Red Bull Drift Shifters

A couple of Saturday’s ago I went along to the first Red Bull Drift Shifters event just down the road near Victoria Park in the centre of Auckland. They had closed off a small section of road, added pinball-like obstacles, created a viewing grandstand out of a multi-storey car park, and invited the world’s best car drifters to come and play.

The idea was dreamt up by Kiwi ‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett and involved cars ‘drifting’ around various obstacles. Rather than just having judges mark them though, they had proximity sensors in the obstacles hooked up to a computer scoring system, so when they drifted past the obstacles and triggered the sensors they’d get points. And what do points mean….

It was a simple format, a practice in the early afternoon, then quarters, semi’s and a final.It was brilliant atmosphere, with thousands of people lining the small street and finding every available vantage point they could. Seeing the scores on the big screen in real time as they completed their ‘pinball’ combos was pretty cool. For a first-time event like this to happen just down the road was awesome. It probably helped it was a free event and a really sunny day, but I think it’s a format that they take to other cities around the world because it’s so compact and ‘immediate’ for spectators.

We didn’t get there until the end of the practice session, but managed to find a spot pretty near the front row, which looked like a good place to take a few pictures.  Here are some of the ones I took:

For a summary video of the event, which shows much more than my (single-vantage-point) pictures do, have a look at their website:

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