Opinion

Drifting as a sport in INDIA ?? Really?

Before we start, lets recollect the conversation between Sean and Twinkie (Tokyo Drift) when Twinkie accompanies Sean to the floor where Sean is supposed to race Takashi . Here is how it goes-

Sean: Can he drive?
Twinkie: Can he drive? You know what DK stands for?
Sean: Donkey Kong?
Twinkie: Drift King.
Sean: Drift? What do you mean drift?
[Cars drift in front of Sean]
Twinkie: Still need a dictionary?

Remember Sean’s reaction after watching the 2 cars moving sideways?? Well that was the reaction which even we had on our face after looking at those cars. Until Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift, all that happened in the F&F movies was racing fast cars, robberies, cop evasion, turf wars. With Tokyo Drift things changed(however next F&F movie again had the former ingredients). This movie was not about fast cars, it wasn’t about any 9 sec car now, no cops, no car showoff.

It introduced us to the world of Drifting. Now many people believe that Tokyo Drift led to the origin of Drifting. Well, the fact is that the exact origin is not known but it said to have Japanese roots; the same place where the movie was based. Drifting is an art which was the result of creativity of Mr Kunimitsu Takahashi. (Bow down to you Sir) The first time he drifted was on a motorcycle and he undoubtedly is called the Father of Drifting. He was known for using his drifting skills in non-drifting racing events. Further development in Drifting were led by Mr Keiichi Tsuchiya (Drift King)(Much respect to you Sir).

Mr Keiichi Tsuchiya A.K.A Drift King
Mr Keiichi Tsuchiya A.K.A Drift King

He became interested in Kunimitsu Takahashi’s drifting techniques and himself started practising it and in no time he had mastered them . He used to drift on the Japanese mountains and soon became famous for it . Well there is a lot more to drifting and its roots and its development till the present date. However our interest lies in the actual art itself rather than its history right ? :P. So lets get started.

Drifting

Drifting is a technique or more precisely – An Art of driving your car sideways while taking down corners .Suppose you are on curvy road in the mountains or on a road where you don’t expect much traffic or say its empty all the time. And you see a corner coming your way. You have 2 choices then . Either you could slow down on the corner, shift a gear down (if required ) and then drive at an optimum speed where your rear tires won’t start sliding sideways or rather you can just DRIFT! If you decide to go with the 2nd choice, you would pull the handbrakes or E-Brake(well not in India atleast :P), shift down the gear and then go optimum on the gas to keep your car’s rear running shoes spinning and at the same time counter steer the sliding so as to take down the corner in a badass way ;). Sounds amazing right??

Over the years drifting has gained much popularity just like other forms of Motorsports racing. Various competitions and events have been taking place to promote the sport. General types of racing events decide the winner based on the fastest time or the finishing position in the race. Ever wondered how winners are decided in a drifting event. There are many factors that are considered while deciding the winner. These include – the line, angle of drifting, showmanship and speed.

Line- It is the race line on the track which the drivers are supposed to follow to score more points. These are decided by the judges before the race.

Angle- Angle is the angle which the car makes with the track while drifting. Basically it’s the angle to which the front wheels are turned while drifting which ultimately decides the turning angle of the car.

Showmanship – It consists of many other factors such as – the amount of smoke, the distance between the car and the wall(if present on the corners) and the crowds reaction.

Speed- It is the speed at which the car enters the corner and speed at which drifts and most importantly the speed at which it exits the corner. Faster speeds get more points.

Instead of circuit racing events which take place on the entire racing track, drifting events take place on considerably smaller circuits. Generally they tweak these circuits to smaller ones or race on other smaller circuits. Racers enter the track turn by turn and take laps. Scoring is done on some parts of the track on. Generally these are the turns that have clear view from the judges and audience. Other parts of the track are not scored. Those parts are generally for the drivers to get their cars to to the optimum temperature and also to warm up their tyres for increased traction. Cars that can drift are generally RWD (Rear Wheel Drive) and some times AWD (All Wheel Drive) changed to RWD. The top favourites include –Nissan Silvia, Toyota Levin, Nissan Skyline, Toyota Supra (2JZ) and god mode drifter Toyota AE86 also known as “Hachi Roku” and used by Drift King. 😉

Drift King's ride - AE86 AKA Hachi Roku in action
Drift King’s ride – AE86 AKA Hachi Roku in action

If you noticed (in case you did not; google it :P) among’st the above cars there are no FWD because they are not used for drifting or just say they don’t drift. This is sad for us because FWD can’t drift and in India buying a RWD is way too heavy for your pockets. Also incase if the RWD did not cost a bomb, in India where Motorsports is not promoted and as much as it should be and is being celebrated around the world, promotion of Drifting as a sport seems almost like an impossible dream. Because in India , even straight line racing is yet to be evolved ( 😛 ) , going sideways will have to wait a bit longer.

But nevertheless, among’st all this some Indian guy promoting drifting would seem like a joke right? But its true. To believe it better Google about Mr Gautam Hari Singhania- Chairman and Managing Director of the Raymond group A.K.A Indian Businessman Tycoon cum Hardcore Petrol-head who has pursued his hobby in the truest and meanest sense. Realizing that there is a mass of people in the country who share a common interest with him, he has been humble enough to give a chance to people like us to witness it and live it.

He has been successful to set two events in every(probably) India petrol-head’s calendar. In January when the year starts he organizes a super car rally known as SCC of India – a Super car club of India which unites the super car owners around the country to a one of its kind car meet where people like us get a chance to hear these beauties ( super cars) in action . And in November end / December he organizes a drifting event in Mumbai – Maharashtra at his company backyard where he has set up his own drifting circuit. You all must be wondering ; how far can a Petrol-head person go in pursuit of his hobbies that he himself gets a PERSONAL racing track . To add to this craziness , he owns a fleet of Japanese Imports (The Japanese have been dominating the Drifting scene in the world from the start itself) – BMW e46 with the Corvette engine, Nissan Silvia S13, Nissan 240SX Nissan R33 Skyline, Honda S2000. You attend the event and you’ll not return disappointed.

He makes sure he takes lap in all the above beasts . No entry fee for the event and drinks are on him ( His own branded KS Energy drink 😛 ) . All this is what he does for himself. What he does for the sport then ? Well, he keeps the event open for people like us who do not own a RWD nor do we have our own backyard racing track 😛 . Mostly FWD cars participate in this 2 day event wherein the first day only participants are allowed on the track with no spectators. It is the practice day and the second day is the event day which in which cars like Honda Civic, Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Swift,Zen, Mitsubishi Lancer and more FWD. With people like him promoting motor sports in India, we hope that the motor sports scene in India gets a boost and it gets its recognition . Do check out the videos below –

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Deep Kataria a.k.a Bhphunter. Mumbai based IT engineer cum gamer inclined more towards Automobiles than Computers. On the weekends you can spot him hunting corners on the NH4 and NH3 on his bike and writing for TurboZens . However if you fail to do so, you can always find him at www.facebook.com/bhphunter