Will it Drift?
Driving a car on the limit is an art. Drifting it is a dark one. And here we were with someone who made it look like business as usual
When ‘virulent’ isn’t enough to describe the car, ‘exhilarating’ won’t do justice to the experience and ‘rambunctious’ doesn’t quite capture the sounds, you know you’ve reached the right venue. And I was on the passenger seat with Gautam Singhania, who was piloting his BMW E 46 as he made its backside play catch-me-if-you-can with the corners.
This is possibly the best seat in the house when Gautam Hari Singhania, chairman and managing director, Raymond Group, is driving his E 46 around a drifting track on the outskirts of Mumbai. So there I was, strapped in and ready to take off.
As he floored the throttle, the thunderous exhaust went ballistic, in the process killing all other noises in my head. Having made place for itself in my cranium, it then went on to blow up many thousands more of my grey cells. Under clearly skilled hands, the E 46 devoured the corners, almost an extension of its master’s mind.
A long time before I’d had enough, my time in India’s first drift car, driven by the winner of the Allstars European Drift Championship 2012, was up. So that’s what terrible and brilliant feel at the same time.
Called Will it Drift, this was a competition arranged on 2 June by the Super Car Club (SCC). Being an open event, the general motoring public got an opportunity to slide their cars on a racetrack and try bending some physics in the process. And bend some they did, in a gallery that included the Honda City, Corolla Altis, Honda Accord, Maruti Ritz, and wait for it, a Nissan Micra, among others.
Fortunately for the participants, Gautam, who is also Chairman of the SCC, wasn’t participating in the event (his BMW would have had the Micras for breakfast). He was there to motivate the participants and teach them a thing or two about drifting, apart from burning some rubber himself, for the fun of it.
The E 46, with its monstrous V8 LS 03 engine and 650 race-bred horses, is India’s first exclusive drifting car. The crowd at the event went berserk every time the car passed by, leaving behind a fat cloud of smoke and a distinct smell of vaporised rubber. I don’t mind trippin’ on that all day long.
The SCC also organises the Parx Supercar Show, which usually sees a parade of Aventadors, Ferraris and BMWs making their way through the city’s roads. Among the prized acquisitions in Singhania’s garage are a Ferrari 458, a Lamborghini Gallardo, and a Lotus Elise, to name a few.
At the Will it Drift event, the participants were given some time to acquaint themselves with the track. The Honda City with cherry coloured rims was the crowd favourite and attracted the maximum hoots and cheers.
After the final round, the results showed Abhinav Agarwal, driving the City, had clinched first place. Arvaan Joshi in a Polo was runner-up, and Kejas Shah came in third, in a Micra. Respect.
And my ride in Gautam’s car was easily the best thing I’ve done in four-odd minutes. Ever.
(Words: Nishant Parekh)