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October 15, 2020
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How Drifting Is Conquering The World

Author: Administrator
A topic of much debate among racing fans, the origin of drifting continues to generate plenty of spirited debate in online drifting communities to this day. While the identity of the first driver in history who purposefully over-steered his car to create a sideways drift will forever be lost in the mists of time, the origin of the drifting in modern motor-sports is well documented. The honour lies with Japanese racer Kunimitsu Takahashi, who pioneered drifting techniques in races in the mid to late '70s.

Kunimitsu Takahashi initially found fame as a champion motorcycle racer in the early '60s - he holds the distinction of being the first Japanese winner of the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix in 1961. Takahashi would switch to racing cars, however, after a serious motorcycle accident in 1962. He started his new career as a race-car driver in 1964 and slowly rose through the ranks in the coming years. At this point in his racing career Takahashi started drifting his car out of necessity to tackle tight corners while maintaining speed. These innovative cornering techniques, accompanied by screeching and smoking tyres won Takahashi many fans as well as quite a few races.

One such devotee, an ex-street racer and up-and-coming Japanese Formula 3 driver Keiichi Tsuchiya studied Takahashi's drifting techniques and took them to the next level. Not content with simply using drifting as a one-off technique on the racing circuit, Tsuchiya took the pioneering step to make drifting the entire focus of the race - elevating it to a sport in its own right. To enhance his drifting techniques Tsuchiya practiced on Japanese mountains where the winding roads provided excellent series of twists, turns and bends. The Japanese term for mountain roads, Touge, has since entered drift racing vernacular around the world and is now used to refer to any event involving street racing - whether they involve mountain passes or not.

In 1987 Tsuchiya and a few partners would team up to produce a video featuring footage of him drifting through mountain passes. The video, called Pluspy, was a huge hit generating a massive amount of followers in Japan's racing scene. A year later Tsuchiya and his partners would organise the first ever drifting tournament, the D1 Grand Prix, which took place at the Ebisu Circuit in Fukushima, Japan. Thanks to the buzz created by Pluspy, the D1 Grand Prix was also a huge success and has been held annually ever since. Today the D1 Grand Prix remains the world's leading drifting tournament where the top drifters from Japan and the world compete.

Since debuting in the late '80s, competitive drifting has left an indelible mark in the racing world. Drifting is now a part of the modern motor-sports culture, with races taking place in speedways and highways all over the planet. The ease and relative low cost of modifying one's car for drifting has unfortunately lead to a vibrant, yet illegal, underground drifting scene in many countries. Unlike other forms of competitive motor-sports, it is fairly easy for the average muscle car owner to add a few mods to his vehicle to transform it into a drift racer. While great for attracting new fans, this also leads to the surge in illegal underground races held in public roads.

Today D1 tournaments take place all over the world in countries where drifting has the biggest amount of fans. To date there have been D1 championship events in Japan, the United States, the UK, Malaysia and New Zealand. Apart from the global reach of the D1 Grand Prix there also exists thriving local drifting clubs in many of these countries. These organisations normally cater to the regional drifting scene, and hold events and tournaments throughout the year. A few examples are the D1NZ and NZ Drift Series in New Zealand, Pro-Drift Mania in Canada, Formula-D in the US, Superdrift in Italy, and the British Drift Championship.


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