November 17th, 2009 , Larry Cole


When most people in America think of motorsports we think of racing. (After all man has been racing machines since the invention of the wheel.) We think of drag racing, Nascar, Motorcross, etc. We think of sports which require one competitor to beat others to the finish line. The key goal being that one goes faster, or navigates quicker. However, I am intrigued by an emerging array of what I view are more “artistic” forms of motorsports.

The specific motorsport I am exploring here today is the “sport” (art form) of Drifting. The key techniques of drifting have been developing in Japan for decades. However, it is just in the last several years that the motorsport has gained truly global appeal. In my opinion, it is one of a few emerging phenomenons which are ushering in a new artistic expression in motorsports.

Now, if you are not familiar with Drifting, you might be asking, “What makes this sport such an artistic expression versus racing?” My explanation would be that drifting is to auto racing what figure skating is to speed skating. In competitions judges give each competitor points and they are judged much the same way figure skaters are judged. The whole sport is more about style, technique, and precision of execution than it is about the time clock or the finish line. To me this seems to be a much more subjective and artistic approach to excellence which I find fascinating.

Now please do not misunderstand me, I am certainly not saying that I think drifting is better than racing. What I am saying is that I think it is an intriguing change in our global culture, a milestone we should be aware of. The exacting movements, grace, and amazing control required to drift have captivated a global audience. To me, this says something about humanity’s desire to conquer and tame our creations. It is as though we have some inner driving desire to wield them in a composed, elegant, and flamboyant, way. (Yes, the “driving desire” pun was intentional.)

Here are a couple of YouTube videos I think you will find interesting. Once you check them out, let me know what you think. Is this an artistic expression, or just a very successful marketing ploy by the tire manufacturers?

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3 Responses to “Drifting”

  1. Blake Wilkinson says:

    i can think of it as figure skating on steroids until i think of one of my grandchildren taking a midnight spin in one of their parent’s cars and trying this on a small town street or country gravel road in some farmers cornfield. boys will be boys after all.

  2. Darin White says:

    it was insane! i did a little of this in the snow in my 1979 chevy station wagon.

  3. I can’t wait to drop that new motor into my ride so I can do some of this!