Belgian Drift Series Champion 2005, King of Europe 2005/2007 and D1 Licence holder and competitor, Paul Vlasblom.
The first European Driver ever to knock out a Japanese driver in a Twin Battle!!

Where to start?
Anybody can learn to drift and that’s why legal drifting at a closed terrain or racing circuit is encouraged. Training sessions and licencing tests are held regularly organised by the respective local organisations. To participate in the respective drift challenges you must be able to demonstrate your skill at controlling the vehicle in all situations in order to gain your Licence.

BMW model E30, the versatile drift platform from Europe
Here you see Kees Kok ate Hockenheim in 2006

The drifting scene in Europe

Drifting in Europe is still a relatively young sport. High powered Japanese cars are quite rare because many of the popular models were never on sale here on the domestic market and have to be hunted down carefully and adapted for drifting. This is a costly procedure.

In the UK and Ireland, the more popular Japanese cars are easier to obtain and relatively cheap to buy or import from Japan, whereas in the rest of Europe this is not the case.

We always get questions about BMW and why so many European drifters use this car.

First of all, a used BMW is relatively cheap and it has rear wheel drive.

Secondly, original and after market parts as well as expertise regarding this brand are widespread, plus there is a high interchangability of parts between various models which makes tuning or beefing up to do drifting a lot easier. And thirdly..they are just about indestructable..the amount of abuse they can tolerate is amazing.

The BMW E30 model fitted with 2.5 litre engine or larger is very suitable because of it's power to weight ratio. Even the stationwagon/ estate version is very drift compatible.

This is an easy way to allow low budget racing and to get people involved in drifting and learning how to set up a car, and even more important, off the streets and into a controlled environment.

Many do not appreciate the high costs in Europe due to import and other luxury taxes.

A Ford Mustang for example can be puchased for around $20000 or less in the US.
The same car in Europe will cost you around $80000 - 85000 so maybe you can appreciate why the "muscle cars" are not so common here or why many of the Japanese models which are used for drifting are already considered "Old Models" in other countries. As long as there is a plentiful supply of these vehicles as a base for a drift car there is no big problem.

Of course the Nissan 200 SX model S13 also comes to mind as a budget driftcar, along with the S14, Skyline models and the screaming "HachiRoku" AE86 Corolla models from Toyota.

In the meantime, many of these "old timers" are heavily modified with carbon or glassfibre panelling and have new generations of engines fitted like the 1JZ or 2JZ Toyota powerplants.

What about a BMW with 2JZ?.. (Patrick Ritzmann’s E46 “Special” Pic: Alok Paleri)

The situation is changing as drifting becomes more popular, but all the same it's not a cheap hobby for the dedicated drifter. Sponsoring is essential for survival and improvement of the sport.

Most drivers who own the bigger Nissans and other brands are genuine car enthusiasts or professionals who invest a lot of money in their hobby. Besides a passion for drifting, the focus for organisers must be on developing good driver skills and nurturing the "fun" element of drifting and in this way build the foundations for a healthy sport in which anyone can participate.

Paul Vlasblom burns a little KUMHO red smoke tyres at Zandvoort in his M3 stationwagon.