There’s always some wild action on the hill during the Goodwood Festival of Speed. By far the wildest happens when the drifters come out to play.
Proper drifting was a controversial addition to the FoS line-up five or six years ago. But the bonkers cars and sheer showmanship of the drivers have firmly established the sport as a crowd favourite. So much so that a dedicated drifting arena was added to the show this year.
Here’s our pick of the best drifting action from the 2019 FoS, starting with Ryan Tuerck and his lunatic, screaming, Ferrari-engined Toyota GT4586, which has so much steering lock it almost crabs up the road.
Vaugh Gittin Jr is never less than absolutely committed, throwing ridiculous shapes in his Ford Mustang RTR.
‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett debuted his new Liberty Walk-kitted Lamborghini Huracan NIMBUL at the FoS. He was clearly still getting to grips with the car, but still put on an epic show.
Nobuteru Taniguchi debuted the world’s first Formula Drift-spec A90-generation Toyota Supra in The Arena, before the car has even reached the road. It’s powered by a 690hp 2JZ engine from the Nineties Supra and it looks spectacular. Fun fact: the Supra is actually shorter than the junior GT86.
Ken Block’s ‘Cossie World Tour’ continued at the FoS as he donutted up the hill in his mental Ford Escort RS Cosworth V2 – an old-school Group A rally car updated with modern tech. As you’d expect, the tyres were pretty much done before Ken even crossed the finish line.
Ahmad Daham runs a Lexus RC F powered by the factory engine – a rarity in drifting. This is a good thing as the 5.0-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 is one of the best-sounding engines out there at the moment. Double the horsepower, raise the rev limit, add a straight-through exhaust and it sounds like a tornado in Valhalla.
Irishman James Deane is one of the few drifters from this side of the Atlantic that have managed to carve out a successful pro career in the US, winning the America Formula Drift series. He currently runs this 2JZ-engined, 1,000hp BMW M3 that produces so much tyre smoke it could shield an entire army from its enemy.
Russian outfit Kamaz is the second most successful team in Dakar Rally history with 16 wins in the truck category. The team has developed a bonneted truck which made one of its first public appearances at the FoS. Three-time Dakar-winning driver Eduard Nikolaev showed that, despite weighing 10 tons and standing over 10 feet tall, the big brute can dance just as well as any drift car. Though it does help if the driver is preternaturally talented. Fun fact: Nikolaev started his career as a teenage gopher in the Kamaz team’s workshop.
Stunt-driving pioneer and all-round lunatic Terry Grant drifted around The Arena in a battery-powered Nissan Skyline, specially built for the event. It’s a bit eery to watch.
Vaugh Gittin Jr also had a play with this, the world’s first full-size, remote-controlled drift car – in the unlikely shape of a Lincoln MKZ. It uses cameras linked by 5G to a VR headset and a Play Station-like steering wheel set-up. It’s impressive stuff that will no doubt have real-world applications in the not too distant future.
By Graham King