Drifting is a motorsport where the driver uses brakes, clutches, throttles, gear shifting and steering input to maneuver the vehicle from turn to turn. Drivers intentionally oversteer and then counter the effect using the brakes and throttle to adjust the weight of the car.
The sport of Drifting began on the mountain roads of Japan in the late 1980s and ‘90s as unregulated street racing. It was popularized with the help of Japanese driver Keiichi Tsuchiya, known as the "Drift King," who starred in a low-budget documentary called Pluspy about his unique driving techniques.
The sport really began to take off from the year 2000, when Tsuchiya and Japanese drifting magazine Option launched the All Japan Professional Drift Championship after years of holding amatuer contests. The competition, later renamed D1GP, or D1 Grand Prix. VHS videos posted to the internet helped to popularize the sport around the world. And in 2003, Formula Drift was launched in the U.S. after a marketing company introduced the D1 Grand Prix to Americans.
Drifting is a judged sport, with scores usually on a 0-100 scale with drivers competing for the most accumulated points. Judges tend to assess drivers based on the criteria of line, angle and style, based around certain “clipping points” and “clipping zones.” The clipping points and zones are marked points on the track that drivers must interact with to gain points. Drivers are pretty much trying to get as close to these points as possible without grazing the car’s nose or tail.
The tracks are designed with a lot of twists to test the ability of the driver. There are usually solo qualifiers leading up to the main race, however many popular drifting events are held in tandem style, where two drivers go head-to-head. They take two turns, alternating between the Lead car and the Chase or Follow Car. The lead car is evaluated on how the driver attacks the course, their technical skill, and their control over the car. The Chaser is evaluated on how the driver applies pressure to the leading car. The rounds are performed in a knockout bracket format.