Drifting is a driving technique that started in the hills of Japan back in the 1970’s. Street racers would go up and down canyon roads intentionally oversteering the car so it would result in a controlled power slide around corners. Now it’s a fairly well know fact that drifting isn’t the fastest way through a corner, but it’s by far the most spectacular. There’s something about high horsepower engines screaming and bouncing off the rev-limiter mixed with the screech of tires being reduced to a cloud of smoke that is equal parts exhilarating and entertaining.
It only takes one time seeing a talented driver pull off a drift to see why it caught on so quickly and has spread through the world of motorsport like wildfire. What was once an underground form of racing that took place in the shadows has now made its way into the spotlight. And now it’s joining one of the most well known and respected racing organizations in the world. I’m talking about the FIA (or Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), which is the same governing body responsible for Global Rally, Rallycross, Superbike, and most importantly Formula One.
That’s right, the FIA has just announced they will be starting the first ever Intercontinental Drift Cup. This is fantastic news for enthusiasts of the sport because it’ll bring the most talented drivers and best-performing drift cars to the best tracks in the world to compete for the ultimate title of drift king.
It’s quite shocking to some people that drifting is now part of the FIA, but it was only a matter of time with the rapid popularity growth the motorsport has experienced. Granted, when you compare it to Formula One, it may still be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. But yet the fact that drifting is even remotely comparable to Formula One in regards to popularity speaks very highly of the unusual form of racing. Especially when you consider that F1 has been around since at least the early 50’s as far as what it is now. Whereas drifting has only been around since at the earliest the late 70’s. And at that time it was just a group of Japanese enthusiasts not a fully sanctioned race series.
So what does that mean? In 5-10 years could we talking about drift racing in the same breath as F1? I have to say I think it’s possible. It may not be likely, but definitely possible. So be on the lookout for the first FIA Drift Cup event later on this year.