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Using street races to discredit mobs and ultimately drive to success is one of its kind tricks witnessed in movies only. This happened in the famous The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift movie when Sean Boswell and his newfound friend Han find solace by exploring Tokyo’s racing cars underworld. Boswell had left a rich criminal history in America, and Japan offered new opportunities to change but instead sank into a Yakuza drifting territory.

Back in America, the proceeds of the movie popularized by the mainstream media pushed Dominic Toretto’s crew to the limelight and accelerated the growth of the drifting culture. So, what is drifting?

What is drifting?

A racecar burning rubber as it drifts during a skill competition at the Red Bull Car Park Drift Turkey Finals in Bursa, Turkey
A drifting racecar | Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The main point of drifting is partially losing control of the rear wheels of a car and sliding off the tracks. HotCars, explains that it is a sensational experience that involves oversteering a car’s rear wheels to lose traction but maintaining control of the front wheels.

Drifting is quite different from sliding; those speedy moves Lancia safari rally drivers perform on slippery roads. Drifting is done for pleasure, and the driver takes advantage of sharp corners, though not necessary to achieve the best result. On the other hand, sliding produces sudden speed bursts by turning the front wheels in the same direction as rare wheels, causing the car to skid over the road to outrun other cars.

Nobody knows exactly when it was invented

Just like any other fantastic sport out there, pinpointing the exact time when the maneuver was invented is like looking for a needle in a haystack, according to TopSpeed. However, we know that drifting began somewhere in the 1950s in Japan.

In earlier days, the maneuver gathered so much fame that it became a sport on its own rather than a technique. However, the winner was determined by the amount of smoke released on the road while drifting and not the first car to cross the finish line.

Drifting was illegal at first, and is still illegal in the U.K.

Like many NASCAR races, according to DRIVETRIBE, drifting evolved from illegal activities. Japanese illegal street racers, natively known as hashiriya, had been racing on dangerous mountainous roads, and combining drifting with high-speed chases brought a new experience.

Before being used by the mob, the whole idea was invented by Kunimitsu Takahashi. Takahashi was a professional motorcycle racer and the first Japanese to win the motorcycle Grand Prix. He later migrated to racing cars following an accident sustained in the 1962 Isle of Man TT and popularized drifting. Takahashi indiscriminately raced to victory in any competition, and in the 1970’s he showed to the world the ultimate meaning of drifting in the All Japan Touring Car championship. It is said that Takahashi coaxed his Nissan Skyline KPGC10 into a sharp corner slide and then rocketed to the exit, leaving fans baffled. This was a one-in-a-lifetime stance that inspired the sport we know of today.


Is it Possible to Drift a Front-Wheel-Drive Car?