Drift sport has been rising in popularity throughout the Middle East over the past few years. In the words of Mohammad Al Falasi from advanced driving school the Prodrift Academy, ‘drifting is the motorsport for the PlayStation generation’, with young drivers seeking to reproduce some of the stylish driving moves that feature in video games.
Car manufacturer Nissan and the Prodrift Academy recently announced a collaboration, with the aim of providing a safe, legal and exciting environment in which such young enthusiasts can practise their skills.
There aren’t many better ways of cementing this commitment than attempting to break a world record together, and that’s precisely what both parties did earlier this week, with a bid for the Longest twin vehicle drift title – a stunt which sees two cars travel in synchronisation with one another while continuously drifting for the furthest distance possible.
The benchmark to beat was a lofty 25 km – a target that would test both the cars’ and drivers’ endurance to their absolute limit.
The stage was set when Nissan Middle East released this video, calling for people to witness their attempt on 14 December at the Global Village in Dubai, UAE. Clearly, the message was well received, with members of the public and press excitedly congregating at the venue at the promised time. Following a short presentation, the drivers (Jordanian Ahmad Daham and Irishman James Deane) launched straight into their first attempt. The circuit used was laid out in a figure-of-eight pattern, which had the advantage of allowing both sides of the cars and tires to be worn and stressed equally, but the disadvantage of having a tricky ‘transition’, where the direction of drift must be changed, while maintaining the manoeuvre.
The first attempt ended in a spin from the lead car when approaching the tricky transition. Unfortunately, this occurred after a total distance of 16 km, which wasn’t sufficient to set the record. After a change of cars, and removing their bonnets and bumpers to promote airflow to the cars’ engines (desert heat isn’t conducive to keeping cars running at full throttle for extended periods), the drivers were away on their next attempt.
10 km into the new attempt, the lead car appeared to be in trouble. The once-slick transitions were somewhat laboured - a result of both the hydraulic and cable handbrakes failing. However, the drivers displayed their versatility by incorporating these failures into their driving style, all while maintaining a continuous drift.
After 100 laps of the figure-of-eight, and following in-depth conversations and scrutiny of video footage between the Guinness World Records Adjudicator and the independent drift expert; Kieran Hynes (of Drift UAE, the Irish Drift Championship, and the British Drift Championship), the result was announced as a total of 28.52 km, officially recognised as a new Guinness World Records title.
This achievement secures Nissan Middle East as a leading record breaker in the region, following last year’s successful attempt for the heaviest aircraft pulled by a production vehicle.