|*.drift101 - c/o D1GP.com
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|Author:||andysapp [ Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:34 pm ]|
|Post subject:||*.drift101 - c/o D1GP.com|
What is drifting?
Drifting is a high-skill level motorsport in which drivers control a car while it slides from side to side at high speed through a marked course. It is similar to rally racing, but is done on a closed, paved course and judged on execution and style rather than just who finishes the fastest. Drift cars are typically smaller, lightweight, and rear-wheel-drive. The goal is to apply enough power to the rear wheels to break the tires' traction and initiate a slide, or "drift." Once a drift is initiated, it must be maintained through the turn using a precise balance of power, braking and steering.
To the uninitiated it's a wild display of controlled chaos. But when professionally executed, a drifting vehicle is a thing of beauty and grace not unlike figure skating (albeit much faster and louder).
How is drifting judged?
Because professional drifting events are judged on execution and style, it is mandatory that the judges are intimately familiar with the capabilities of the cars and the advanced driving techniques employed by the competitors. D1 Grand Prix judges are usually former professional drifters.
These expert D1 judges evaluate speed, angle of attack and vehicle control. All drivers make solo runs before "Best 16" head-up eliminations start. The competitors who make it to the Best 16 run door handle-to-door handle, going against one other car on the circuit at the same time. As fun as the solo runs are, these drift showdowns really ignite the crowd and brings the crowds to their feet.
Factors like slowing to the point of hindering the other driver, running into another car or spinning out mean an automatic loss of the run. To advance to the next round, drivers use tactics such as putting pressure on an opponent through a more aggressive drift angle, carrying a higher speed through a corner, and showing good strategy. Judges are thoroughly familiar with the capabilities of each competitor's car and if the driver is not pushing the car to the limit, they will be eliminated from the round.
History of Drifting
The Japanese towns of Rokkosan, Hakone, Irohazaka, and various hill climbs in Nagano are all steeped in legends of the origins of drifting. No one can really pinpoint drifting's actual birthplace but the movement started in the mid 1960s. Like many forms of professional racing today, the modern interpretation of drifting evolved from a form of illegal street racing held on windy mountain roads called touge (pronounced toe-geh). Touge was practiced by extremely dedicated enthusiasts known as rolling zoku (pronounced zoe-koo) whose only goal was to trim precious milliseconds off their time between two points.
Eventually, some of these rolling zoku began to adopt driving techniques used by rally drivers, techniques to clear a corner quickly without sacrificing too much momentum. As touge drivers started to emulate the rally racers' techniques, they discovered that not only did their driving performance and times improve, the rush was much more intense. From touge, drifting was born.
The Drifting Movement Evolves
About the same time touge evolved into drifting, some of the rolling zoku came off the mountains to bring their new sport to the urban jungles of Japan. The urban drifters added their own flavor to the sport with their flamboyant driving style and outrageous vehicles. Eventually word of the spectacle spread and fans began showing up to witness drifting's amazing drivers and machines. But as popular as drifting had become, it was relegated to underground status by the risks and image associated with illegal street contests.
Eventually, the popularity of drifting propelled the sport into the mainstream and competitors started to organize and take their home-grown trials to the track. The gatherings were originally just for fun until the cars and driving skills became so refined that things started to get competitive. From the initial organized trials, regional drift competitions known as ikaten (pronounced ee-kah-ten) were spawned and began popping up all over Japan.
The most famous of the ikaten was the Drivers Search, which was essentially a touring drift contest open to the public and professionally judged. The Drivers Search events let local drivers of all backgrounds show off their skills and compete with each other. For awhile, Drivers Search events satisfied the thirst of drifting fans and drivers but as skills and techniques improved, and manufacturers started producing drifting-specific components, it was clearly time to raise the bar.
It was the vision of a car enthusiast and magazine publisher that brought drifting to mainstream motorsports in Japan.
Daijiro Inada (pronounced dye-jee-ro ee-na-da), founder of Option Magazine and the Tokyo Auto Salon, knew drifting and the Drivers Search events represented only a fraction of the potential of drifting to the global motorsport subculture. Daijiro felt a strong need to bring drifting to a professional level.
In 2001, with the help of longtime friend Keiichi Tsuchiya (pronounced kay-ee-chee soo-chee-ya), a professional JGTC (Japan Grand Touring Car Championship-the largest race series in Japan in terms of participants) driver and the person considered to be the father of modern competitive drifting, Daijiro created the D1 Grand Prix. Today, the D1 Grand Prix is so popular in Japan that D1 drivers are celebrities.
True to Mr. Inada's vision, the D1 Grand Prix represents the highest level of competition in the sport and provides the best-of-the-best to fans throughout Japan. Now he brings that passion and innovation to North America. The D1 Grand Prix series has also served as a launch pad for a number of professional drifters, who have graduated to top-level racing series such as the JGTC.
Through D1 Drivers Search events, the D1 Grand Prix series and D1 Grand Prix in the United States, and with events planned for Europe and Korea in 2004, drifting is poised to take the world by storm.
Since its humble beginnings only a short time ago, the D1 Grand Prix events have grown from relatively small contests with 50 or so teams and 3,000 to 4,000 spectators to today's shows that typically host over 100 teams and, by the end of the 2003 season, were attracting upward of 20,000 spectators.
Prior to 2001, relatively few tuners specialized in drifting set-ups. With the incredible success of the D1 drifting series in Japan, the number of drifting-specific shops jumped to over 200, revitalizing the tuning industry in Japan.
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