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Yesterday, a few of us were invited to attend this event, the first drift gran prix in the USA. We were asked to entertain the crowed during halftime with our shifter karts. Had no idea what to expect.

Had a blast drifting the karts in front of over 10,000 people. It was pretty cool.

Anyway, there was an S2 yellow Elise there at the show. Not drifiting. :) I took some pics and will get them up soon. It had some graphics on the sides and said "distributor car" Georgia on it.

My buddies were all "Wow..what the hell is that?" when they saw it. :)
 

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Hey, that's great ! Can't wait to see the photos. I heard about this drifting competition for the first time on a local (L.A.) radio show called The Car Show (KPFK 90.7 FM). I guess it was at the Irwindale Speedway, right ? What type of cars did these "drifters" run ? Aside from shifter karts, that is...

I guess shifter karts would be pretty good to do this stuff in, no ?
 

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Yes, at Irwindale Speedway.

Cars were:

350Z, NSX, RX7, MR2, Corolla, Sylvia 240sx, EVO, WRX. All these cars were extremely modifed.






 

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Yes. On a friend's camera.

I was incredibly stupid to not hook up my camcorder to the kart, and to not bring a camera. I should get the pics uploaded today.
 

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Yellow Elise
 

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Sometimes, they touch the wall :eek:
 

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More pics on the server at-

http://www.cpdserver.com/elisetalk/drift/

Note, I am in this pic. About 100 feet back, behind the girl's hat. Frantically waving for help. I could not get these guys attention.
 

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that was you in the karts? cool. BTW the drivers that competed drove rx-7s, sylvias (many types, including the ugly pickup truck conversion), Supras, a Skyline, 350Zs, Soarer, and AE 86 corrola. All the cars competing were RWD. The Elise looked very nice, I should have asked if I could sit in it. It was an amazing event even though the annoucer was horrible.
 

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Yeah, I heard a lot of people that did not like that announcer. So at least you saw the karts. It was very fun out there.

Here is a good little video of the drift stuff (contains some profanity and Shwarzanegger content). No karts though. :(

http://www.vividracing.com/d1driftsm.mov
 

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Forgive me if I sound ignorant. But, I dont get it?

I honest to god dont get the point of drifting. Im not bashing it, or knocking it and I think the pics and your team are very cool.
Im just saying that I dont get it. Ive tried to understand and nothing helps.



Im being honest, not a smarty pants. Ive offended several local teenagers who were trying to "drift" at our autocross by asking them why on earth they were doing what they were doing, so I want to make sure I dont come off that way here. I dont mean to offend anyone here.



Can someone explain it to me so I get what the point of drifting is
 

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I think what some find confusing is thinking it's racing. It's not. It is an exhibition of style and skill. More like olympic gymnastics. Well, like gymnastics if the athletes wore blinking neon. :)

Why it is popular and why will it continue to grow?

The cars are very cool. These were some cool cars with lots of mods and gobs of horsepower. The young market really enjoys seeing the cars like this. For many of them, looking at a purpose built functional racecar is not as exciting. These cars were flashy show cars too.

Smoking tires are cool.

The risk involved. The crowd loves the cars getting close to each other and the walls.

It's new and different. It's better than just 1/8 or 1/4 mile drags, because you have to set up the car for turning. I heard kids talking about camber changes and struts. It's different, it's not your dad's racing. :)

There is a lot of skill to do this well, yet I was thinking most of the seasoned racers, if we spent some time in drifting, could also do pretty good at this.

Mainly, it's about flash and show mixed with horsepower and skill. A winning combo I think for the young market. The crowd was really into it. I have not seen that at drags or oval tracks.

Now, would I do it other than the kart thing? No.
 

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Randy -

Ver-r-r-r-y interesting ! I'm obviously not on the cutting edge,
'cuz I was completely unaware of such a niche in motorsports until last Saturday.

So, please fill us in a bit more, if you could, on where this activity came from, and when. Are there lots of people getting into this thing, or is it pretty much a fringe type of activity ?

BTW, God help us all, but what do you think the odds are that we'll be seeing Elises set up to do this stuff before long (shudders at the thought). Since there was an Elise at the event at Irwindale, we probably don't have to wait too long I guess.
;)

P.S. Were you able to talk with the folks that brought the Elise, to find out what it was doing there etc ?

Thanks !
 

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HI All,
If you want to find out about drifting, watch "super 2uner" on Spike on Sat. and Sun.

Have two twin brothers hosting. This is all about the import crowd. I notice these guys have a fixation on raw horsepower, neon, mega stereo system, etc.

Not my cup of tea, but enjoy watching the show. One thing I can't figure out (they do it in some sportbike circles too) is the burnout until the tires disintegrate, seems totally lame to me, but who knows?
Chris
 

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mikester said:
So, please fill us in a bit more, if you could, on where this activity came from, and when. Are there lots of people getting into this thing, or is it pretty much a fringe type of activity ?
It started in Japan and became HUGE over there. It is on the way to becoming huge here. Like it or not, and many do not, it's a large part of the import scene, and the youth of today are into it. I see it as expanding in the USA and rapidly.

SCCA must agree as they signed on to sanction this event and are setting up relationships with the drift organizations. That was kind of odd. We had a talking to by an SCCA official about our safety on the track in the karts and then watching these drift cars doing burn outs in the VENDOR AREA among the spectators. Nuts.

Anyway, it was a good show. Fun to watch. A blast to drive in. Intentionally drifting the kart was very fun.

Midengined cars (as I understand it) do not do as well for drift cars because the weight in the back is a bad thing. It's better to have a RWD and front engined car, so the car wants to go straight because the engine is in the front, and then you oversteer the rear tires by too much throttle and a flick of the steering wheel.
 

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I guess I fall into the "young import crowd" (and also dislikes ovals and NASCAR, gimmie F1 or Speedvision cup) and yes most people do not see this as an actual form of racing, rather it is like Randy said a form of show. The driver skill needed is very high and the cars they have are exotic to us. Seeing two cars slide side by side is very exciting and challenging. BTW please don't judge too many of us young kids by those horrible shows on Speedvision and whatnot. Those are horrible 30minute long commercials for brands like APC.
 

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Its absolutely true that midengined and drifting can = bad.

While I have a boxster, and not an elise, the physics are similar. You get that car whipping around and the rear just wants to continue moving due to the weight being more towards the rear. Ok thats fine, and when you are in something like a rear engined carerra you can feel it let go, then just hit the power when you want it to stop. It grabs and you go, no big deal.

In a MID engined car we have another fun thing going on. Imagine an ice scater with his/her arms and legs out doing a spin. When the mass is spread over a good bit of distance, they spin slowly. Pull that mass in and they speed up bigtime. A midengined car has the same problem, when you start to spin it happens FAST FAST FAST. So rather than drifting, if you are not lightning quick you are facing oncoming traffic.

At VIR I was going onto the stevie wonder turn (over a hill off camber TOTALLY blind, hence the name) and everything in your body tells you "LIFT LIFT LIFT." Well I didn't do it all day, but I was getting a bit tired during my fourth session and I was pushing my car a bit harder than before, so I was going over the hill flat out and there was a car ahead of me going much slower.. so uh, I lifted. Within 1/4 second my brain screamed GASGASGAS, so I hammered it.

Did I spin? No, I hit the gas REAL quick. Took a few days for the bruises to heal from my seatbelt holding me from getting thrown around though. It was VIOLENT. Definitely not optimal. If I had waited any longer I am 100% certain I would have been off in the dirt somewhere facing an unknown direction.

(yet another reason to check your tire pressure after EACH and EVERY track session. Low pressure = tires ripped off your rims! Whatever you have heard about low pressures and racing your car should go out the window when it comes to reality and DOT legal tires!!! Racing tires reguire slightly lower pressures, but you should talk to the manufacturer about starting suggestions, then test to find out the pressure for you and a specific track)

Scot
 

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Try to acquire the file topgear_s2.mov (59 megs). It's from the British Car program Top Gear and has the presenter testing the 111s and facing understeer. Then Gavan Kershaw from Lotus (chief chassis engineer) has a go and makes it (controlled) oversteer, drifting through the corners.

This also covers the subject of the S1 vs S2/oversteer vs understeer. The S2 is fitted with more narrow tyres and as a result the grip in the front is reduced. When you push the limit you get understeer. Lift the throttle or even brake and you should regain control.

With the S1 the back would come out resulting in a spin. The S1 was intended as a 1000 cars p/a, but due to it's enormous success they reached about 3000-5000 cars p/a.

The S2 was targeting a bigger audience, and like Gavan said in the above mentioned video, it should be safer for average driver so they can play with it. The real drivers can fit wider tyres at the front to get it to understeer again or use the Scandinavan flick thingy to break the cars balance allowing you to drift.

Not into drifting myself nor particularly interested though :)
 

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armitage said:
... Then Gavan Kershaw from Lotus (chief chassis engineer) has a go and makes it (controlled) oversteer, drifting through the corners. ...
Gavan Kershaw is also the reigning champion for the last three years (2000, 2001, 2002) of the AutoCar Oversteering Challenge. My understanding was that he supassed the closest competitor by over 15 points. Don't know how they conduct the challenge. Also, I understand that only he and Alistar McQueen (Lotus chief test driver) have ever won the championship. Obviously, there is a lot of controlled oversteering involved in the LA Drift Gran Prix, and no doubt both Gavan and Alistar would fare very well indeed!

Check out the URL of the Exige that Gavan races in the Lotus Road series that he is in good shape to win in October at:

http://www.ianhardy.net/gallery/brscc_croft03/CRW_5358

also, attached, here is another image I uploaded of the same car from his driver profile at this URL:

http://www.lotusroadsports.com/dp-kershaw.htm

The profile includes this tidbit: ...Autocar took him to the USA to go up against various NASCAR, Indy car and stunt drivers in drift challenge, which..............yes you're right, he won this also!

and it contains a URL to his website:

http://www.gavan-kershawracing.com

-- Tom
 

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