modified GTR-Coupe bodykit because there wasn't anything available for a touring.

The windows have been replaced with lighter lexan versions. Other weight savings have been achieved thanks to FRP doors, bonnet, fenders and bootlid. 

The most important thing on a drift car has to be the suspension. The car has been fitted with a KW suspension, aluminum E46 wishbones and special tie rods for more lock. All these modifications and his amazing driving skill has earned him a place as one of the world's greatest drifters That's why was invited to compete in the…

…Red Bull drifting World Championship.

He qualified in third and he told me he was very thrilled with the result. Paul even had a feeling he was finished after that, but off course he had to battle it out in the top 32. His fellow competitors were very impressed with his results and drifting skills, but he suffered from his relatively low powered car because of the track layout. He drew against ‘Mad Mike' Whiddet with his crazy rotary-machine, Mike advanced to the top 16 when Paul lost his drift mid-corner. Paul had earned respect amongst the other drivers and he went home with a good feeling.

Back to his E36 wagon, inside this Spartan interior we only find the bare essentials a drift car needs. This time the D1-spec roll cage has been welded in place. The shifter connects to a five speed gearbox with a Tilton twin plate clutch and aluminum flywheel. The hydraulic handbrake with a brake bias adjuster makes sure Paul can use it whenever he wants and how he wants. The Sparco seats and steering wheel complement the interior.

The engine doesn't look like much but it has more than enough grunt to get it sideways. Like I mentioned before, the car now runs a S50 B32 6 cylinder M3 Evo engine. It uses more aggressive Schrick camshafts and Hamann-Motorsport carbon airbox. With all the modifications and a reworked ECU it puts out 380hp.

This is Paul drifting in his early days in his trusted BMW E30. It's back in 2000,when he was attending a race day, he bought two E30s that day, he explained to me that's because you had to pay for track access. In the case of a mechanical failure, You didn't want to be stranded, so with a back up you can always continue and make the most of it.

I was amazed to find the exact same car parked outside in the parking lot behind his company. Maybe Paul is thinking to restore the car in its former glory?

Paul also send me some other pictures of cars that he drifted in his career. This picture with Paul drifting a Porsche 911 GT3 impressed me the most.

Paul showed me around the office where he keeps his trophies. I asked him which trophy gave him the best memories. In 2005 he attended the D1 driver search at Silverstone, bear in mind that he drove his touring all the way there from Holland, he stuffed al his tires into the car. After he succeeded in getting his D1 license he returned back home. On the way back, still driving his drift car, he attended the King of Europe drift event in Warneton in Belgium. You might have guessed the outcome already because he won that event in his touring and went home after that still driving the same car. Can you imagine something like that happening now-a-days?

In 2008 I worked in the summer for Paul to earn some extra cash, this was one of the cars I worked on. It will be build as a drift car, powered by a Chevy LS3 but due to other projects involving his time, Paul had to put the build on hold.

This car belongs to a Belgium owner who gave Paul a blank check to build a mean machine. I hope I can come back to photograph this car in more detail when it's almost finished.

Cars like this just show that Paul is more than a great drifter who has drifted on almost every continent. He is also able to build amazing cars.

Outside I came across this Porsche Cayenne with a very special bodykit. But that wasn't everything, under the hood it has a fully 9ff tuned engine, more on this car in another post.

I wanted to thank Paul for his time in his busy schedule, I will keep in touch with Paul to bring you the latest info on some of the cars he is building. When I visited him he told me he was going to Japan to drift on Ebisu during the Drift Matsuri, part of a prize he won at the Driftstars event in Italy last month. I guess at that time he will be the first person who has drifted in Europe, the US, Australia, Dubai, Moscow and Japan.

-Jeroen Willemsen




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Oh, I hate it when people take other's nicknames! There's only one guy in the world who is referred as the "Drift King" and he is from another side of Earth. Maybe they can duel each other to define The Ultimate Drift King, but no matter the result Keiichi-san was the first. Concerning "the business" itself - drifting - Paul is really cool. Seen him in Moscow and this guy really knows how to rock it. And he definitely builds the coolest drifting BMWs.


Driftking FTW :D


I saw him and is team-mate(you can see is car in the first picture behind the e36 and the e30) 3 weeks ago in the KD European Drift in Portugal, and this guy knows what he is doing... BMW Power

KD European Drift DNYRacing 2009 - you can see Paul here.


Yeaa one of the best European drifters hm hm ^^ Keep going ;)


wooooooo super :)


Yeah, Paul really know how to build a drift car. His cars are always ranking high in competitions, like his white BMW at the first picture most of the time driven by Frank van Heeren.


Never knew Paul's shop was this big. Very cool! Frank van Heeren's S13 is in the pictures too


I love the TechArt Magnum bodykit ine the Cayenne!

I saw paul in the Paris Tuning Show,2 years ago,and I was really amazed!


He should drift that BMW Z1 in the first picture!



In 2005 he attended the D1 driver search at Silverstone, bear in mind that he drove his touring all the way there from Holland, he stuffed al his tires into the car

Cool! He is one of the real privateers, always ranking high and drifting all around the world sponsored by his own company with a car built and maintained by himself,

The only question is: How can he manage such a garage and drift all around the world at the same time?

It would be nice to see a coverage from his Japan trip!


Paul has a very capable staff that can run the compnay when he is absent


@JC - A nickname is just a nickname. Besides, can you think of anyone else who's drifted to such success using a goddamn station wagon, and never EVER making above 500hp? Paul Vlasblom doesn't need all this fancy ish, no crazy aerodynamics, not even full out weight savings or switching to a lighter chasis. Paul Vlasblom, at least for Europe, really is a Drift King.

Sorry to the Tsuchiya lovers, but I think it's about time to pass the crown. Paul just might be a top contender for the next title holder.


Paul est vraiment un trés bon pilote et surtout il est gentil et respectueux des organisateurs.

Je le connais un peu dans le sens ou il est en tete du drift challenge en France cette année (2009).

Je lui souhaite une bonne continuation pour les années a venir.

(Paul si tu me lis ta voiture est moche LOL)



Merci a se Grand monsieur, de sa belle mentalité, de sont beau pilotage, de sont respect sa gentillesse, bref un Exemple pour tous !!!

Merci de tout se spectacle !

Magnfiqiue garage de la passion qui se degage de partout

De la votiure allemande en plus et surtout de la Bmw !!!

Je l'aime cette e36 =)

A bientot sur le Drift Challenge en France !



paul vlasblom to me is the drift king of europe. And his e36 touring is legendary and i hope the ls3 e36 see the light of day soon. And it will be intresting to see how he fairs against the drift missiles and andy from powervehicles at ebisu.


Awesome porsche!


Aww, poor setting dusty Porsche 928's. I hate to see vehicles like these setting :/...... Ohwell..

And wtf? A E39 M5 V8 in a E46 just dropped extra respect from me.


I doubt it's just possible to ask and receive but i'd love a widescreen version of the first picture if possible.


He had some of the best single runs at redbull out of everyone. Obviously because he qualified high but still.


Industrial adhesive passed for perfect welds? Seems to me some D1GP tech-inspectors face dishonourable sacking...


Seen this car in Wembley this year at JDM allstars and he can defenitely put on a show,, great to see drivers in different cars, and awesome results for a relatively underpowered car, think he won at silverstone also?


Seen this car in Wembley this year at JDM allstars and he can defenitely put on a show,, great to see drivers in different cars, and awesome results for a relatively underpowered car, think he won at silverstone also?


Seen this car in Wembley this year at JDM allstars and he can defenitely put on a show,, great to see drivers in different cars, and awesome results for a relatively underpowered car, think he won at silverstone also?


the two Porsche on top his garage and a layout of black cars!!! DAMNMMMMM!


first picture = sick


I saw him drifting n, well, his skills are insane, really! Also, u really need to look carefully throught all the smoke that Touring makes to find out that theres a car (at least it´s painted black!)

So much respect for him


in holland we call him the Breakking......


blah blah wj, I have never seen you do something for the good of the sport.


Jeroen, WJ is doing some good for the drift sport, check:

He let people laugh as a "professional" drifter!


Link to drift starts photos if you want to use them:

Scroll down:


Hahahaha, @ Willem, that was just hilarious.


In this vid from 2.20 min you see Vlasblom drifting the Nordschleife with only 380 hp


Paul Vlasblom is the King in Holland! FTW!!!

Down to earth guy with amazing skills...

He also drifts certain cars for Autoblog sometimes when they do drive test, if the importer only knew!

Like this M3 Sedan (E90).:

(at the ending!!!)


I drove against paul @ rnd 2 JDM Allstars lydden hill this year.... amazing driver.


Paul, tu nous fais rêver, autant de talent et autant de classe... Bravo, tu mérite bien ton surnom de DriftKing, un grand homme ;)


".. bolting the rollcage into the car he used industrial adhesive because he didn't want to drill holes.. " I think that says a lot about the person... people don't change, my friends ;)


@ Willem, That movie is just too funny! WJ can apply for a job as clown in a circus!!!


Love your store ;)


Brake check FTL!!


Ok let's move on and look at the professional drift cars for the 2009 Speedhunters Awards. We've chosen cars which have impressed us in one way or another this year. Some of the candidates are new builds which were competitive right out of the