Its not every day you get to admire one of Japans greatest exports (in my opinion), the super sport of drifting.
Throwing a perfectly good (usually show quality) vehicle at corners, with maximum speed all the while maintaining maximum angle. Basically, the opposite of what you learn when first getting your licence. We are told to drive in a straight line and to take the turn, drift is pull the e-brake or handbrake, send the car sideways and plant your foot to maintain an angle on approach and upon exiting the corner.
The Nissan S14 is just one of those ‘drift’ vehicles, pristine paint, insane bodykit, and a genuine set of lightweight Japanese wheels, wrapped in some healthy and pricey rubber.
Or the R33 Nissan Skyline, also in the standout shade of vivid red.
The art of drift has captivated the world over, with the US of A now having their own series, with major sponsors of the like of Red Bull and Monster energy, and being streamed worldwide has bought essentially normality to the scene of drift.
Wakefield, just an hour from Canberra, located in beautifully chilly Goulburn (Ideal temperatures for track days) is pristine track surrounded by farms and picturesque farmhouses. Home to many types of race days, from the Truck racing series, through to that of Time Attack preparation, almost daily driver training days, and finally drifters.
Once outcasts in society, due to not fitting within the realms of society’s vision for motorsport, they are now celebrated and admired for their skills behind the wheel. People admire reactions, and i’m sure some driver training further involving drift would go a long way to avoiding the wet slippery road accidents that claim so many lives in Australia each year.
Revolution motor sport aka Aus Drift revolution put on the day, with today of all days, to be the return of the drifters, in a ‘no bullshit’ session, maximum time on track, with minimal formalities. Wakefield is a fairly long track, when compared to others, it also wasn’t really up to par for drifting until last year, when some adjustments were made specifically for the drifters (see an impact is happening, even at my local track). It has been fairly quiet on the tyre squealing, gearbox crunching, turbo spooling noise front in recent years.
So on a cold Monday morning, the trek was made to see these drivers in action. What more can I say, but these guys are crazy. Just the finesse of the cars dancing on the pavement, not much limiter bashing, with few and far between spin outs, the drivers have balls (not literally, there were some ladies driving) of steel. ‘Send it‘ is a phrase well known in the burnout world, where nothing is to big to attempt. With each initiation aka entry next to the wall where the car swings wide and initiates braking/accelerating at the same time, tense moments were had (mainly by the audience).
The sport of driving door to door sideways, or coming into a corner at an angle while holding the throttle wide open, you expect to hear screams of a passenger. But no, this is a new breed of motorsport enthusiasts, where getting as close as possible to markers, with the most angle is the aim of the game, and concentration in the cabin is at one hundred and ten percent.
Dancing the dicey dance of drifting.
Now its time for some more pictures from the day. With Wakefield being one of regular tracks, I always like to go where the other photographers aren’t, just to try and capture that different angle.
Neat 180 on Enkei Rims.
To much angle, but he came back with a vengeance, next lap. Always borderline driving.
Tandems, two drivers coming through the corner, almost door to door.
A common term for the beaten up drift cars, is ‘drift missile’, but I still think they are a work of art, scars from previous battles, show how hard the driver is willing to push. The driver would no doubt learn so many skills while inevitable tipping past the point of no return.
Jye’s smoke shows were on all weekend, one driver who keeps his foot planted, no matter the angle. Passengers were cool as a cucumber, even giving a wave at one point.
Another stunning car, this 180 complete with bolt on rear fenders.
Competitors often get lost in the smoke, but not this particular one, Jye smoked him out, but he still came through the corner with some angle of his own. When visibility is almost 0, these guys still hold the throttle open.
I love dutch angles in photography, but some people are put off by them.
Its always that borderline, after rounding the corner fairly well, with some good angle, the car was then thrown to the other side to maintain loss of traction, and just a touch to much showed him right off the track.
The drift train coming through.
Even with the bumper coming off, the driver never let off.
A very wide initiation, saw this car just touch the dirt.
This kitted wide bodied S15 had curves in all the right places.
Fresh car out for testing, you simply couldn’t beat that colour.
Jye leading the drift train.
The Game on Supra was definitely having fun out there. Notorious for their cooling issues, this car didn’t seem to suffer the same fate as many others who had tempted Wakefield.
Uphill drifting is always interesting, a slow sweeping U turn that these guys conquered with ease.
Just before a right hand turn, the car is facing left. Big angles, crazy drivers.
The R31 Skyline, was commonplace many years ago. Now try finding one for a reasonable price.
A bit of a battered booty, but who doesn’t have panel work?!
Over the lunch period, the course was setup to challenge the drivers, with a tight course and turning a clockwise part of the track into anti clockwise, it was the ultimate challenge. These guys learn insanely fast.
A quick walk through the pits, I spotted this little beast.
Confirming to NSW no-turbo laws. The Impreza hatch had some very tasteful mods, lowered on contrasting white rims, sporting some Bride Red seats, it was well presented and the ideal eye catching ride.
Another sweet car in the pits, this 180, just such a nice clean look about it.
I used to get so annoyed about objects appearing in my photos, I had to learn to deal with it, especially when going back to our other home in Bali, its simply packed all the time.
Pro Drifters even made the trip to Wakefield, for some practice.
Slow shutter speeds, always make the car standout.
Burnout King, Thomas Baz was out in his recently acquired S14. Sporting an LS1, this was just a smoke producing machine.
Or wide shots, to give a sense of place.
Sometimes, I like to see what Black and White looks like, with the grass and track contrasting against the white chaser, this might be a worthy shot of conversion.
Its all fun and games until the tyre blows.
Just like this article, the end was a sad time, with drift day over, it was time to return to Canberra.
Thanks for reading.