I recently started thinking about the plight of the daily driven drift cars – drivers want to get reckless at the track and shred some tires, but still have to get to work on Monday and pick up groceries on their way home. Those who want to compete and elevate their drift status but need to drive on the streets without fear of getting their plates pulled. I’m talking about drifters who daily their racecars.
When I asked one of them about dailying a drift car, I barely got my sentence out before he said “No. Just no.”
“Here’s how you daily drive a drift car,” explained Kristoff Hemet, a local grassroots drifter who does just that. “You get a truck and trailer and tow it to the track.” I guess that pretty much sums up the struggle of a daily.
Here’s the difference between daily drivers and towers. If you get to the track with your drift car, tied down to your truck and trailer, you can basically do whatever the hell you want on the track. Sure, snapping an axle in half or snapping a tie rod is a pain in the ass and you’ll spend some time in the shop fixing it up, but at least you can get home to the shop. If you daily your drift car and break something crucial, you’re essentially fucked. You’re stranded, unless you can find a shop in town, drive a friend’s car out and fix your issue at the track. If you have no luck with that, you have to depend on a ride from a pal and then somehow get your car back home.
Sometimes the broken component doesn’t render a car immobile, but that doesn’t mean daily drivers are in the clear. One of the biggest struggles of drifting your grocery getter is keeping it street legal. If you lose your bumper or break a taillight out on track, you’ve got to rely on getting home under the police radar.
A few drift enthusiasts I know will say it’s just not worth it to shred tires on the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll still go out and party on the track – skids are life. But they will try to avoid literally shredding tires. Busting a tire can damage the underside of a car or the quarter panels. And when you daily your racecar, you have to fix that before you head to the office the next morning.
Keeping a drift car street legal is by far one of the biggest challenges faced by serious drifters. With Canadian Sport Compact Series, or CSCS, trying to enforce mandatory cages for all drift races this year, the problem quickly gained attention. Many drivers starting out in competition at the CSCS level simply can’t afford to cage their cars. It’s not street legal, meaning drivers are required to not only cage their cars, but also acquire a truck and trailer to get it to the races. That can be close to $10,000, a huge deterrent to skilled drivers trying to get into competitive drifting.
With all that in mind, it didn’t take long for CSCS to retract the cage rule for the season. The official rulebook for 2017 didn’t come out until about a month or so before the first event, and drivers without the financial capability to install a cage and get a truck and trailer were pissed, to say the least. After some backlash, the cage rule was suspended for the first two events, and has recently been suspended for the remainder of the season, as drivers simply couldn’t afford to compete in CSCS. That’s a big win for new competitors, and kudos to CSCS for recognizing the struggle and helping out the grassroots drift scene.
Daily drivers still know how to party though, in spite of all their obstacles. Many drift groups or just solo drivers looking to have a good time manage to get on track and do sweet skids. They’ll still pour everything they have into making their daily as cool – and street legal – as it can be, and still make it out to competitive events when the opportunity arises. So as the plight of the daily driven driftcars might be rough and paved with broken car parts and poor choices, they know how to party on track while still grabbing groceries on the way home. -words from Sam, photos by Devo