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Black Stig
Black Stig New Reader
6/30/08 1:08 a.m.

Sorry if this has been covered before, but it didn't turn up in the searches and I'm sincerely curious as to what everyone has to say about it. I know not everyone agrees that drifting, in and of itself, is a motorsport, but I do and I enjoy it. As I dive deeper and deeper into it, I find more and more reasons to enjoy the sport and it's very fun and highly addictive.

One reason I think drifting should be considered a grassroots motorsport, is that all walks from the well off to the often well can participate. You don't have to have a 50 thousand dollar race car (although some do), you can, in essence, bring out your 500 dollar beater, and tear-ass around the track at your leisure.

Now here's when people mention that it's judged not timed, there's no target objective and you don't ever have a defined "winner", just someone that did slightly better than you at pleasing the judges. I'll admit . . .that's all true, HAHAHAHA, but if you have ever been to an event, you'll see a very familiar sight. People checking tire pressures, novice drivers asking advanced drivers for advice, the more seasoned and involved drivers checking telemetry, speed of entry, speed of travel, angle, smoke, yadda yadda.

I probably sound like a fan boy a little, and that's okay, I'll take my lumps on that one. I just feel that drifting should get more coverage than it is currently receiving on the grassroots level. When is the last time GRM Magazine stopped by a US Drift, SouthEastDrift or Drift 411 event to do an article? I'd definitely be down for that, heck, I'd even point out the drivers to watch if they came to an event in which I was participating.

I remember the SCCA tried to start a sanction called -SCCA DRIFT-, it lasted all of a single season and now with certain fallouts from certain teams, it looks as if this will fall to the wayside. NASA has US Drift, but when you talk to Solo racers or Road racers, they give a smirk and some even scoff at the idea.

I digress . . .

I guess what I just wanted to do was just open up the forums for a little discussion and see what the REAL RACERS (you all) think about what drifting is, where it's come from, where it will go and if, at it's grassroots, it should be considered a grassroots motorsport. Heck, to add to that, if you do (or even if you do not) see it as one, should more coverage from magazines such as Grassroots Motorsports and SportsCar give us as much attention (or even half) as the other grassroots sports? Currently most people in the drifting clique are limited to e-zines and the occasional updates from friends. LOL! That's pretty sad in my opinion.

Discuss . . .

-Stig

geomiata
geomiata New Reader
6/30/08 1:19 a.m.

i would be interested in grassroots drift cars, but i really dont like rice. like at all. i do like rwd tire smoke and hot chicks tho, and drift events seem to have those in spades. i know there are whole magazines devoted to the "sport" though and im not sure if its touchable by GRM. IMHO.

Black Stig
Black Stig New Reader
6/30/08 4:24 a.m.

I think GRM would probably fit right in at a drifting events. There are so many people there who know about the magazine, I always get asked about my bumper sticker when I go sliding around , LOL!

Not all drift vehicles are rice . . . by rice do you mean, cars that have wings and logos and the sort, or do you just mean Japanese cars in general. You do tend to have a large number of Japanese cars, but hey, that's the nature of the beast. It's like expecting to not see a Miata or E30 at an autocross, it just won't happen, LOL!

And this is what I'm saying, I think more exposure to the society of drifting and the events that we have will show people the real side of drifting not just what people see in the movies and on television. It's sad, but you'd be surprised how many people think of Fast and Furious when they think drifting. There are people that still don't know about it, and there are people who are into racing and cars that have never seen cars drifting before.

I'm not talking about donuts or sliding when you exceed rear-grip, I'm talking about going out on the track with the sole purpose of sliding your car around. No fastest time, no opponents to pass, just pure expression and skill. I guess you could say it's a GRM Art Form, LOL!

-Stig

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
6/30/08 5:35 a.m.

covered on old board to death.

Breakdown is as follows:

  1. some folks think drifting is stupid because there is no real point and the addition of a subjective style points ranking puts off most folks

  2. blowing through tires that quickly is expensive

  3. There was a group who decided it was fun with cars and therefore had merit

  4. Another group decided that the car control aspects learned was cool.

I think the general consensus after the whole thing rollled out is, "Its fun and you can learn good car control skils, but the style points and lack of an objective timing based scoring system, relegates it to a fringe motorsport at best."

GRM has run articles on drifting as well, some don't.

You have to remember, that smashing a car with sledge hammers that is blowing flame out of a set of bullhorns is considered an art form here. You'll have a hard time convincing anyone here that anything without one of the following items as an art form.. 1. fire 2. a dodge 600 3. Hongs.

P71
P71 GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/30/08 7:49 a.m.

I think the fact that most legitimate "drift" events (I use that BS term very loosely) go out-of-control has a huge negative impact on any future growth or coverage.

Some "dorifto" punks couldn't keep the sliding to just the track at PIR earlier this year, and managed to earn not only themselves, but the event organizers a lifetime ban from PIR. They even considered banning all drifting events period. Last week they had the first trial-run of re-allowing any kind of drifting back in.

IMHO it is still not a legitimate Motorsports, and is still a blatant rip-off of nearly every other form of racing (Indy, Sprint Cars, Rally, early NASCAR, USAC, Trans Am, Can-Am, etc, etc, etc) but with no timing. It offers nothing original and comes with a stigma and an atmosphere that will continue to haunt it.

I'd rather read another all-Mustang issue of GRM (and we all know how much I disliked that) again then read about "drifting".

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/30/08 7:56 a.m.

I agree with everything you said Black Stig...but as P71 said the ricer/hoon crowd is a major problem. Unfortunately the "rice filter" effect most track events have doesn't seem to apply to drifting (in fact, in my experience, any event with a lot of sideways driving seems to counteract the rice filter effect, and thus drifting=100% sideways driving=no rice filter), so you end up with shiny happy persons showing up and causing trouble.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/30/08 8:02 a.m.

I am apparently the old guy that wears the young guys clothes.

I respect (most) drifters for their ability to control a vehicle and dance at the far end of control.

However popular drift culture has created such icons as Nick Hogan... which let's face it have ruined the "sport" for most of us.

I like winter driving, I like getting sideways, I would like to do it in July without the ice and snow. I like drifting.

carguy123
carguy123 Reader
6/30/08 8:36 a.m.

FAD plain and simple. Here today and gone tomorrow.

We've had drifting for decades, just not the judges.

While fun it is very impractical due to the costs and limited areas you can do it. It is good for learning some car control but then so are a million other things.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks SuperDork
6/30/08 9:03 a.m.

Hmmm,

I've never been to (or even known of the existance of) a drift event anywhere near me. So I don't speak with any actual experience about events. I know there is a LOT of fun in getting a car out there and controlling it in a way that you don't normally get to. An experience that is sure to leave a smile on your face every time.

I hadn't thought of yet, but can completely envision, the shenanigans that could accompany such an event. That's just par for the motorsports "course." If you've got kids in their "invincible" stage of life...it's going to happen, plain and simple.

The cool thing is, they can do it in a controlled environment. They're still going to do it on the street...and on the road leaving the event. But I bet they get it out of their system sooner in life than their non-event-going counterparts...maybe?

Higher forms of motorsports come with a real entry cost (cars, safety equipment, trucks and trailers, etc) and therefore weed out the invincible kids readily.

Clem

carguy123
carguy123 Reader
6/30/08 9:22 a.m.
ClemSparks wrote: They're still going to do it on the street...and on the road leaving the event. But I bet they get it out of their system sooner in life than their non-event-going counterparts...maybe?

And therein is one of the major problems, it simply can't be done on the street at even the risk factors of street racing in traffic.

And yes, it can be Darwinism at it's best and eliminate the street drifters from the gene pool.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
6/30/08 9:29 a.m.

The problem with drifting isn't the competition itself, it is the asshats that attend the "show".

I competed in a drift event way, way back in 2002 and although the "sport" was in it's infancy (especially on the East coast) a few things were clear.

  • The competitors were all cool "car guys and gals". They freely exchanged advice, help, and support. I met a bunch of really good folks who fit under the GRM umbrella perfectly. Some had money to burn, others only had a couple of nickels to rub together, but they were all enthusiasts.

  • The spectators were a bunch of drunk, idiot kids. They were more concerned with hunting for poontang, and getting liquored up than the drifting. It was more of a T/A show than a race. They also caused a very dangerous situation when they decided to "drift" Mom's Accord while leaving the show. There was an incident where a worker was injured, but it could have been a lot worse.

I like it, and think drifting is fun, and useful for learning car control. The crowd and "scene" ruin it for me though.

We also cover Drift events in nearly every issue of GRM.

parker
parker New Reader
6/30/08 9:52 a.m.

no

minimac
minimac Dork
6/30/08 9:56 a.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: We also cover Drift events in nearly every issue of GRM.

Drifting , roadracing, autoX, hillclimbs, but no dirt track racing? I can't remember the last time a roundy car or event was covered. (insert frowny face here)

Wall-e
Wall-e GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/30/08 10:14 a.m.

They've been there. I believe our intrepid reporter has even participated in some.

NYG95GA
NYG95GA Dork
6/30/08 11:00 a.m.

As you know David, MidGaRegion has tried to establish just how viable this sort of event would be for an SCCA group, with some success. Our first event last year was considered well-run and profitable, The second was less so, but still sustainable. But as you also know, Jamey is no longer with us. Since he was a National Officer charged with exploring the series, and a big proponent of the sport, his leaving has created a vacuum, Tyler has stepped up and agreed to fill his shoes; while a fine driver in his own right, he lacks the PR skillsets that made Jamey so good at the position. This is to say that we will still be attempting to run an event or two each season (at Watermelon, most likely). Even though I have no real interest in drifiting myself, as a region board member I will support the series as long as it can be proven viable, sustainable, and profitable for the region.

Call me a utopian dreamer, but I like to think that through well organized events, we may be able to turn some of these FnF dorifto ricers into mature competitors who know better than to practice this stuff on the streets. Any activity that will teach responsibility and swell our ranks in the name of motorsports is good with me, so I'm remaining cautiously optomistic about the future of drifting as an SCCA santioned sport.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
6/30/08 11:06 a.m.
minimac wrote:
Joe Gearin wrote: We also cover Drift events in nearly every issue of GRM.
Drifting , roadracing, autoX, hillclimbs, but no dirt track racing? I can't remember the last time a roundy car or event was covered. (insert frowny face here)

We've had a bit of roundy-round coverage of the Crash-A-Rama events that J.G. and I have competed in. (figure 8 schoolbus racing, beater enduros, blindfold races, etc.)

Honesty, there is only so much space available, so crazed backwoods events like these only appear occasionally. They do produce some quality video though:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7VUyR_seRo

Salanis
Salanis Dork
6/30/08 11:42 a.m.

Thunderhill holds a drift event at least once/month. I've been to a couple of these and have been generally impressed with how well they're run.

It is very grassroots. At the events I've been to, the car I saw people most impressed with was the $200 240sx that someone had found. No big wings. Lots of zip-ties. The people are pretty nice. Safety is a definite concern.

No jackass spectators. But T-hill doesn't get a lot of spectators in general. The participants are good at following the laws on their drives home (most of the prepped drift cars are geared really low, and can't hit very high highway speeds).

The drifters are a bit rowdier than the HPDE drivers. I've seen drifters drive too fast in the cold-pits and that bugs me.

I have also seen proportionally more cars get messed up doing drifting than full track. One corolla went into a K-wall off of the skid pad. Also had an old Mazda Rotary (RX-3?) roll; but it was too tall, with too much flex, and too-sticky tires; it would fly one wheel about 1 ft. in the air with every turn. In both cases, the people in the cars were just fine. Both instances occurred at very low speeds.

So, these events can be run well.

Is it a sport? That's a good question. I'm going to say Yes. It's judged subjectively. But figure-skating is an integral part of the Olympics. I liken drifting to performing acrobatics in an airplane. That's one of the oldest, and coolest, forms of aerial competition.

Drifting requires a lot of skill and knowledge, even if judged subjectively. If you're not judging it, it's much like an un-timed track-day. It's about fun.

I'd argue that drifting is one of the more grass-roots sports too. A guy with an old or nearly stock car can actually be competitive against big fancy teams with $100k machines.

I think it will stick around too, for a very simple and obvious reason. Drifting is a lot of fun to watch. Crowds love drifting. Crowds bring $$$. Money fuels motorsports. A great drifter can really make a living as a professional driver because movies and TV shows need stunt drivers who can make cars do crazy things that look fast and out-of-control.

carguy123
carguy123 Reader
6/30/08 11:53 a.m.

Drifting would almost have to be grassroots to be able to afford to do it what with the cost of tires and banged up cars.

Drifting has always reminded me of the old demolition derbys. Now those were fun!!!

minimac
minimac Dork
6/30/08 12:03 p.m.
Joe Gearin wrote:
minimac wrote:
Joe Gearin wrote: We also cover Drift events in nearly every issue of GRM.
Drifting , roadracing, autoX, hillclimbs, but no dirt track racing? I can't remember the last time a roundy car or event was covered. (insert frowny face here)
roundy-round coverage of the Crash-A-Rama events that J.G. and I have competed in. (figure 8 schoolbus racing, beater enduros, blindfold races, etc.)....so crazed backwoods events ....

Joe-schoolbuses, beater enduros, and driving blindfolded, while they may be fun, are hardly the same as good old grassroots dirt tracking. Maybe go to a local track and look at the crowd in the stands. I bet most draw a whole lot better than drifting-which you cover in nearly every issue. All I'm saying is to spread the love a little bit. try it, you might like it.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/30/08 12:26 p.m.

It's like car ballet.

Salanis
Salanis Dork
6/30/08 12:53 p.m.

No, this is car ballet. (It starts at 0:31)

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
6/30/08 12:56 p.m.
minimac wrote:
Joe Gearin wrote:
minimac wrote:
Joe Gearin wrote: We also cover Drift events in nearly every issue of GRM.
Drifting , roadracing, autoX, hillclimbs, but no dirt track racing? I can't remember the last time a roundy car or event was covered. (insert frowny face here)
roundy-round coverage of the Crash-A-Rama events that J.G. and I have competed in. (figure 8 schoolbus racing, beater enduros, blindfold races, etc.)....so crazed backwoods events ....
Joe-schoolbuses, beater enduros, and driving blindfolded, while they may be fun, are hardly the same as good old grassroots dirt tracking. Maybe go to a local track and look at the crowd in the stands. I bet most draw a whole lot better than drifting-which you cover in nearly every issue. All I'm saying is to spread the love a little bit. try it, you might like it.

I agree, roundy-round racing is fun, and the best $$ per fun ratio going. We only have so much space in the mag though, and there are already a bunch of magazines covering every possible aspect of the circle track scene.

RedS13Coupe
RedS13Coupe New Reader
6/30/08 3:22 p.m.

I don't see where this would even really be up for discussion.

Drifting is definitely not racing, that is true... They have rules that you have to drift to win the "race" because you could go much faster if you didn't...not really a real race if your not going as fast as possible now is it?

But on the topic at hand.... The car has a motor, its every bit as athletic as racing, and most people do it with POS cars. So I don't see how it wouldn't be a grassroots motor sport if its done at a grassroots level, with motors, in a sporting manner?

confuZion3
confuZion3 HalfDork
6/30/08 3:38 p.m.

I hung out with a novice drifter at an HPDE this spring. He said drifting had made him really want to see what he could do on the track. In that sense, It's a gateway drug-er-uh-sport.

I think drifting is as legitimate as auto-x or any other auto racing event. You're just adding in judges (who belong at carshows where they can bring all their biases to the table without anyone really caring).

So, yeah. I think drifting can be a grassroots motorsport. Cost is relevant - but as long as your average, non-corporate competitor can go out and have fun I'd say it is grassroots. And $150.00 for a drift-day at a local racetrack is pretty darn accessbile. Throw in a couple $65 Azenis tires and you're looking at what one spends at an average HPDE. It probably doesn't come close to what all you spec Miata and E30 guys spend in a season keeping your cars on the track.

Salanis
Salanis Dork
6/30/08 3:50 p.m.

A "drift day" at Tunderhill is $100. The value gets better because there is always someone willing to let you ride along when it's not your session. Oh yeah, and no corner-working.

Tires can be had really cheap. You can easily find a set of rims w/ tires on CL for $300-$400. Use up the tires, and then resell the rims for $200-$250. $25 tires, that you don't need to pay to mount/balance.

Or just buy used tires. If you're just starting out, who cares what they are? Even the "name" places (America's Tire is down the street from me) sell used tires. They can't sell them to most people, so they let them go cheap; figure $30-$40 ea, plus mounting.

Edit: as for drifting as gateway; my girlfriend's first event she really ran at comfortably was a drift day. It got her excited for full track and auto-x. And when she did, she didn't panic over loss of traction.

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