The Most Extreme Drift Cars Keep Roasting Their Tires When They Go Straight

Lots of noise, even more smoke.

There’s something particularly remarkable about drift cars when they’re mostly pointed forward, yet still spinning their rear wheels.

Car(s): E46 BMW, Nissan 370Z
Location: Willow Springs Horse Thief Mile, Rosamond, CA
Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram + Twitter: @16vPete)
Camera: Canon 6D Mark + EF 50mm 1.8II AF

I snapped this during GridLife’s Skip Day at Willow Springs. Pro-drifters were taking people on ride-alongs, and people like me were snapping photos and shooting video for content. This particular spot at Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs is especially gnarly for drifting; they go from tight corners where they’re mostly sideways, to a decent little straightaway. Cars with enough horsepower (like those pictured) straighten out a tad, but still continue roasting their tires.

It makes for good entertainment, this switch from slow, sideways, and an almost complete loss of traction, to very fast, less sideways, and still an almost complete loss of traction. It’s also in a portion of the track that’s after a long downhill before it heads back uphill, sort of like a triumphant final corner. It’s loud as hell in person, and I love it so much.

Peter Nelson

Peter NelsonPeter Nelson has been wrenching on and playing with cars since he started driving them quickly between the cones at Chicagoland autocross events in his late teens. Nowadays, he can be found wringing out his Mazda2 at tracks all over California. His writing background includes Winding Road, Donut Media, and Autolist.com. He's also an avid cyclist and '80s/'90s action film connoisseur. Contact the author here.