Posts Tagged ‘Drift’

A Worthy Cause

March 16, 2011

A Worthy Cause

Today I had the chance to watch Prodrive instructor Simon Clark improve the world a little bit, all by the power of drifting. Si’s idea was to do a sponsored drift for Red Nose Day. We had some spare track time at work, so arranged for Si to use the skid circle. When wetted the surface replicates sheet ice, so is perfect for getting your drift on.

S14 - The Fundraiser's weapon of choice

Si arrived with a red Nissan 200SX drift car which was borrowed from a mate, featuring dented panels, no interior and welded diff’, naturally. Si set off for some practice while we sorted the camera gear, the Cossie style dump valve was a treat on an overcast Wednesday morning, I can tell you.

At roughly 9.30am, Si started his stopwatch and his attempt, but an attempt at what? Well it turns out that there’s a World Record for the longest continuous drift which currently stands at 2 hours 11 minutes, obviously this was the target to aim for. With no Guinness officials in attendance, no records could be broken today, but it would be a great dry run for a possible attempt later in the year. Si got in to a good rhythm so we left him to it, it was far too cold to be stood in the middle of a windswept test track on such a grey day anyway.

A long morning of drifting lay ahead...

We returned later to find him still booting it sideways, with plenty of lock on, a great effort, given that he was still drifting two and a half hours since he began.

Si well in to the swing of things, until we distracted him

I don’t know if us turning up to cheer him on put him off though, as soon after we arrived, he spun it – ending the single continuous drift and the record attempt. 2 hours 29 minutes 52 seconds was the final time, (unofficially beating the record by over 18 minutes). After some cursing at us (sorry Si) he checked the clock and looked dead chuffed, he’d done what he set out to do. Slightly sore and needing the loo, he followed us back to the office. The final mileage covered was 43 miles, all sideways, all in a single drift, and all on only a quarter of a tank. If we hadn’t put him off, who knows how long he could have gone on for with 3/4 of a tank left??

Nervously checking the stopwatch, a new unofficial record and his fund raising done for the day

If you think this feat is worthy of a few quid, please donate here . It’s for a great cause and Si  did a brilliant job behind the wheel today.



British Drift Championship (pro) Rd.2

May 24, 2010

British Drift Championship (pro) Rd.2

Silverstone hosted round 2 of the British Drift Championship on Sunday 23rd May. The drifting was running as part of the Japanese Tuning Show (more on that later). I was especially enthusiastic to see the drifting due to the track changes at the circuit. The drifting took place on the Brooklands/Luffield/Woodcote complex. Brooklands has been opened up during the recent circuit developments, creating a faster, wider corner. Before the event, the BDC organisers were predicting entry speeds of 100 mph, a pretty serious prospect when at this point, and speed one of the techniques to initiate a drift is to simply yank the handbrake. Oh yes, I HAD to see this.

The pro field offered a great mix of machinery. From Mk2 Ford Escorts and classic Toyota Starlets via a host of Nissan Silvias and a Toyta Supra, reported to be running 700 bhp. There was a clear gap between the tops guys and ‘the rest’, but that can be said of most motorsports. Throughout the day, the qualifying sessions whittled down the 40 or so drivers down to the top 16.

The top 16 battles (pairs of cars drifting together to nick points off each other) were thrilling to behold. The judges award a split of the points based on the drivers sticking to the lines and clipping points as instructed, but also on speed, angle, noise and of course, smoke. Every so often, one of the competitors would hit the perfect drift, a full 90 degrees to the corner, on full lock, but also on full power. Amazing precision and aggression. In one of his qualifying runs, Phil Morrison from Driftworks put the car so side ways at Brooklands that he entered the corner facing backwards, but he kept his foot in and achieved an incredible score. Vid here:

The battles between the differing cars was fascinating too. Declan Munnelly in the green Mk 2 got some impressive scalps, despite having ‘only’ about 250 bhp. When he came up against Shane Lynch, yes, him out of Boyzone’s Twin Turbo V8 powered Nissan however, his plucky run came to an end. Declan is always a crowd pleaser and was managing some insane angles all day, he eventually shared 3 place with Phil Morrison.

The end result was a 1-2 for Team Japspeed, both in S15 Silvias. The winner was Danny Eyles with the runner up, Shane Lynch a close 2nd. It was an afternoon of incredible action, I can’t recommend drifting highly enough. No it’s not for everyone, but it might be for you.

It’s a shame that the event was marred by a few other factors though. Crowd attendance was appalling, probably down to Japfest being held at Castle Combe only a week before and the fact that the tickets weren’t exactly cheap at £20 on the gate. The actual JTS show was very small, which after being billed as having ‘1000s of cars’ on show was particularly disappointing. There wouldn’t have been 1000s of cars if you’d included those in Silverstone village as well. While the car displays were small, there was a few gems hidden amongst them, but if it hadn’t been for the drifting, there wouldn’t really have been much reason to bother.

The other, main problem was the scheduling. The drifting finals were timetabled for between 4-6pm, so a 2 hr slot. They started pretty much on time but soon delays started to creep in with mechanical issues etc. The BDC have a ‘five minute rule’ whereby if a car isn’t at its start point within 5 minutes of its allotted time then it’s disqualified, a rule which works well.

However, it didn’t work well enough as before the 3rd place run off and the final battle could be run, 6pm struck and all track activity had to stop. They sent through Danny and Shane on one run to decide the final result (they’d normally do 2 runs, taking it in turns to lead). Declan and Phil had to share 3rd place as they didn’t even get a run. This was a disappointing end to the day, and one which needn’t have happened. I can’t understand the logic of running the feature event at the end of the timetable, meaning that any delays are likely to impact the main reason for the spectators attending. It’s lead to a bit of ill feeling amongst the fans, which is fair enough. That said, noise limits and curfews are there for a reason and must be adhered to . I’ve heard stories that in the past the circuit once broke the 6pm curfew by only 6 mins but was fined £45,000 for it. Why oh why wasn’t the drifting run an hour earlier, with one of the public track sessions run at the end of the day instead? Shame.

I don’t want to end on a sour note, so I wont. It was a brilliant day and the BDC goes all over the country, other, smaller venues are cheaper than at places like Silverstone, so if you want to experiment then maybe try elsewhere first.

That said, seeing a car entering Brooklands backwards at 90+ mph whilst in total control sure takes some beating.

Modified Live

April 26, 2010

Another weekend, another event. This weekend was Modified Live at Oulton Park, no wait, come back, don’t let the ‘modified’ bit put you off.

My brother's Touge style MX5, our chariot for the trip. Appropriate I thought.

When you go to a car modification/tuning show for the first time you run the gauntlet from really great to really shit, and it’s not always easy to predict which way it’ll go beforehand. Fortunately, Modified Live is more about tuning than styling, which makes it a Good Show. Personal taste blah, blah, blah but I can’t stand lurid, scissor-doored, 5 door Puntos with more power in their bass amp than the engine. Piss off back to McDonald’s car park you tit and stop drowning out wonderfully tuned V-Tec units with that shite spewing from your subwoofer.

Awe inspiring R34 Skyline, check out those rear wheels.

It wasn’t the biggest show in the world, but thankfully the Ripspeed crew only accounted for, at most 10% of the metal on display. There was a strong presence from Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Honda and Subaru as well as a host of others dotted around. The overall standard was very high, with a few personal highlights that will stick in my mind. (This is going to get pretty photo heavy)

Re Amemiya RX7

This Wangan Warrior flew past us on the M6, potent.

There was loads of Scoobies around, but only one RB320

New bumpers are for suckers.

I love a good Saff'

Ironically, I wasn’t really there for the static displays, the main attractions for me were the European Drift Championship (EDC) and the 1st round of the UK Time Attack (UK:TA) series. I first noticed UK:TA about a year ago and it really captured my imagination. It’s a very simple sport, fastest time around a circuit in the final session wins. Like drifting it originated in Japan and is growing rapidly over here. It was the cars (there’s a shock) that piqued my interest. It’s like Forza Motorsport come to life, great variety of cars, silly wings, enormous horsepower figures, oh and road legal tyres. What’s not to like?

Now, is that wing really big enough?

We spectated at the Knickerbrook corner, a medium speed right hander after a chicane, that opens on the exit, encouraging the drivers to get on the power early. The top 4wd guys were generating some slip under power out of here but it looked very controllable, sign of a good setup. The top class was dominated by Skylines, RX7s, Imprezas and Evos. Turns out running it at about 700bhp, it finally makes an Evo entertaining to watch, who knew?!

Ear splitting rotary soundtrack

Old school performance that still cuts it.

The eventual winner was Gareth Lloyd in his black & orange Evo with a lap time of 1:25.493secs in the final. That’s an average speed of 93.73mph, seriously, seriously quick.

First blood to Gareth Lloyd

All in all it was a good event. The Time Attack series has a big entry this year so should provide some great action as it tours the country (I bet Knockhill will be ridiculous). Well worth the trip to Cheshire and watching at Outlon Park is always really good fun. I am now lusting after a well sorted R32 Skyline though…