Drifting refers either to a driving technique utilizing a difference in slip angle between the front and rear tires of a car, or to a sport based on the technique. A drift or oversteer occurs when the rear wheels are slipping at a greater angle than the front wheels. The rear end of the car appears to chase the front end around a turn; the driver utilizes both front tires and the rear tires to control the actual direction of the car. More throttle induces more rear wheel slip angle and the rear of the car wants to overtake the front. The goal is for the driver to achieve opposite lock and use the throttle to fine tune the car’s angle and direction.
Oversteer is a technique used in many levels of motorsports, especially ones that run on low grip surfaces such as dirt track rallying and rallying. The art of drifting dates back to even the 1930’s popularized by legendary Italian Grand Prix driver Tazio Nuvolari who utilized the four-wheel drift to take corners at full throttle to exit at the highest possible speed.
Modern drifting started in Japan over 30 years ago in the All Japan Touring Car Championship races as a driving technique of motorcyclist turned driver Kunimitsu Takahashi. He was popular for hitting the apex at high speed and drifting out of the corner preserving a high exit speed.
Takahashi was the inspiration of street racer turned ‘Drift King’ Keiichi Tsuchiya. Tsuchiya began practicing the drifting techniques on the mountain roads of Japan and quickly gained a reputation. In 1977, several magazine publishers got together and decided to produce a video about Tsuchiya’s drifting skills and techniques. The video has since been an inspiration for many of the professional drift drivers today. In 1988, Option magazine founder Daijiro Inada helped organize one of the first drifting events.
Tsuchiya however cleared out his main reason for drifting by a popular quote he made. “I did not drift because it is a quicker way around a corner, but because it is the most exciting way.”
Organized drift events outside Japan formally began in 1996 at the Willow Springs racetrack in California, which was incidentally organized by Option magazine as well. It has since exploded as a popular motorsport in North America, Europe, Australia and in many parts of Asia. Today, several professional drift competitions have sprung out. More popular ones are the D1 Grand Prix, and Formula D. In the Philippines, drifting was formally introduced in 2006 by Burnt Rubber Productions spearheaded by David Felicano, Mon Rayos, and Charlie Cruz.
Feliciano revealed that he only found out about drifting only a few years back, 1999 to be exact. Which he said was quite funny because he found out after many years that drifitng was the way he took the corners on the winding roads of his hometown Antipolo. After much exposure to drifting videos and magazine features, he decided to put together two Toyota AE86 cars and he and his friends started driving the cars up and down the winding roads in the hills of Antipolo. These roads were actually the old special stages they used in rally racing that have now been concreted.
Their plan to officially organize drifting in the country was formed in 2005 when he and Mon Rayos saw the increasing popularity of drifting locally, the duo then got into contract with Charlie Cruz who joined them to introduce the first drifting event in the country called Countersteer with 103.5 K-Lite in January of 2006. Its quite interesting as well that the winner of their first competition could not even get a driver’s lincense. Fourteen year-old Gio Rodriguez who has only been driving for two years.
“We give people a safe venue for drifting so they don’t do it on the street,” said Feliciano. “My advice to people who want to try it is, don’t be scared, it’s not as dangerous as it looks. It only becomes dangerous when you do it on the street,” he added.
For more information about drifting, Burnt Rubber Productions can be contacted through +632.4390262 or +632.4390263.