At the Essen Motor Show 2019, the Red Bull Driftbrothers have explained the sport of drifting to us at the stand of the Hockenheimring – They are planning another show run in the programme of the NWES race in Germany
In October, the semi-finals of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) will take place at the Hockenheimring. But the races of the US-style V8 monsters are not the only highlight in the programme: the Red Bull Driftbrothers plan to show the spectators their passion for drifting with some show racing.
But what is the fascination of this impressive motorsport niche and how does a drift race work? Since ‘Leadlap.de’ is also mainly home in the oval, we’ll try to describe the rules in simple words.
The rules and the procedure
First of all, the jury decides on victory and defeat in a drift race. Four criteria are important: speed, line choice, angle of the drift and individual style. The evaluations of these four criteria ultimately decide which driver can take home the big trophy.
When it comes to speed, it’s like in classic motorsport: the faster the better, which is why high speeds are also important in drift racing to be successful. However, the drivers must adhere to the racing line specified by the jury. The better this is achieved, the better the driver gets points for his drift.
The next point is the angle at which the car is sent into the drift. The bigger the angle at which the car is sent into the drift, the better the score will be on the jury’s side. Finally, an individual style is important: this includes aggressiveness, flowing maneuvers and optimal corrections. But there are many other influencing factors that are taken in account in this category.
A drift race consists of several phases. First, the drivers have to qualify for the so-called “battles”, in which there is room for the best 32 drivers. The duel is on: driver against driver. Each driver has two runs, once in front as the leader and once in pursuit.
The leader is judged on all four criteria mentioned above, the pursuer on aggressiveness and distance to the leader. The closer a driver stays to the leading car, the better the final points of the round. Actually quite simple! In the KO system, this winner will be found.
The Driftbrothers about their sport
The drift brothers are Joe and Elias Hountondji. The two brothers have many years of experience in the sport and are among the best drivers fighting for victory race after race in Europe. They drive two cars: the Dark White based on a Nissan 200XS S13 and a BMW E30 374i. Both cars meet the FIA standards and have a lot of power under the bonnet.
“The fascination of drifting is what makes the incredibly high demands on driving skills for me,” Joe Hountondji told ‘Leadlap.net’. “You manage an extremely large number of dimensions at the same time and you have to translate not only your own vehicle, but also the opponent’s vehicle, strategy and decisions made in milliseconds into immediate and correct reactions. For me, there is no comparable demand and fun factor on four wheels at the same time.”
His brother Elias Hountondji adds to ‘Leadlap.net’: “To be successful in a drift competition, there are a lot of things that have to work: First and foremost, of course, the technology, i.e. the vehicle must be able to withstand the extreme loads. Next is the driver: Usually the competitions go on from morning to night, sometimes even into the night”.
“As a driver, it is probably the greatest challenge to be able to recall 100 percent concentration on command even after a long period of rounds – and that again and again, often well over ten hours in a row”.
“But all this can only work if the whole team behind it does everything right. Starting with the mechanics, the spotter, the kitchen and not to forget the media crew. To make it clear: When we race, our team consists of at least ten people. The biggest challenge is that these ten people work as one, in other words: “Teamwork is everything!”
If everything goes according to plan, the Red Bull Driftbrothers will be seen in action at the NWES semi-final at the Hockenheimring on October 15-16. With their show they will certainly be one of the highlights of the fourth American Fan Fest in Germany.