Progress is rarer and less significant than you normally hope for. When you hear that something is new, improved, or tweaked, it either means they have changed a tiny little thing, but called it the same name or they have changed the balance of something that worked and didn’t need fixing.
The British Drift Championship is an example of great progress. It’s a series that has exploded in size and professionalism in the last five years and the proof of the pudding lies in the grid size which was well over 100 cars with drivers coming from all over Europe and Ireland to compete and fight for an ever more prestigious title of BDC Champion. So what’s improved then since you saw it last year?
The cars have improved a huge amount in terms of prep and quality. I come from a more traditional motorsport background and always felt that presentation and pride was sometimes lacking in drifting in comparison to even basic club motorsport but now I can honestly hand on heart say that this year has seen a huge leap. Even though it was the first event of the season, I saw almost every car looking polished, waxed, clean, tidy, and fresh – something which really says a lot about the seriousness of the drivers to push this sport to a more professional level than ever before. No life-stylers here.
Sponsorship is what drives a huge amount of the sports industry, drift car or snowboard. And sponsorship requires coverage. And coverage comes from presentation and putting on a great show. This then quite literally goes around in a circle and as the driving improves and the cars improve in looks, then the coverage improves, the sponsorship becomes more valuable and it goes on and on. The BDC is covered at great detail by the likes of Ross (Speedhunters) and Ian (Drifted) through to dozens of blogs, and of course having great looking cars getting out there and doing some great drifting is what makes these guys jobs easier.
And whilst we will all miss the brilliant films of Brooksie that have supported the BDC and given the series a personality and captured the imagination of thousands of people who have never seen drifting, BDC have taken the very clear decision to make itself work as a motorsport that has commercial value. We saw several cameras out getting several angles of the day – so from my perspective lets just hope that the show brings across the energy and drama that we’ve come to expect from BDC productions. For sponsors and drivers, this is great news as TV has clear commercial value. For more information on the programming schedule keep checking the BDC section of the Driftworks Forum!
The pits were HUGE. 110 cars, all turned out smartly and looking much more professional than last year. Nissan’s are still of course the car of choice for European drifting, but there were a few Toyotas old and new and a superbly prepared E46 BMW. Another obvious improvement this year was the sheer number of teams who had a team livery and shared paint schemes and logos. Rivalries are both healthy and friendly in motorsport and in the name of progress it’s another string to the BDC bow. Despite this though, teams were happy to share tools, advice and good spirited banter with each other. Truly a good sign of a healthy motor sport paddock looking to make good things happen.
But for me, the best improvement to the ENTIRE championship lies in what the judges score as a good run. I’ve always felt that the entries in BDC have always been a bit of a let down – where huge long handbrake entries with no angle or speed still produced a reasonably good score – something I understand has frustrated a lot of people too. This year, the golden words were ‘If we see you on any of the brakes for any length of time on the entry, you’ll be severely marked down’. This meant that drivers were forced to commit to flat out decent entries with some big flicks and some ballsy commitment, even in the unpredictable and tricky first corner at the Teesside Autodrome. And despite horrible rain on the Saturday, it was brilliant to finally see a huge field of cars finding their way and seeing the light as they sent it again and again, going faster and and flicking it deeper into the first corner sometimes without a handbrake in sight.
THAT IS WHAT WE WANT TO SEE. THAT IS WHAT IS AWESOME.
And thankfully, drivers listened to the advice given by the BDC judges and went out and ripped it up all day.
Paul Smith putting in some particularly fast runs. He is definitely one of the best in the country at the moment.
Back at Team Driftworks’s paddock, despite a few really small mechanical issues, we had a fantastic weekend getting back out there. Deputy Head Mechanical and Technical Drifting Consultant Specialist Dan Wright is pictured here next our new Vito which replaces our trusty old ex-riot van. It’s made the journey a million times more bearable!
The Driftworks S15 remains absolutely unchanged from when we built it for Dai Yoshihara to drive at Wembley, it’s simply been parked up. We had to replace the alternator at Wembley and the only one we could source quickly was a second hand item, which when suddenly fitted to an engine that regularly hits 8000rpm appears to have killed it again. D’oh.
Fortunately, our paddock buddies were the SATS Supra Team, another insane car that regularly see’s high RPM’s. Sadly, they also didn’t carry a spare alternator, so that was a shame. Mark’s day ended early when he lost his clutch in the top 16 battles. Rest assured it will all be sorted for the next round!
Despite not having an engine that worked under load, Phil managed to qualify 7th and win his first battle but the car just died several times during his next run and that was the end of our day. Frustrating, as this car has proved to be very reliable for such a retarded machine, but that’s motorsport.
So there we have it – The British Drift Championship and it’s drivers have really stepped up the game this year. It was a pleasure to watch, and I look forward to reading the no doubt countless reports from various people and blogs that are again supporting the sport we all love so much.
Give yourselves a massive pat on the back lads, you done good.
Check out the BDC Website for more information here: https://www.thebritishdriftchampionship.co.uk/