Global Racing: Drifting in Japan

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Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction, while maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner. The technique causes the rear slip angle to exceed the front slip angle to such an extent that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn (e.g. car is turning left, wheels are pointed right or vice versa, also known as opposite lock or counter-steering). Drifting is traditionally done by clutch kicking (where the clutch is rapidly disengaged and re-engaged with the intention of upsetting the grip of the rear wheels), then intentionally oversteering and countersteering. This sense of drift is not to be confused with the four wheel drift, a classic cornering technique established in Grand Prix and sports car racing.

As a motoring discipline, drifting competitions were first popularized in Japan in the 1970s and further popularized by the 1995 manga series Initial D. Drifting competitions are held worldwide and are judged according to the speed, angle, showmanship, and line taken through a corner or set of corners.

Drifting first occurred in Japan. It was most popular in the All Japan Touring Car Championship races. Famous motorcyclist turned driver Kunimitsu Takahashi was the foremost creator of drifting techniques in the 1970s. This earned him several championships and a legion of fans who enjoyed the spectacle of smoking tires. The bias-ply racing tires of the 1960s–1980s lent themselves to driving styles with a high slip angle. As professional racers in Japan drove this way, so did street racers.

Keiichi Tsuchiya, known as the “Drift King” (ドリフトキング, Dorifuto Kingu), became particularly interested by Takahashi’s drift techniques. Tsuchiya began practicing his drifting skills on the mountain roads of Japan, and quickly gained a reputation amongst the racing crowd. In 1987, several popular car magazines and tuning garages agreed to produce a video of Tsuchiya’s drifting skills. The video, known as Pluspy, became a hit and inspired many of the professional drifting drivers on the circuits today. In 1988, alongside Option magazine founder and chief editor Daijiro Inada, he helped to organize one of the first events specifically for drifting called the D1 Grand Prix. He has also drifted through every turn in Tsukuba Circuit.


This article includes material from “Drifting (motorsport)” Wikipedia .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drifting_(motorsport) Licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-SA 3.0 US) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/ Authors: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Drifting_(motorsport)&action=history

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