There’s no denying it - drifting is still one of the best motorsports in the world

Last week, I was in Savannah, Georgia, driving the new 2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan and while I was there, Toyota had a surprise waiting for me - a ride along with Ryan Tuerck in his 1,000-horsepower Toyota Corolla Hatchback drift machine! It was an incredible experience, and it served as a stark reminder of just how amazing drifting really is.

Drifting’s History Is Very Enticing

Ryan Tuerck's 1,000-Horsepower Toyota Corolla Hatch Is a Reminder That Drifting Is Completely Amazing
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Born from the sideways antics of worldwide rally racing and the illegal touge racers of Japan, professional drifting officially arrived stateside in the early 2000’s, piggybacking off the booming popularity of Japanese import performance culture brought on by the original The Fast and the Furious movie, as well as the Japanese direct-to-video magazine Video Option and, of course, the Internet.

Back in high school, I remember combing through hundreds of pixelated video clips as I sought out the best examples of drifting I could find, all in the name of exposing my motor-minded friends to the insanity of the sport. Here was something that was completely new to us, an exotic fruit that tickled every four-wheeled taste bud, complete with wild cars that fit our collective automotive palettes perfectly. Between the brief online videos and VHS tapes, we were hooked.

In 2003, drifting officially dropped anchor in California.

The D1 Grand Prix, Japan’s premiere pro drifting series, hosted an exhibition round at Irwindale Speedway, and it was an immediate smash hit. A record-breaking ten thousand fans from around the country came out to watch the spectacle, priming the sport for a full frontal assault in the years to come.

A Motorsport Anyone Can Get Into

Ryan Tuerck's 1,000-Horsepower Toyota Corolla Hatch Is a Reminder That Drifting Is Completely Amazing
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In 2004, Formula Drift was established as the premiere drift championship series in North America, and despite claims early on that drifting was just a “fad” that would quickly disappear, the sport is still going strong 15 years later.

If you’ve ever attended a Formula D event in person, it’s immediately obvious why.

A drift battle is utterly unique in the world of motorsports.

Rather than racing against the clock, each battle is a one-on-one affair judged and evaluated by a team of experts. All the action is there in the run, right in front of your eyes. It’s like a drag race in that sense, but unlike a throw-down on the 1320, a drift battle isn’t won or lost by nearly imperceptible differences between the drivers. There’s space for style here, for character and nuance. Sure, there’s still plenty of nitty gritty technical details for the nerds out there (myself included), but if all you care about is smoke and speed, there’s heaps of that on tap to satisfy.

That sort accessibility is translated into the pit walk, where fans can get up close and personal with the drivers and their cars. Unlike the closely guarded secrets of a Formula 1 team, you can actually get a good look under the hood of a drift car. Between the easygoing attitudes and scoring, there’s a sense of approachability that’s hard to find anywhere else.

The Cars Are Incredible And The Drivers Are Cool

Ryan Tuerck's 1,000-Horsepower Toyota Corolla Hatch Is a Reminder That Drifting Is Completely Amazing
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Peel the branding off a few random entries from NASCAR, and it’s difficult to tell them apart. Not so with a Formula Drift competitor.

These machines actually look like their factory counterparts, even with all the pumped-up aero, crazy body kits, and eye-searing paint.

The variety of cars on display is staggering. Modern drifting has evolved beyond the stereotypical sport compact (although there’s still plenty of those), now growing to include muscle cars, European sedans, and even top-shelf exotics, each of which is equipped with cutting-edge motorsport technology.

Ryan Tuerck's 1,000-Horsepower Toyota Corolla Hatch Is a Reminder That Drifting Is Completely Amazing
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The drivers are equally as eclectic, hailing from a wide variety of driving backgrounds and nationalities.

What’s more, these folks simply drip with personality compared to the Stig-esque robots you see in other series. Not only that, but each is astoundingly talented, hanging it all out there in a display of carefully controlled chaos you won’t find anywhere else on Earth.

Ryan Tuerck And The Toyota Corolla Hatch Drifter Have Me Stoked For 2019!

Ryan Tuerck's 1,000-Horsepower Toyota Corolla Hatch Is a Reminder That Drifting Is Completely Amazing
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The 2019 Formula Drift season is scheduled to kick off April 5th in Long Beach, California, with subsequent events set to take place in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Washington, Missouri, and Texas. You can find more info and buy tickets here.

Suffice to say, Ryan Tuerck and his 1,000-horsepower Toyota Corolla Hatch certainly won me over after my ride along in Savannah. Stay tuned, as we’ll post a writeup and video on the experience, as well as an in-depth review of the race car, very soon.

Further Reading

2020 Toyota Corolla Sedan - Driven
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Read our full driven review on the 2020 Toyota Corolla.

Toyota Brightens Its 2020 Lineup with a Redesigned Corolla That's More Powerful and Safer Than Ever Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Corolla.

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid Looks Sporty and Delivers 50 MPG Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

Watch Out Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf Fans - Toyota has a New Corolla Hatchback Heading to the New York Auto Show Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Actually Looks Great With A Huge Grille Exterior
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Read our full driven review on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

Forza 7's Drift Pack is Going To Get Your Drift Juices Flowing
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Forza 7’s Drift Pack Is Going To Get Your Drift Juices Flowing

Ford Mustang RTR Drifts the Entire Nurburgring Exterior
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Ford Mustang RTR Drifts The Entire Nürburgring

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