No matter how many times I watch it on Gear One, I still can’t work out the rules or how you win. You know what I’m talking about; garishly painted Nissan Patrols and Land Cruisers, bouncing off rev limiters with that familiar staccato cracking accompanied by flames as they turn another set of nylon sand tires into a smoking molten mess.
There seem to be different classes, that much I’ve worked out. There’s even a special one for people with Ferraris who plaster the windscreen with BlackBerry Messenger PINs. I wonder if they get extra points for that? Some of the guys do actually seem to have a semblance of car control and I’ve watched drivers perform a perfect drift round the arena before ending up with the throttle nailed, car heading backwards and the rear tires sparking as they slowly reverse towards the concrete barriers.
Drifting is a skill, to some an art form, developed by Japanese touring car legend Kunimitsu Takahashi in the ’70s as a rather unorthodox racing style. It inspired the man many aficionados are more familiar with today, Keiichi Tsuchiya, The Drift King, to have a go himself on the mountain roads of Japan. The rest is history and drifting has developed into a worldwide phenomenon and sport in its own right.
With professional drivers, full works race teams, multi-million dollar sponsorship, television exposure and more magazines and DVDs devoted to it than you can shake a stick at, there’s only one question to answer isn’t there? Why has the sport in its purest form not caught on here in the UAE? Let’s not discount the efforts of SSK Racing here, but I mean really caught on.