Drifting ain’t easy. No, I’m not talking about stuffing plastic lunch trays under the rear wheels of your mom’s Honda CRX (although that is pretty fun). I’m talking about real drifting, with clutch kicks, feint drifts, and good ol’ fashioned power oversteer. You know, the kind of thing you see in Formula Drift or the D1 Pro Series. Maintaining a long, smoky slide across blacktop may look like a breeze when the hot-shoes are behind the wheel, but trust me — such feats are the stuff of superheroes. Stringing together several corners while moving sideways takes incredible car control, experience, and a vehicle capable of handling it.
Throw in another drifter for some tandem action, and the difficulty is ratcheted up exponentially. Now, not only is a driver responsible for keeping his or her tires at maximum boil, but he must also do so without skinning the surface of another car who’s driver is equally as twitchy and nervous.
That’s why head-to-head battles are the quickest way to sort through a collection of potential drift champions. A direct comparison of speed, angle, line, and of course, style, combined with the back-and-forth duel of two cars over the limits of adhesion, make for one of the most challenging trials in motorsports.
Having the right car helps. RWD and an engine in the front is what makes cars like this BMW the correct choice for effective tire-shredding. As for harboring a gigantic turbocharger under the hood… well, that doesn’t hurt either.
Click past the jump to read about this BMW M3 E36.
Throughout the 90s, the BMW E36 M3 was considered, hands down, one of the best handling cars ever made. That reputation has stayed with the model clear through to 2015, and it’s no surprise that these drifters have scooped up an example for their skid-oriented shenanigans.
The aftermarket support for the E36 is simply immense. You can go online with nothing more than a credit card (granted, with a high limit) and a mailing address and find enough go-faster parts to turn a street version into a stripped-out, race-ready monster. Given the original vehicle’s uncanny prowess through a corner, it’s almost guaranteed that some adventuring adrenaline junkie has already forged ahead to achieve whatever goal you’re seeking for your own your ride. Not only that, it’s more than likely that each step was documented and posted on one of the many enthusiast sites out there.
So then — it’s got good bones, huge support, and can spin a dyno with as much power as your heart desires. What about style?
Apparently, the owner of the BMW featured in this video has that covered as well. Never mind the neon green wheels, thick coating of sponsor stickers, and ridiculous livery — that’s par for the course in drifting. The thing that caught my attention was the sound.
This BMW sports an inline six-cylinder engine with a Turbonetics single turbo kit capable of throwing down over 600 horsepower to the rear wheels. Not only is that an absurd amount for a car like the E36, it also makes the exhaust sound like a Harrier jet lifting off the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Unfortunately, that also equates to one very peaky powerband. Nowadays, torque is what you want for drifting. That’s why you see so many LS engine swaps in the pro circuits — that meaty low-end keeps the tires spinning without constantly swapping cogs.
But so what? Every other drifter is rocking a V-8. It’s good to see one racer with the fortitude to drift with that telltale big-snail whine.