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The Drift Scene in Europe

In Europe there are several established drift series and organisations busy with running events, demo's and competitions. Almost all of them claim to be the biggest or the most professional but this is just not so. All of them have their own strengths and weaknesses and many are struggling to survive due to restrictions on event locations, high costs and lack of serious response from the motor and tuning industry.

Response from investors and sponsors depends a lot on the level of professionalism and good communication, and this is where some series are failing miserably. It's only a matter of time and the best series will prevail and start attracting the money of the big sponsors. Several organisers and drivers have also lost exclusive sponsoring deals from major players in the market due to very poor media management and failure to perform or produce any kind of ROI (Return on Investment). This has made it even more difficult to close serious sponsoring deals.

Some of these organisers dream of dominating Europe but unfortunately the scene is very complex with national cultures as well as national legislation playing a big role in what you can and can't do. Vested commercial interests and political attitudes of motorsports organisations in some countries also pose a barrier, so it's not as easy as some people think!!.

Up until now, organisations who have only put commercial interests first have failed to sustain a successful drift series.

Organisers who make efforts to put the drivers in the limelight, to promote the sport as an “Extreme Sport” and retain the fun element are the ones that will succeed.

CURRENT SERIES IN EUROPE:

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NURBURGRING DRIFT CUP (Germany)

Light at the end of the tunnel appeared suddenly again in 2013 with the Nurburgring Drift Cup managed by Skylimit Events.
Supported by both FALKEN and the Circuit Organisation, it looks to be an exciting new championship with no nonsense and good management giving drivers 2 good quality series to compete in for 2014.




SKYLIMIT DRIFT (Belgium)
Skylimit events are running their own revamped SKYLIMIT DRIFT competition the YOKOHAMA DRIFT CUP and Drift School in Belgium based at the ZOLDER track/paddock. Also there is a new initiative in the form of the Nürburgring Drift Cup supported by FALKEN. (see above) This is proving very popular and is producing some surprising drift talent. We look forward to see how this develops in the 2014 season.


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DRIFT ALLSTARS

Commercial based "SHOW" based drift series managed by Niall Gunn this series is very popular especially in Eastern Europe where it competes with KOE.
Some events held in UK during the season in combination with other Automotive shows and events. Still hasn't found the right formula to attract more drivers it seems.

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IRISH DRIFT CHAMPIONSHIP


Having gone through several generations, names and brands, the so-called IDC (Irish Drift Championship) is the latest in a series of championships in Ireland where drifting is one of the most popular forms of Motorsport next to F1. This series regularly produces especially young but also unbelievable talent to the Pro series such as Drift Allstars. This is what we like to see!



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KING OF EUROPE
King of Europe was a series of commercially based drift events running exhibition rounds in different countries. King of Europe was primarily an event that consisted of combined events, mainly DRAG and DRIFT events and started in 2005.
Although KOE added more countries to it's list of conquests, the quality of the events suffered for a long time from poor organisation and lack of actual track time. The only improvements came where the events were under local management rather than under management of the relatively small KOE crew. Actual tracktime was always an issue at KOE events but at last, things are looking much better for participants of this series. Very popular in Eastern Europe. As mentioned, it is a commercially based series meaning that finances go primarily to the organiser with little or no benefit for drivers besides podium finishers.
In 2015 more events in Eastern Europe with other European venues were also on the calendar and the same is expected for the 2016/2017 seasons.

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KING OF NATIONS
In the meantime the series has expanded and become ‘King of Nations’ series with a very ambitious calendar for 2017 covering the whole globe.

DRIFT UNITED (Germany)
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A recent series to materialise in Europe is DRIFT UNITED, established in 2011 and already growing in popularity with drivers frustrated by the poor management of the IDS.
The first events have been a great success and like a breath of fresh air after years of struggling with drift organisers who ignored inputs of drivers and failed to distribute the earnings from extensive sponsoring deals. At last the drivers can do what they do best without feeling "ripped off", and the result can be measured on the smiling faces and great atmosphere at the events. We expect great things from this series in the near future. Drift United is mainly active in Eastern and Central Germany and established car shows and events around Germany.


BDC (United Kingdom)
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The BDC is an amateur/ professional championship in the UK.
2008 also saw the formation of a new Pro-Am series, the British Drift Championship (BDC) after the earlier collapse of the UKDrift and Eurodrift initiatives due to poor management. This is a series which seems to be growing in popularity with high participation. Some talented drivers are coming from this series. It has developed well and has attracted sponsoring from different suppliers to the motor industry and is continuing to grow in popularity and professionalism.


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DC (France)
In 2009 the ropes were taken up again with the formation of the organisation DC (French Drift Challenge) under management of top drifter Tony Jouin and his team, and 5 rounds planned per season. There has been a massive leap forward in quality of management and some spectacular tracks on the calendar. In 2010 DC struggles to find new venues due to limitation of funding, but a calendar of events has been announced. In 2013 The drift challenge has merged with previous colleagues KDRace to produce a new series of events.


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OLDER SERIES:


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NL DRIFT SERIES (Netherlands)

A series based at Zandvoort linked to existing Autosport events and shows. A few external venues, but more popular with the drivers and less oriented towards the spectator due to lack of locations. In the meantime no longer in existence due to track restrictions and withdrawal of management.

PRODRIFT



Darren McNamara being interviewed in USA

Prodrift is a commercial drift series running a Pro/Amateur championship in Ireland. ProDrift was established in 2004. ProDrift has a very healthy championship in Ireland, has run numerous shows and demo's around Europe at some exotic and far off locations and has a group of talented drivers who put on these shows in professional looking cars. The ProDrift organisation has had some dedicated sponsors some serious money and backing is involved. The current economic situation has however put many established drivers under pressure, forcing some good ones to quit. Aspirations to run a European Series were also present but at the moment this appears not to be the case with the series restricted to Ireland.


Darren at the IDC Hockenheim, 2006
Pro Drift's connections with the Formula D championship in the USA can only be seen as a positive factor for development of the sport and recognition of talent from Europe. Several very good former ProDrift drivers are there such as Darren McNamara, Eric O' Sullivan and more recently James Deane.


EDC


EDC is a professional championship in the UK. The D1GB organisation which ran the D1GB events in 2005 and 2006 changed it's identity to EDC (European Drift Championship) After a broken promise in 2006 by D1 corp. to send the top 5 UK drivers to the USA. "The Brits" are now doing it for themselves, EDC currently being one of the most professional series in the UK. EDC also made it's first european outing in Poland in 2008 which was a spectacular event and the famous "TEAM ORANGE" were a regular visitor to the events due to their involvement in the UK drift scene. In 2010 the participation seems to be at a lower level despite efforts to keep the series going. The organisation seems to concentrating more on Time Attack style events.
In 2012 the number of events is restricted.


JDM Allstars


JDM All-Stars championship which seems to have all the "fun" elements many events have been missing up till now. This series is interesting with events planned in some pretty "off the wall" places in 2010. The thing that stands head and shoulders above any other European event is the attention paid to the "Fun" and "show" factors. Due to this, JDM Allstars has attracted the participation of many foreign Pro drivers wishing to pit their skills against the UK and Ireland's best. It will blossom once again in 2010 for this reason. In 2010 Australian champion Luke FInk (one of our supported drivers) took the crown at the SIlverstone final. In 2011 and 2012 the series has a packed program me at top class venues.
The series now has the identity of European Drift Allstars (see above) and holds events in UK and Eastern Europe.

UKDC


Lydd Raceway
UKDC (UK Drift Championship) came from a one-off promotional, FUN event at Lydd in Kent called the SVA DRIFT CHALLENGE . This has transformed into another organisation DRIFTRACING, who organise training and competitions in the Kent area of UK. Driftpromotion arranged the filming of the event by CLASHPRODUCTION, who have produced material for MotorsTV and EDC, the RedBull Wold Drift Championship and many other prominent events.


Happy faces at Lydd..

BELGIUM/NETHERLANDS

Organisations in Belgium and Holland have long struggled to find good drift locations and adequate sponsorship. The Netherlands is very strict on environmental issues, and noise restrictions have caused problems for organisers (even at established motorsport venues) in both countries including the racetracks at Zolder and Zandvoort. Despite these setbacks the Benelux is most certainly the source of the best drift talent in continental Europe. Belgium and the Netherlands started their activities in 2005 in the form of the Belgian Drift Series and NL Drift Series. The first serious events (including invitational events at which many UK and Irish drivers attended) were held at the WARNETON SPEEDWAY track in western Belgium, which is a compact oval track with banked curves.

NL Drift series and Benelux Drift Series


The NL series concentrated on tracks such as Zandvoort and Assen with occasional runs at existing tuning events and shows, and was accompanied by three other organisations, DriftClub (established 2003) , DRIFTSPORT (established 2005) and DRIFTCURSUS (2005) whose events were more for fun and training than a serious competition. DriftClub also ran a competition event in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

In 2005 the final of the BE series was held at Zolder in combination with the ERAN DRIFT day, starting a new partnership between two drift event organisers. 2006 saw both BE and NL series blossom with a lot of interest and a large following, and establishment of a drift school and even drift-karting competitions, plus some spectacular and unique drift locations.

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Xtreme Drift
In 2007 the BE series changed it's identity to Xtreme Drift Series increased the size of it's organising team and attempted some cooperation with ProDrift. XD was linked to a series of existing tuning and motorsport events and sponsoring deals which restricted the choice and quality of locations. Drivers from Holland and Belgium (plus some other European countries) often participated in these events. Recently Xtreme Drift has come to an end due to internal politics, questionable sponsoring deals and financial irregularities. In addition, the whole organisation was over-hyped when there were actually no substantial sponsor or financial backers of the series. Contractual and sponsoring upsets and some difficulties between organisers and drivers caused extra headaches for 2008, "Wet Paddock Drifting" was often the most on offer much to the frustration of the drivers. This was in the form of a low-level street legal event with the name Kamikaze Cup.

NL Invitationals

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NL Drift Series evolved into the NL Invitational series, linked to existing tuning and racing events which shows drifting and demo's on a regular basis at some popular venues and events in the Netherlands. These are often combined with a TIME ATTACK concept and a FULL CIRCUIT DRIFT, where all curves of the circuit are drifted. This format seems to be popular with drivers and public alike. More recently a Gymhkana like event was held in the paddock at Zandvoort, along with a pure drift competition. After the collapse of the ODC, NL drift series manages some drift events at Zandvoort and other venues. Unfortunately Zandvoort is no good as a location for spectators of drifting, limiting it's appeal to the drivers only.

Open Benelux Drift Challenge

A new initiative, the Open Benelux Drift Challenge, was announced for 2009 and this seemed to be the most promising development since Xtreme Drift stopped as a drift series and was attracting a lot of interest. This was organised by SKYLIMIT EVENTS. A new training initiative at the former BEAF base of Brustem, also organised by Skylimit was also becoming popular, although the Zolder drift school still exists. There was also an attempt at cooperation between the IDS/ODC and Skylimit but for some reason this did not materialise.

Open Drift Championship (ODC)


In the Netherlands the activities have been revamped by a new organisation SD EVENTS who will hold several rounds both in and outside the Netherlands in 2010 under the name
ODC.
It’s never been easy to find locations in the Netherlands and despite the success of the events some planned locations have been scrapped from the calendar due to external influences. Organisation has since been disbanded and has been absorbed by the NL Drift Series once more.



FRANCE


FDS
FDS was a series running an amateur championship in France.

Pouilly en Auxois 2007

France started in 2007 with round one of it's series after ups and downs between two organisations and individuals of opposing opinions. Right now they lag behind many other national series and regular favouritism towards their own national drivers has often (unfortunately) put doubts on the credibility of the events.


Round 1 was declared a "show event" after the organisation failed to prepare adequately for the first round. A pity, because it was a fun event. The second and following rounds were also fraught with problems and silly mistakes once again based on poor management and lack of preparation by the organisers.

The final also became a fiasco after damage to track equipment at the Lyon Motor Show and a big claim being made by the show organisers against the FDS.



In 2008 FFD was revamped under another name, French Drift Community (FDC). Training sessions are planned in 2008 and some competitions in cooperation with other organisations.



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KD RACE
A second drift initiative in France set up by two pro drifters, first saw the light of day in 2009 with events at Anneau du Rhin (France) and Lousada (Portugal).
The Portugal event proved very popular with participants from many countries and is likely to do the same in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 KD Race will also organize the annual drift event at Lousada (Portugal) once more.


GERMANY



IDC / IDS
IDC was originally a drift series running a Pro/Amateur drift championship in Germany.
After 8 years of crawling and people who attempted to drift just about anything on 4 wheels, the German Sport Auto-Yokohama Drift Challenge made some serious steps forward in the 2007 season. With it’s new identity of IDC (International Drift Championship) Driftpromotion also facilitated the involvement of top drivers and external experts in an effort to raise the level of competition. Based on this action, the first ever twin battles were held in Germany in 2007 which were a resounding success with the public.

Consistent failure in 2007/2008 of the main "backer" of the series to commit to any kind of viable business plan and at the same time actively blocking the involvement of any new sponsors resulted in stagnation of what could have been the most promising series in Europe. There were politics at play which had nothing to do with motorsport.

The failure to effectively market the series to the correct target group also led to a lack of confidence and a failure to communicate with drivers was a big problem mainly due to the general attitude of the main sponsors. The organiser invested a lot of energy and money in bringing the competition up to a professional level but even this was not enough to get the main backer to further invest in the series or to commit to it in a true businesslike manner. It was left to individuals to come up with the money.



There was then surprising news from Germany with the announcement of the split of the original management team due to a difference of opinion. It seems that 2 key members parted company with IDC and formed a new IDS initiative for 2009 with new sponsoring agreements and a set of regulations copied from IDC.

IDS leaves a lot to be desired unfortunately with teething problems well into the 2016 season. The marketing of the series is still a weak point and sponsoring deals or finances never get further than the organisers, bringing little or no reward for drivers. Despite attempts to resolve the situation there has been no change. IDS has also attempted to restrict drivers to its own events imposing a "fine" on those who participate in other events in the form of disqualification and non-return of subscription fees. Very unprofessional indeed and bad for the sport. Despite the hype, this series is likely to die out eventually though there are a couple of events a year under the badge of the ADAC IDS Drift series.



DRIFT SENSATION
An interesting initiative from the former manager of IDC appeared in the guise of "DRIFT SENSATION" but with more focus on the show aspects of the sport. No calendar of events has materialised since 2010 but they have cropped up at some DTM events and put on a show with several top level drivers.




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