We cover a lot of drifting events all over the world here on Drifted. From New Zealand to New Jersey, the Philippines to Poland, the Ukraine to the UK, the sport of drifting is more recognisable worldwide than it ever has been.
The cars may differ from country to country, from series to series and even from class to class as in the British Drift Championship. As budgets increase the visual impact tends to follow suit.
Sponsors are involved, machines are transformed from street-spec to full on race cars. Crew and fun stickers are pushed to one side in favour of liveries and advertising the brands that pay the driver’s way through the season.
You noticed even the drivers change in conduct and appearance as they become more sponsor and media savvy.
But strip all that down and each and every event comes down to one thing. The people behind it.
The people behind the organisation.
The people behind making sure the cars get out there on the start line.
And the people behind the drivers, their friends, family and fans cheering them on from the sidelines.
Drifting still very much has that personal touch, and I for one hope it never loses it.
Through the eyes of the people behind the scenes you can read into a lot of stories.
The blood, sweat and tears it takes to get to events.
The apprehension before competition?
The exhilaration of victory.
And the disappointment of an unexpected defeat.
The personal moments shared away from track are as big a part of the series as those spent laying down rubber and screaming towards rev limits.
They sometimes feel like the quiet before the storm.
As photographers we spend a lot of time together at events over the course of the year.
The media themselves tend to become one big family on race weekends.
But if you thought photographers were strange creatures, videographers are a whole ‘nother level….
…..with commentators a couple of notches higher….
….and some drivers don’t even register on the scale.
Some images stay with you for a long time…sadly.
As a driver if you’re sitting on the start line smiling, you know you’re part of something you love.
When out on track it’s all business and everyone fights for the crown. Panels are decimated, paint swapped and no-one holds back.
But these divides are quickly blurred when the helmets and race suits come off.
I think a big part of a successful event is connecting with the fans and followers.
Letting them get up close to the cars and drivers to try and let them in on what we see from this side of the fence. When I was younger meeting a race driver and getting to sit inside his car would have made my year.
Good ice cream obviously helps too.
For me personally, if you took away the cars….
Took away the smoke, the flames, huge horsepower engines and excitement of drifting…..
….and just left the people. I’d still come back from every event counting down the days til the next.
It’s 41 days in case you were wondering…..see you at Knockhill, Scotland.
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