Discussion: Let’s Talk About Drifting

It’s becoming harder and harder to think of a time where drifting wasn’t on our radar. For most of us, we’ve been aware of the art of gracefully sliding a car for the last ten years or so, give or take anyway. With the novelty having now worn off, I think we’re long overdue a rational discussion on what drifting means to each of us, and where we think it should go in the future…

From a personal point of view, I owe quite a lot to drifting. It’s because of the hard work of the Irish Drifting Championship that I find myself working with Speedhunters today. I’ve been lucky enough to travel far and wide to witness drivers destroy rubber and I’ve met some of my best friends because of it. But over the last couple of years I’ve become disillusioned by it. I’ve lost interest in competition drifting as I’ve become bored of the never-ending saga of controversial decisions. It’s an inherent flaw in the sport that every run is judged subjectively, but it’s something that we either need to a) get over or b) find an alternative non-subjective way of judging a run.

In saying that, I can’t remember anything in quite some time that put as big a smile on my face as watching Aasbø and Tuerck run the pit wall at Gatebil earlier this year. Even watching Mad Mike do his thing at Mantorp Park, enjoying his drifting outside the pressure of competition was a pleasure to watch. As a spectator you really sense when the guys are enjoying themselves without worrying about qualifying or advancing to the next bracket. I guess for me, that’s what the real spirit of drifting is about. Pushing yourself and your car to the limits in the company of good friends.

So what does drifting mean to you?



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

There is no better way to have fun with your clothes on......


Larry Chen I disagree:
Skid plate racing: Oval econo-shit-box racing where you're constantly drifting.


Being a professional brings the highest levels of scrutiny. Pointing the finger at what you don't like is far to easy. We used to call it being a cry baby.


Friends tire smoke beer.


Bros before Pros


Drifting is the automotive amalgamation of figure skating and baseball. Entirely human in the judgement of form and fair or foul, technical in execution and preparation. Few builds on this whole Earth encompass what a Scandinavian or American or Japanese or Kiwi or German or British or South African or...drift car can be. It is a wholly democratic motorsport. And it is a demonstration of art in motion. I have no taste for it in viewing, but then again, I do not enjoy F1 outside of the static laboratory of photography and television (ok, that is a lie...but Grand Prix are hard to take in and tally live, but for the running of the race and practice, one cannot exceed the experience on four wheels). The ballet of two cars in a haze of spent rubber and exhausted hydrocarbons are a dance that few outside our passion can comprehend, and those within cannot explain. It is a marvelously flawed display. And for that, we love it.


I think professional drifting has ruined the whole thing. I grew up in Japan and we didn't go to a track or had anything to do with pros. It was about our crew,spending numerous hours fixing each others car,endless hours scouring junkyards and drifting EVERY night. It was one of the greatest times of my life. I don't remember anything about pro's or tracks having anything to do with our love of cars and driving them.


Rico05 i've also heard it compared to wrestling lol.


You know for me you could drop Drifting coverage entirely and I wouldn't mind one bit. It's not a legitimate motorsport. Some of the cars are interesting but that's about it.


Drifting is just about having fun without worrying about time and see how much your car can handle before spinning out. Although I enjoy both drifting and autocross/racing, each have their own purpose. But for me, drifting is just having fun getting the car sideways while autocross/racing is a more serious form of motorsport.


A little off topic, but irrespective of what drifting means to me (and it means a lot, because it's great fun and is super spectacular), there are a couple of points I'd like to make: 
1. The sport is still growing and growing really fast. It means irrespective of the judging (or perhaps because of it, because it allows discussion), people really like to watch it. 
2. The only credible alternative to judging I've seen is the computerised points system established by the Drift Shifters sessions. However, if such a system is used, does that take away from the talking points created by subjective judging?


NicholasMaher While I don't want to cause offense, I have to say; I entirely disagree.
Drifting IS a motorsport. Figure skating is also a sport, and it's practically the same.
They both have a points system, and judges, they both feature extreme athlete precision, and they both require intense training.
I think drifting entirely deserves it's motorsport title.
That's all. Good day.


We have been around drift on and off since '99 and traveled to most corners of the world to indulge ourselves. Im one of the lucky few, my wife is interested in all things automotive and held 4th in the Australian professional rankings in 2005 so i generally dont need to give a real convincing argument to go to any car events.. Our travels have taken us to Sth America, Japan, Europe, USA and China and of all the places we have had the most enjoyment was GATEBIL 2013 at Rudskogen... this was true free spirit drifting without all the hoopla of competition and a true emphasis on freestyle and mate-ship. We enjoyed our trip so much we have vowed to take our car there for 2014... a huge expenditure for sure but for what we consider the new drift Mecca all stops needed to pulled! 
ps: a great unexpected scene for us was the guys @ GTDRIFT in Beijing Realport raceway. Great hire Driftcars and a good circuit.


Personally, I find drifting as THE most exciting form of motorsports. In my opinion, it has a higher "excitement-per-second" ratio compared to the likes of Formula 1, drag racing and such. But nowadays this sport is being spoilt by high horsepower cars, it has lost some touch with its original roots. Who remembers the good old days of drifting where the race is done by near-stock cars? I think it requires more skills from a driver to maintain a slide in an under-powered car than running the course with a high power monsters. Yes, with higher horsepower comes more smoke and speed, but I think there is much more to drifting than just that 2 points.


I remember the world before drifting.  It was a time when everyone lusted for Civic and Integra Type R's (Eclipses if you felt you just had to be different), and drag racing was the only game in town. Honda's (and DSM's) battled each other on the track for the ever-so-elusive 10 (and then 9) second pass.  Lines were drawn between Import and Domestic camps, and the 4-cylinder guys considered themselves the self-styled underdogs to the "heavy/old/ugly" V8-powered domestics (Oh the irony, when you look back).  Engineering boundaries were pushed in the name of extreme boost and high wheel horsepower.  We battled on the streets and tracks all over America.  It was a glorious, glorious time...
And then a certain movie came out.

Shit got ALL KINDS of effed up.  Supra prices tripled overnight, and you couldn't drive to the grocery store and back without some Paul Walker wannabe pacing you and revving at you at stoplights because he saw your intercooler.  All of a sudden there were like 30 sanctioning bodies for import drag racing, and at least that many car shows every year.  As the movement picked up more groupies and hangers-on, more and more of us began leaving the sport behind. 
Meanwhile, there was a fringe group of guys who were playing Gran Turismo on their PS1s (ha!), spending all their money on Option videos and perusing a site called Ex Vi Termini.  Names like Koguchi, Imamura, and Haraguchi began being thrown around by those of us "In The Know", and teams like Velocity and Slide Squad were quietly (figuratively speaking) drifting away, far from the fanboys and bandwagoners.  When import drag racing finally collapsed under its own weight, most of us didn't even notice.  We were too busy watching D1.  We know what happened from there; Signal brought the fat guy and the skinny guy, which led to more demos, which led to D1dipping a toe in over here, which led to Formula D.  Sorry for the long winded history recap, but without it I can't fully explain what drifting means to me.
Drifting is a motorsport that takes the engine of a drag car, adds the suspension and handling of a time attack car, and then wraps the whole thing in the appearance of a show car.  If you can't find ANYTHING to like about drifting, you're not looking closely enough.  Grassroots drifting isn't going anywhere, just like grassroots import drag racing still exists for the hardcore racers.  Formula D, however, doesn't have same guarantee.  I'm glad to see FD going ten years strong, but I think the next two years are going to be the most crucial.  If competition drifting wants to remain relevant, there needs to be a clear line between amateur and pro.  I don't know what happened to the XDC, but FD needs a feeder series like that again, and soon, because the gap between the Pros and the Pro-Am drivers is only going to widen.  The horsepower war that's brewing is also troubling, because there really is no replacement for displacement, and if the gloves come off, the V8 guys are gonna start bolting on turbos too.  If teams are gonna need 750hp just to remain competitive, that widens the gap between the lesser funded guys and the guys at the top as well.  
Drifting to me represents the first motorsport that actually belongs to my generation.  Yeah our dads may have done it before we were a twinkle in their eye -they called it powerslidin'- but it became a sport and a culture on OUR watch.  I personally feel I've invested into it, and helped it grow.  I've seen it spread worldwide, and because of drifting I actually want to visit Norway at some time in my life.  Drifting saved the Fast and Furious franchise (for the better), and made Toyota build a RWD car again.  There are a few things that need to be addressed here and there, but by and large I think drifting is the best thing to happen to cars in a long time.  And that means a lot.


I see drifting taking over nascar I see drifting taking over a whole new generation. These past 10 years have been awesome but just imagine this next decade of drifting will take us.


Drifting was best back in 1998 or so, when it was illegal street action after midnight. High risk, full commitment. Any rich kid can now drift tracks in daddy's car, and if they wreck it, it's no loss. No jail time. Drifting became stupid when they started judging it like ice skating. Now it's just a way to kill cars.


+1 you are not alone, this isn't motorsort it's a circus, i like the gatebill drifting and drifting on the mountains of japan, the rest of it is rubish


Simply P it sounds like you have been at the centre of many changes in the US scene. Very well put.


ryukyustriker sounds amazing


Simply P Right on!


I think it should become more casual. For the man to hop in his drift car and go take his worldly worries out on the rev limiter. Focus on making that amazing release you feel from putting your foot a little deeper and feeling that acceleration accessible to everyone. Fair enough that competition helps get the name out there further, but dont keep that the focus. Just focus on having a fun sport that can be done by anyone, on any track.. ya know? Similar to how casual and accessible drag racing can be. Please dont focus onto profits..


Absolutely nothing. I respect the skill involved, but as a competition I don't care about it. For me motorsport is about going as fast as possible, not as sideways as possible.


I was into drifting in my teens, but I lost interest when it came to the US.  Yeah, I was one of those Option video guys in the early days.
I never cared for the competetiveness of drifting.  I'd rather watch amateurs on a track.  It is more impressed with drift cars built with ones own funds.


I agree with a lot of this and over the past 10'years in the US drift cars have evolved if you will, from slammed huge flashy aero kits and polished 3 piece wheels into what it is in the professional scene presently which seems to be incredibly high powered cars, light weight one-piece wheels, and more wheel gap than the cars came with stock (granted this is for suspension travel, but still looks ugly as sin). However the pro series of drifting (at least in the US) has seemingly turned into a whole lot of politics and taken a substantial amount of fun out of it for the people (the spectators). I feel that if drifting in the US as a professional sport continues on the path it is currently on I don't see it fairing well over the corse of the next few years unfortunately. Even at the pro-am level I see this and it's discouraging for those like me who at one time yearned for a FD license just so I could go compete with the big names in drifting. I can't say I have completely given up that thought but it certainly isn't very high on my list of things I want to do these days.
Drifting at a "grassroots event" like East Coast Bash or All Star Bash just seems more like what drifting REALLY is about to me, and that is having fun in cars with friends.


I was also at Gatebil this year and I am from Brisbane!
This was the greatest drift and car festival I have ever been too and the level of drifting and the cars was simply mind blowing. What I also loved about it was our friendly everyone was and everyone there shared a passion for cars. The Aussie drift events all seem to be about one upping each other and who's setup is the best. The Euros just want to have fun and go sideways.. something we can all learn from.
Please fill me in on how you are getting your car over there, I also am looking into transporting mine over so would be great to share on our plans!!



I think drifting is a car out of control but not. Someone flying sideway with the barest of contact patches dictating where they are going. That is drifting. It's not whether it's


Dude. I read two sentences. And now I'm in love with drifting. You should be in marketing.


I agree. Drifting to me is about having fun in a car;  therefore the notion of competitive drifting at the level it's now at is a bit of an oxymoron in my opinion.
That being said, I do enjoy watching a high-spec pro drift car tearing it up on a hot run, but it doesn't do as much for me as watching a tatty, battered S14 doing the same.
Motorsport is inherently unfair, i.e those with the most money go the fastest. Drifting became so popular because it was so accessible to so many people, you could nail a sweet run without needing to remortgage your house!
This accessibility was (for me) what made drifting so cool, and I'm afraid that as it's become more popular and attracted bigger budgets, the accessibility and the appeal has been eroded.


I love the sounds of a drift car sitting on the limiter, the smell of the burning rubber, the smoke billowing out of the rear guards, it's an intoxicating combination. I admire the skills of the drivers and hope to be able to go drifting myself one day, I love photographing drifting, I drift all the time on games, its a big part of my life.


They have to keep it judged. If they resort to a bunch of sensors measuring entry angle, timing, proximity to walls, etc. it takes the fun and the human element out of it. I'd like to see a curb put to all the excessive HP cars out there to give more of the little guys a chance to be competitive. Or maybe class drivers by power output. Something to make privateers more able to compete.


I like what a lot of you guys are saying. I'd much, MUCH rather watch some grassroots drifting or some late night street hoonage than the pro-level stuff. It's just too squeaky clean, along with the rest of modern motorsports.


HachiRocker NicholasMaher Sports are not judged.  Activities and demonstrations are judged.  Figure skating is not a sport.  Martial arts kata and form demonstration is not a sport.  Cheerleading is not a sport.  Ribbon twirling is not a sport.  Drifting is not a sport.
All of these activities require skill and talent, several of which require skill and talent which most people, myself included, do not posses.  But that does not make them sports.  And the fact that these are not sports, should not be make them cause angst and despair in those who participate or enjoy those activities.

Seeking Perfection

Energy drinks and politics ruined drifting. I miss the old days when drifting was about having a fully customized car reflecting your personal style and going sideways in it and smashing some shit. 
D1GP is still going strong but for a strange reason you chose not to cover it. FD is ok thanks to some talented and established drivers, but judging is inconsistent. Besides this, when seeing that drivers like Tangelo hold an FD license, it gets evident that the level of skill becomes awfully low.
From my very own perspective, the only respectable representatives of drifting nowadays are Daigo Saito from the pros, Nigel Petrie for fabricating amazing drift rides and Team Burst for the bringing FUN factor.


In my opinion, drifting needs to be revived on the streets. I have far more respect for someone who puts their licence on the line and risks everything to earn notoriety. I'm sure I'll get a load of replies telling me that street drifting is irresponsible and dangerous, which in honesty it is, but you have to admit when you saw those VHS videos of guys in Japan ripping up touges and city streets it would make your hair stand on edge. It's that spark that drifting is missing nowadays, it's too sober and sterile, too conformative. It's lacking that rebellious streak that made us all fall in love with it in the first place....


Yes it is a motorsport though not a legitimate one. All racing, using cars or any other means, is about covering a set distance as quickly possible. That is not the case in drifting. As somebody else said,it's more like a circus than a race.


drift is an art,why? because you must make your car as close as possible with the wall. you know that's so hard. and the cars. engine sound,tires smoke and the sound. you can build 1000 hp with 4 cylinders engine of course with big twin turbo and many more.


@Seeking Perfection agreed d1gp is much better what America needs that we could have learned from japan many years ago is D1GP SL or Street Legal! So origonal motors only with limited mods keeping the cars close in spec none of this weight/power/tires size malarchy... more of a run what you got and its a good way for amateur drivers to step up to the big boy class!


drifting is a way of life , wen either your drifting or spectating ,it captivate's you , it puls you in  , it wil never leave your mind ,from the first time ive wached  keiichi tsuchiya rip it up on the tougue on dvd ,  ive been hooked  , even tho I do think professional drifting is going away from the original mindset of the early drifters , they did it for fun , for honour ,for getting their mind of their hard day's work  , not that I don't like pro drifting ,  but  I realy love to see more grassroots drift event coverage  on speedhunters ,


Im building a drift car at the moment, but I have no intention of competing in any series. Drifting for me is about car controll pushing yourself. and showing of your skills to friends, mutch like hanging out skateboarding with your friends and showing off tricks


RBJKT Simply P Haha thanks!  Riker!


RodChong Simply P Thanks Rod!  Means a lot coming from you, believe that.  And yes, I've been "affiliated" for quite a while now.  Since before guys like Steph Papadakis and Ed Bergenholtz even knew what a drift car was lol.


InnerToxicity Haha that's pretty inspiring, thanks for the compliment!  RYAN SAGE, listen to this man!  He knows what he's talking about lol.


Reading through the comments, a common thread that I see is that drifting needs to "return to its roots".  I agree with this, but there needs to be clarification.  I think Formula D as a series is fine, it just needs a tweak or two here and there to be great.  Judging needs greater consistency, and being a PRO series, teams need to be held to a Pro standard.  I'm not saying every team needs a huge support trailer and decked-out pit area, but there need to be minimum requirements for team equipment (radios coming to mind at the moment).  The cars should look and perform at a professional level, and the drivers should act that way as well.  Formula D is the most accessible motorsports series for those of us who didn't grow up racing go-karts or weren't born with silver spoons in our mouths, so it definitely has its place in the greater motorsports spectrum.
However, Formula D cars are rapidly moving away from the stylish, sexy, slide machines that hooked many of us in the first place.  Drifting as it once was was all about show cars being driven hard.  With the focus on winning championships and gaining sponsors, drift cars have become increasingly sanitized (with the exception of Mad Mike's), and less and less like the cars that drifting's core fans themselves build and drift.  Pro drifting needs to maintain a connection with the streets, because by turning away the core fans, Formula D will be at the mercy of fad followers and scenesters, and just look at NOPI to see how that will turn out. 
My suggestion, as I touched on below and supported by the comments of @DaHawaiiKid, is to have a drifting "Minor League" a la D1SL or XDC.  A series where the cars are closer to what the fans are driving and the costs to be competitive aren't as high.  Let the drivers move up from regional Pro-Am events to that series first to give them an idea of -and prepare them for- the true costs of Formula D.  Things like fire supression systems, team radios, quick change rear ends, and 600hp engines are overkill at the amateur and Pro-Am levels, but become necessities in Formula D.  Pro-Am level cars should theoretically be able to drive to the event, qualify, compete, and cruise home (like Matt Powers did back in the day).  By making the transition from amateur to pro more gradual, it makes the playing field more even and keeps it fun for everyone for longer.  Bridge the gap from the streets to the tracks, and the fans will keep coming.  
This one's on the house, FD.


Simply P don't mean to be a pratt, but maybe you could clarify a bit. First you are saying the teams need to be more consistent, polished, and professional, but then in the 2nd paragraph you are saying the cars are too consistent, polished and professional... I'm sure you have a vision for what your trying to explain, so maybe you could just clarify that for me, because i don't think i'm understanding it right...


Drifting is the best part of NASCAR, every single lap. Door-to-door racing, lots of smoke, and fans on the edge of their seat. It perfectly matches the 30-second attention span of the MTV generation. Unfortunately, the sport in the US has been placed in the hands of a sanctioning body that has no previous formal motorsports sanctioning body experience, and I think it shows. Until the top 16 can get shrunk down into a 1 hour 30 minute production that can be broadcast in a 2-hour live TV window, the sport won't be able to capture the non-endemic sponsors. Sure, there have been a handful of non-endemics in the past, but many of them are now gone (Red Bull, Rockstar, Need for Speed, etc have all moved on). There has been far too much focus from a staffing standpoint on hiring friends rather than hiring motorsports and marketing experts. The product on track has suffered. The star power is leaving drifting for any and all other motorsports. three of your eight series champions have moved on, including the two who have won multiple championships. two of the past six rookies of the year are no longer in the series. 3 of the top 10 drivers from the 2010 series are no longer around. As much as the spectators are paying the dollars to come watch the sport, most of them are leaving by top 8 because they're tired, hungry, and bored. This isn't a sustainable model. 
I absolutely love drifting. I've paid money out of my pocket to go to more than 50 events on three different continents to watch it. It's paid my bills for a long time. But the direction that the current sanctioning body is taking things, I foresee a mass exodus of the drivers in the next year or two. And that will be very sad to see.
I've been into cars since I was a kid, and neither of my parents can even check their own oil in the car. Drifting was the first motorsport I could take my parents to and they understood what was going on. Sadly, I won't bring them to an event in the current state as I know they would get bored and leave in top 8, if they even lasted that long. I hope we can get this ship steered in the right direction here in the US, but without major changes, I'm quite pessimistic.


robzor Simply P No problem, I'd be happy to elaborate.  First of all, you're exactly right about how it sounds, and that was intentional. The cars of Formula D have evolved into the most well engineered drift cars on the planet - if you're looking at the maybe the Top 10-20 or so.  As you go further down the ranks, the cars, teams, and drivers begin to look light years away from the front runners -and if you think about it- a lot closer to what guys are building in their own garages (because they probably are).  The core of drifting's fanbase is built around those guys who build and slide their own cars.  The average drifter is not going to be able to consistently challenge the sport's elite, mainly because they won't be able to spend the money required to do so.

Give those guys their own series.  
When you have a "controversy" like what just happened in Irwindale, one that supposedly could've been prevented had a team been using the same communications equipment that pretty much ALL the front-runners are using, that shows that there's a huge disparity in the sport.  If EVERY team was operating at the PRO level, that would've never happened.  Not knocking the guy, I'm sure he squeezed every drop out of his budget to compete, and a radio was not high on the list of priorities.  Because it wasn't mandatory.  Like it should be.
Now regarding the cars, they're so far removed from the street they're impossible for the young drifter to even aspire to emulate, and that's how a lot of people got into the sport in the first place.  A lot of the top guys in the sport entered competition in (and won with) cars that would struggle to qualify in today's Formula D.  That's awesome because that shows how far the sport has advanced, but conversely, its beginning to turn away a lot of those core guys who I mentioned above.  They won't stop drifting of course, but they'll leave Formula D to find (or create) a series where they feel they can be competitive. 
 If Formula D is smart, they'll make that series for them. 
Hope that clears things up.


@JacobPhoto All of what you say is true (big fan of your work by the way).  However, unlike you I'm pretty optimistic, and I'll even go so far as to say all of Formula D's problems can be fixed in the off-season, maybe a year tops.  Once they bring more rational, motorsports and drifting obsessed technical advisors (like you and I lol) onboard, they'll have it together in no time.

Seeking Perfection

@JacobPhoto  I totally agree with you and thanks for bringing this up! Arent you involved in wreckedmagazine? The FD broadcast is way too long. They even make a huge break between top 32 and top16. I have never seen any other kind of motorsport taking so long. It eventually becomes boring. This is clear stupidity, but I am sure they will keep doing it. They already lost drivers like Foust, Hubinettete, Petty and it becomes apparent that they will lose more with their inconsistent judging. I wonder why SH keeps covering FD and not D1GP.


@Seeking Perfection Dino will tell you why he does not cover D1GP anymore. It's the same event every year, no new drivers no new blood. It's turned into an old boys club.


@JacobPhoto I agree with many of your points and you started covering drifting even before I did. You have watched it grow to where it is today. You even judged back in the Nopi Drift days. So what sort of things do you suggest to bring these stars back? Or keep them in the series? What about the fact that the attendance numbers are higher than they have ever been?
As for a high quality TV model, you have to either come to FD Asia or watch one of the broadcasts. They produce those events solely for live TV with less regard to the live audience. They break for commercials turning down time and play awesome interviews with both drivers right before their runs. The TV production is unlike anything I've ever seen for drifting, probably because it is run by Fox Sports in Asia.


Simply P robzor If you get rid of the grassroots guys then it's not going to be as interesting. People love to root for the underdog, and when one of those grassroots guys knock out someone better than them it makes the competition super interesting. The fans were beyond stoked that Forest Wang got 3rd place at Irwindale. It is expected of guys like Vaughn and Forsberg to podium every event, but to watch that real struggle from Forest and the team was amazing.


SMRacing You are building a lambo drift car. boom.


@Seeking Perfection So why do you think Daigo is competing in FD? If there is a schedule conflict he chooses FD over D1.

Seeking Perfection

Larry Chen  FD is more popular right now and he probably wants to compete in an international level.


Simply P As much as I joke about F&F, It really did shape a generation. It's crazy to think that I was only 13 when the first F&F came out.


Rico05 Amazing sir.


@Seeking Perfection It makes me wonder why people think D1GP is more popular than FD. That may have been true back in 2007.

Seeking Perfection

Larry Chen I said the exact opposite thing. I believe that FD is more popular than D1GP.


Larry Chen Simply P robzor Who said get rid of 'em?  Shorten Formula D back to a Top 16 format, do the same with the lower class (FD-SL for sake of conversation) and run the Championship simultaneously.  Wanna up the underdog aspect?  Pit the winner of both rounds against each other at the end of the day for an altogether separate trophy (if you're counting; that's two today, FD.) :)
You mentioned above about attendance numbers being the highest they've ever been, and if you'll read my comment below you'll notice I referenced the explosion of the import drag scene.  I also mention that I believe the next two years are going to be the most crucial for Formula D, and it's for that exact reason.  Drifting will not survive solely based on the fans.  Take away the drivers and the fans will find something else to give their attention to.  Grassroots drivers will not be able to spend what is becoming required of a front runner.  
The final nail in import drag racing's coffin was when privateer/grassroots teams could no longer afford to compete with the GM factory-backed FWD monsters.  If you look at the attendance numbers back then I'm sure they were some of the highest they had ever been up until that point.  Then all the privateer teams moved on to smaller, more competitive series', leaving the GM's to race themselves (with Chris Rado somewhere in the mix).  All of a sudden it wasn't fun to watch anymore.  The cars evolved to the point where they didn't look like street cars anymore.  The fans lost interest.

They then moved their attention to Drifting.


Larry Chen Believe it or not, Larry, a lot of those people who claim D1 is better than FD are those same "fans" that are flocking to the sport in droves.  I hate to use the word - I really do - but it's a very "hipster" thing to do (I'm so ashamed).  Formula D is THE elite drift championship in the world right now.


Larry Chen SMRacing whut! where did you get that from! If it was something I should have catched, I sure didnt :P  Im building an Escort mk2 with the 2011 mustang v6 engine :)


Hi guys. I'm just testing out your comment app.


Test #2




Larry Chen  Exactly. What blows me away is that FD can get the TV production so right on 1 continent and so wrong on the other. I'm still blown away that the current US TV show is cut as a 'live' event but played in 2 parts. I can't think of any other sport I watch on TV where a live event is "to be continued" next week, outside of poker.

While attendance numbers are increasing, you have to realize how small the live audience is compared to the potential live TV audience. And while 10k+ spectators at one location at one time might be impressive for drifting in the US, it's small when compared to other international events and nearly every other sporting or motorsport event. I think every single current venue is pretty much maxed out on capacity, save for the one event where the bleacher count was clearly an afterthought. There's no doubt that they are stuck between a rock and a hard place as there's not a clear 'next step' as far as venues that can hold 12k to 15k people without a severe investment (IE building stands, either permanently or temporarily), but that's what needs to happen. 
When there's 20k people at every event and a live tv broadcast, the non-endemic sponsors and the stars will come back. That's the simplest solution. 

One of the most confusing situations is the relationship with IMG. Those guys produce several different events that attract over 20k people in one day, many of which use completely temporary setups, but they seem to have no direct involvement in the FD production (from what I can tell, all that they do is help with international TV distribution and possibly merchandise).


It's my life, without it there'd be no me, I'd have no inspiration, no love, no fun. It's like a second life, it's got it's ups and its downs, but in the end it's worth it! Having fun with friends is one of the main factors for drifting. You can't drift and not have fun. It's impossible.


@Seeking Perfection Yes, I do some work with Wrecked Magazine, as well as with PAS Mag and a few other partners. That doesn't mean I don't read Speedhunters on the regular :)


Larry Chen I think FD is much more lucrative for his pocket book thanks to Achilles, while D1 is still convenient and possibly even more fun for him since he can do it and often sleep in his own bed.




I have been amature drifting on and off for around 8 years, have
seen many things change for good and for the bad (in Australia).
in love, as we pretty much all did from the option videos.  Started
learning on the street in a s13 (shame shame) to now only ever drifting
on the track. I love the technique of driving as a whole and appreciate
more the skill of others who are better.

Its been amazing to
see the amature and pro scene grow into what it is today.  Dissapointing
to see the Australian pro scene dissapate into almost nothing but I
believe the amature scene has never been stronger at least of what I
experience in QLD.
I have just come back from a V8 supercar round
held yesterday at the Gold Coast and was lucky enough to have met and
chatted for a good time with Mad Mike.  It was awesome to see his car
build in detail and talk to a pro driver without an ego.  I found he
understands what is needed to have a global profile while having alot of
time for his fans.
I only really want to see the drifting scene mature, turning away from a hooligan standpoint to a skill based motorsport.



: )


ILoveDrifting19 No Drift No Life.


I get pretty bad depression but when im driving im ecstatic. Drifting and any racing really gives me a reason to keep on trucking. It gives me something to work for and goals to aim for.


Simply P Larry Chen robzor 
Canadian DMCC used to do that for years.. in the same events they had a top 16 pro-am and top 16 pro... You used to watch two, real tight, hard fighted competition in the same event.
This year they runned a top 32 (or at least try, when their weren't enough entries the top qualifier had free passes to the next round), and the firsts runs we're simply put, not a good show... two guys (ladies) and cars of complete different levels against each others... kind of the killed the events and the show...
Even if their was a slightly big difference in the quality of of the show the two top 16, the crowds was on the edges of their seat the whole day, because they loved has much to see the high levels runs has the ''dogfights'' they saw all day.
my 2 cents... I miss the separated top 16


Personally, I have never been into drifting. I mean, I get why it's popular and understand the skill required of the drivers and the engineering involved in the cars, but having been to a handful of events here in NZ it just doesn't get me excited. I don't get the people who elevate it to some "it's the only thing worth breathing for" status.
I've grown through my Teens in the 90's, twenties in the 00's (and now dangerously close to mid thirties, ugh!) along with the import scene here in NZ as it got big. I've seen the show and drag scenes get big and then take huge back seats to drifting which has dominated the past 7-10 years. Time Attack had a short, breathless, asthmatic puff at it here, but once big business got involved, and the gravity Mad Mike has brought it in this country, drifting got massive. The rise of the cheap drift hack and a plethora of easily converted RWD Nissans available helped this of course.
I prefer Rally and Hillclimb events, which is where I'll be found more often than drift events.


The original goal of Formula Drift, and other professional racing organization in drifting, was to augment the popularity of the sub culture of drifting. In the past ten years "main stream" drifting has become a stepping stone for companies to market their products to the masses. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this practice confuses people who are not aware of where drifting comes from, and what drifting was all about. Drift life in reality is far from what we see at sponsored and sanctioned events. Sure its fun to meet all the people and meet the models, but drifting is about expression, friendship, and anarchy, bottling it up with regulations and "judges" is ridiculous. Drifting is the "art of motion" involving man and machine. The only undisciplined discipline in the world that allows a man and machine to create their own expression of how to tackle the challenge of the open road, the people flaying the touge with you are the closest friends in your life. No one should tell you "your line is too shallow" or "your car is not up to par", it crushes the free spirit of drifting. Just like any wild animal, once caged and sedated, it looses its' beauty and wonder. Everything is better in its' element, in my opinion drifting does not belong on the track, but on the street and mountains across the world, where it can show its' true colors. Fortunately true drifting can not be marketed, which means the true die hard drifters can still be found across the world shredding tires in canyons, living a life of true expression.


Im with you, I drift for fun not for competition.


It's like skating/BMX and say, for example, the X-Games. It started similarly enough didn't it? Some guys and girls having fun in their own outside-the-box way and developing it over time until it inevitably received pretty wide spread publicity and popularity. We can't forget that that's what a lot of people in the drift game wanted... Obviously the competitive side of it has helped on some levels and pushed what we thought possible to new heights, but there will always be die-hards who are in it PURELY for fun and to whom it is NOT a sport... You kind of have to take it with a pinch of salt, keep an open mind and just enjoy it don't you. Only take it as seriously as you want to and you can't go wrong  :)


drifting in north american is pretty much the next step for skater kid and hipster when they go their license....


Simply P 
Team Tekno
Kids Heart


@JacobPhoto you hit the bulls eye with this comment, you brought up some great points.  I've posted about it before during the season; it's so frustrating to watch the lack of real professionalism in FD's production.  I'm a casual, intermediate level driver that slides with Club Loose in NJ whenever I can, it's great that I can hang, watch, and sometimes be out on the track with the likes of Forsberg, JR, Angelo, Ryan Tuerck and Eric O Sullivan, there's a TON of younger, grassroots talent as well. we are pretty damn lucky to have Club Loose and the track at Englishtown, NJ. It's sad that when I try to watch the "pinnacle of the sport", it's nothing but eye-rolls, and "wtf is going on?!?!" moments when i try to watch the Livestream. It's pretty clear that it's a "friends and family" production crew.


it's nice that it's a sport now and all that, but hey, when I drift I drift purely for fun. These guys are taking it next level with the competition. I can't think of a way other than to use judge for descisions... It's a subjective sports to begin with. It's not as simple as who cross the line first.


Simply P LOL.... @ilia lists the real deal and you reply with a bunch of knock-offs...


Dalton Bedore Simply P If you knew who ilia was you'd know why


I love both sides of the drifting scene. To me there is nothing better then going out with my friends and having fun on the streets. The city i'm in closed are track. I know street drifting is dumb because i don't want to hurt or kill someone but we have no place to do it. At the end of the day we go out to have fun and kill tires. I have meet some of my best friends because of cars and i look forward to meeting more people because of our shared passion.


wheatgod I think your perspective is a bit close minded. If all you care about is which car is the fastest then you are missing out on a great part of car culture and motorsport.  I do care about cars performance and going to the track and driving at the limit, and for me it is about the experience and the way it feels.  Outright performance and speed certainly help, but it is only a small part of it.  For me, drifting is about having fun, enjoying the car that you spent countless hours and hard earned money working on to get it to where it is.  Everyone does this in a different way, but to say that drifting is a waste of a car is a bit silly.


to me..drifting is motorart not a motorsport


Drifting is the sport where i met some of the nicest guy around, and some of my best friends too.Competition is not my faire share of fun but I go to support the lads whenever it's possible. Drifting is a fun sport, where you push your limits. I totaly agree with you, you can see and feel when a driver is enjoying himself, and that's the advise i give everytime to my friends in championship before they go out on track.." enjoy yourself and have fun". This is all it is about no ?


Competitive drifting seems to be all about generating big smoke with huge power and hydraulic hand brake. I miss the days when there where NA AE86's competing with talent.


@blitz I have to agree with this. Most seem to get a flat bill, buy a beat up Nissan, trash it even further than it already is, and generally act like fools. I personally think it is cool to see in photos but do not think that I would participate. I would rather see how fast a car can lap with others than slide around. Drifting is door to door and so is a good race.


Grassroots and casual days are where it is at Paddy! Like you said your good self, the days without pressure, inconsistent decisions, even some of the people still running the my style vs your style type on conversation! But also like you and the other readers here It's opened the doors to multiple other areas.
I've met so many cool people, I've traveled to Japan, been to Nikko, shops like Bee*R, Vertex, Rauh Welt, Powerhouse Amuse, and sooo many more because of the fact I watched one particular video ' 'The perfect drift' Yes the one with Masato Kawabata.
I was aware of drifting before, but this video struck a chord with me, and since then I've opened up my own site, done the travel, and I'm now also working with HKS, all from that video. 
Keep it real fellow speedhunters.
Les from Roughsmoke.


@JacobPhoto First let me thank you for having the courage to state all of this so openly, especially considering your proximity to FD. Many people wouldn't simply due to fear of reprocussion.
That being said you are speaking the truth. A large part of what is hurting drifting is the inconsistency of judging and of the rules. The fact that the announces can't even explain, let alone agree, with what the judges are scoring speaks a ton. There are too many cases right now where FD looks the other way for this rule in this instance but on another situation follows it to the T.
That is not to even mention how last season it was all based on proximity and using the lead driver as a clip point, allowing to go over the line if the lead car was the cause and this season they are deducting for that, they need consistency.
I think the one 5min Comp TO was a big step in helping w/ the time but if I remember correctly it was suppose to be done in the Hot Zone, and by the end of the season they were going back to the pits which is nearly defeating the point, especially at some locals such as Atlanta.
FD's other flaw is it's choice in tracks/locations. For a sport that is 10 years old, pulling thousands of attendees each event, charging each driver per event, tire sponsors 100k+ per year for there tires to even be used, and add in the title sponsors like GoPro, Air Force they need to spend a little of that on location. They are taking tracks that are cheap but way out of main locations which hurts the desire of sponsors to come on board because they don't get the return in marketing. California and Georgia are the only two events that have good locations for the track.
FD also needs to work on it's live stream and ability to provide a flawless feed along w/ accurate scores, speeds, and ranks. Not to mention that a few of the driver statistics they pull from driftstats.com are incorrect.
Bottom line is FD needs to take a step back, look at taking care of the fans, drivers, and potential sponsors instead of just trying to put on a big show.


I was thinking of this last night. I am so over watching formula d and other big time competitive events. The best drifting is guys out on the mountains, or low competition fun events. Its being taken way too seriously now. I like the guys in fd, but the sport it's creating is not something I want to be a part of.


lachapsnl8 wheatgod I can see the point wheatgod is making. The best drift car is not the best race car and the best race car is not a good drift car. You could be one of the guys in the middle who doesn't want to be the best at either and is just happy driving around. Nothing wrong with that.


My friend has put together a "grass-root" style competition down here in South Florida earlier this year called US Drift Circuit, and it has opened my eyes to what drifting is really about.  And  to me, it is all about expressing yourself, lifestyle, or personal style, and just having the most fun you possibly can while doing so.  Meeting new friends and seeing new set-ups is also a big plus.  It is all part of growing not only as a driver but as an individual and being comfortable doing whatever it is that you do and never loosing the love you have for it.


I only compete when it's fun, drifting is expensive enough. Nothing worse than shelling out a ton of cash to compete and have a failure or bad qualifying run and go home at 12. 
Competitive drifting even on a pro am level is getting to the point where an 2007 FD car wouldn't  stand a chance. When your passion and stress reliever become stressful, what's the point?
I will always love drifting, I like watching my friends compete. If money wasn't an issue I would compete. 
I would love to see a D1SL, class become something in the US. Simple cars with more of a street feel, more technical tracks, less ovals. 
These are all just my opinions, I'm sure to the rest of competitive motorsports, drifting is relatively cheap.  
I wish there was some way to take the subjective judging out of drifting, but no computer has the ability to judge style, or "wow factor" 
In D1 they have started installing GPS systems on the cars to help get proximity stats and what not to help judging, I do like that idea.


Larry Chen Simply P robzor  Grassroots drivers are the only reason suffer through choppy playback and constant buffering on the livestream.
 The last thing I want to watch is Drift Alliance battle each other again and again (no offence guys)


Coming back to the issue of every run being judged by an individual, from my point of view a good way to decide the 'winner' of a run would be find a way of calculating the average angle that car has archived through the run. when it comes to tandem runs you could possibly have some sort of proximity sensor to define how close the opponents get. Although this takes a LOT of the fun out of the sport! Like other people have said....drifting for me is purely for fun, compotiton kills the fun for me!


Drifting, for me, has always been about reaching the next level of car control.  It was always about becoming a better driver, improving my abilities behind the wheel, and growing as a person. This concept is not new, and it's certainly not the only one. everybody uses drifting for their own ends, and thus a lot of different people have different interests, desires and ideas about what drifting "is".
Where should drifting go? Well, grassroots/ non-competitive events should keep doing what they're doing. Free-form, open, and focused on fun track time with friends. Competitions should probably start trying to move towards an augmented judging system: that is, the traditional subjective judging by experienced, respected drivers with corner judges to see what they can't from the judges stand, along with more impartial info in the form of datalogging/ telemetry.
 For qualifying, data will reign supreme, with line angle and speed all left without doubt - the subjective part of qualifying judging comes from the judges making calls based on things like car type/ power output, and sharpness/ speed of transitions and initiation.
 In tandem battles, data takes a back seat to whatever criteria the judges deem important. In D1 style judging, proximity/ passing/ blocking the lead car's line are all deemed important, so the judges will be judging with that in mind. In FD, it is considered more important to exactly replicate the lead car's run while trying to maintain as much proximity as possible, so judges will be looking at those things. Data is less important, but still useful here, and we've seen more and more impartial data being used in recent years in FD - the introduction of the radar gun for entries, the on-car brake lights in the windshield,  and the light-up clipping points - while the judge's decision remains the final word.
I think the judges and announcers in FD need to do better with describing what they're looking for in tandem battles and justifying their decisions by using replays and specific incidents. The recent introduction of the protest system is a step in the right direction, but I don't know enough about it to say whether or not there is a review/ replay system like in the NFL. 
as much as the fanboys hate this stuff, it's important if FD is going to get away from the stigma of biased judging accusations. Data and replays allow the judges to show the drivers, teams, and fans WHY they made their decision, leaving no doubt in the minds of anyone involved exactly what happened to differentiate the winner from the loser. As FD competition becomes closer and closer (I'm pretty sure this season saw a record number of OMT's, at least since the 2 OMTS per competition pair rule came into effect) This stuff will become crucial to retain the big money sponsors and teams that FD needs to survive and grow, while still attracting privateers.
TL:DR - Drifting am fun and do need sum thing for to be am better!!`11


Larry Chen I think we would  like to see him cover some MSC (is that even around anymore?), D1SL, or whatever other drift series are going on in Japan. If D1 is stagnant, find what isn't! :) Is there any reason for not doing this?


rozzerH94 I like your idea... Maybe 50% of the decision is via technology, and 50% the traditional way... The scale of these decision could be 60/40 or vice versa...


Id love to see a sub xxx HP/TQ class in FD, i don't know the perfect HP/TQ to limit it at but id guess somewhere between 300 and 400. I think it would really help the sport, and make it more about the driving and not the monster HP figures. and besides you can still get good smoke and lots  of speed out of 400 HP.


wheatgod Try and look up Team Orange or Team Burst drift on you tube. Its really amazing how technical theses guys are how much control they have going literally door to door. 
Also youtube "The Perfect Drift" and trying going out to an event and riding shotgun in a car for a run.


I enjoy drifting from a grassroots perpective. Late late cruises solo / with the lady or with friends on country roads that are practically deserted during the day. Enjoying your track preped street car and testing it for what its worth, pushing it to its breaking point and being fully in control. Learning your car and taking the time to notice the recent upgrades you've installed. Track time is always a bonus but I'll never forget my first drift on the street. Competition drifting is a totally different ball game that i believe took that "feel" out of drifting. I've only owned s-chassis cars, i didnt get one because of drifting as many do.. I remember growing up in the back seat of my dads 280z, then s13 fastback and his friends s14 zenki. I can recall geting my first ride to highschool in my brother s13 coupe and then learning to drive in his s13 hatch. These cars have been in my life from the moment I opened my eyes to them. These cars hit that certain spot in my heart that always puts me in childhood whenever I get into one of mine.

Neighborhood Enthusiast

The conversation between the guys that are actually involved a couple of weeks ago was is by far the most compelling content I have ever seen on this site. Honestly, the articles on here read like vacation photo slideshows transcribed and formatted for a ~hip zine~. The comments section on this _writing prompt_ was really refreshing.
Anyway, you guys should go get people that have been around for a long time to write about the state of their scene. I for sure would scroll over some ads and look at car porn featuring your sponsers' products for that.


Larry Chen Aaaaaand that's where there is room for another series here in the USA. One with horsepower limits so that the sport is more accessible. It's not like we live in Japan where there is a scrap yard around the corner with SR's and 1JZ's up to it's eyebrows. And just in case you've never looked into an LSX swap cost let me be the first to tell you it is no where near cheap... Parts may be available, but those too are expensive being a Corvette engine.


@Seriously HachiRocker NicholasMaher By your definition many other disciplines are not "sports". The whole gymnastics umbrella is pretty much wiped out according to your definition and personally i think your definition is incorrect.


@Antero Haha yes!!! Limit the cars to 300 horse and take the hand brake out. NOW WE DRIFTING!!!