It was a hot and sunny Sunday at the Metrolina Expo just on the outskirts of Charlotte, NC where drifting was coming into its own on the east coast.
Drifting has not been considered in terms of a motorsport in this part of the US, but is considered so on the west coast for a few years and well over a decade in Japan. Mention drifting in the context of motorsports and you will get a wide range of reactions. Some will be reactions of anticipation and excitement while others will consider it with distain.
On the surface it appears to be a contest, not of car control, but of smoking tires and losing control. Just the opposite of what a track junkie desires to achieve. The reality is that it is all about control and the challenges of car setup are no less than you find in NASCAR, NASA or SCCA events.
Yes we are late to the party on the east coast, but the party has started and like the early days of autocrossing it is a fantastic opportunity for contestants to get in on some real fun before the big boys with deep pocket change the game.
This Sunday in Charlotte the event was full of participants. At least fifty cars and drivers were competing and there was a car show as well. The facility at Metrolina was just about perfect for the combination as the car show was held in a large parking area with a roof so that spectators could get relief from the sun, yet they could also step out into the viewing area overlooking the drifting course.
While the Nissan 240SX was a popular choice there were plenty of other makes and models out there ready to compete.
The car show was not the big budget variety that you see at major events, instead it offered some unique and eclectic cars that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see. There were two right-hand-drive cars. One was a Subaru whose owner had grafted on a front clip from a JDM car and the other was a very unique total car, a Honda Civic that was not only right-hand-drive, but was all wheel drive as well. It is one of only three in the country.
Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the better drifters at this contest.
As you watched it became clear that execution was not easy and it was all about car control as things went beyond the edge.