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29 May 2013

BMW snatches Guinness World Drift Record with F10 M5 (w/ video)

Words by Gracey Maquiniana | Photos courtesy of BMW of North America, LLC
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The last time an American held the Guinness World Record for the longest sustained drift was way back in 2008. 2010 Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. set a drift record of 1,915.7 meters in a stock Ford Mustang, which at the time, was thought to be hard to beat. But we guessed wrong as his record didn't stand for long.
In the past five years, at least three other drivers from England, China, and Abu Dhabi bested his feat, where the last reached a mind-boggling 11,180 meters. But no matter how hard they try, there was always one limiting factor: tires. These guys could drift all the way to the moon and back if only the tires lasted that long. So the BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina found a loophole in the rules to steal the title back for the USA.
To do this mission, they got their hands on a 2013 BMW F10 M5 sedan with a 560 horsepower turbocharged V8 and put BMW Performance Center Instructor Johan Schwartz behind the wheel. Then, they set up a closed 256.3 meter circular course in the BMW Performance Driving School in Greenville, South Carolina. But here's the catch. These guys got an industrial-sized sprinkler system to keep the track wet. Why? Because a wet track has less friction, less friction causes less tire wear, and less tire wear means you can drift much much longer.
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So on the 2nd week of May 2013, Schwartz drifted a BMW M5 on a wet skidpad like there was no tomorrow. He successfully completed 322.5 laps and travelled a distance of 82,523.94 meters - shattering the previous record by more than seven times the distance and more importantly, earning the title back to the USA.
Despite this awesome accomplishment, it can be guessed that the previous record holders won't be so impressed and would be skeptical on the legalities of BMW watering down the track. But for now, let's just bring up our glasses and cheers to Johan Schwartz and BMW for a job well done!