The Sound and Fury of System Drift

Quick automobiles, smoking tires and ear-shattering noise. These are the nuts and bolts of Formula Drift.

Not like most motorsports, System Drift isn’t an precise race. Drivers tango in tandem, competing with their dance companions to float longer and deeper into corners—and are then judged on the ability they exhibit.

That’s to not say drift automobiles are gradual. In any case, what would a motorsport be with out velocity? The spectacle relies on a certain quantity of velocity with the intention to produce the billowing plumes that pour from the wheel wells.

This yr’s Professional sequence was contested over 9 occasions across the nation and streamed reside for viewers at residence. Akin to aggressive browsing, skateboarding or snowboarding, it’s a visually inspiring format that mates completely with social media—System Drift’s official accounts have thousands and thousands of followers. And whereas the sequence (launched in 2003) predates each Fb and Instagram, System Drift has recently develop into one of many hottest motorsports on the earth. Its attraction is simple to grasp.

“It’s the artwork of attempting to manage a automotive that’s uncontrolled—and I feel there’s one thing in the end very attractive and thrilling about that,” says Norwegian driver Fredric Aasbø, who leads the factors for the System Drift championship going into the ultimate occasion.

Attend any occasion and it’s shortly obvious why drifting is so enthralling. The quantity from the 1,000-horsepower motors is bone-shaking and the entire expertise is visceral.


“You’re not watching it from distant. These items are in your face,” says Nick Gregson of Compton-based Antigravity Batteries. “You’re smelling all that burnt rubber and race gasoline. It simply will get your adrenaline going.”

The followers will not be solely handled to the spectacle of the duels, however may also stand up shut and private with the gladiators and their chariots. Any attendee can stroll proper although the pits, and most Drift drivers are surprisingly accessible—keen to offer autographs or snap a photograph. Pit crews are additionally pleased to talk about their work and can sometimes even invite a fan to take a seat behind the wheel of one of many racers.


Not like different sequence, numerous Drift aficionados are critical lovers with their very own whips they take to the observe. It’s a scene embraced by the tuner neighborhood, the place you’re prone to go followers in “Tuna, No Crust” T-shirts (a reference to The Fast and the Furious) and backpacks with straps made out of racing harnesses. Together with typical merchandise like T-shirts and stickers, distributors additionally supply engine elements and mod kits.

“We’re actually into drifting,” says Nick Martinez, who just lately blew up his BMW 4 Collection F32 on the freeway. Martinez was attending a qualifying session for the Autozone Streets of Lengthy Seaside together with his good friend and aspiring drift racer Jehad Asad, who rips laps in a 1992 Nissan 240SX. “I’m not attempting to get us in hassle, however we actually do prefer it—on and off skilled tracks,” Martinez mentioned. The pair, as do many others, involves the observe to really feel the vitality and thrill of the scene. “You by no means know what’s going to occur. It takes a variety of ability and a spotlight to do what you gotta do right here. That’s what I respect essentially the most about it—it simply takes some balls to do what they’re doing.”

The motion attracts extra informal observers too. “I get the purpose of doing laps in conventional racing. It’s all for velocity,” says Buffalo (only one identify) from Orange County. “However for somebody like me who is aware of dick about automobiles, that is far more attention-grabbing to look at.”

It’s straightforward to see why that’s true for each aspiring drifters and plain outdated racing followers drawn to one thing utterly completely different. “We’d all like to be badasses behind the steering wheel,” says Aasbø. “Ask anybody.”

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