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Video: watch a load of tanks drift on ice
The US Marine Corps tests out its hardware... sideways
Drifting has become visual shorthand for ‘having a laugh in a vehicle with engines’. Whether it’s the likes of Ken Block and Vaughn Gittin Jr nuking tyres in uber-tuned racecars, or Ferrari and Ford plumbing electronic oversteer aids into their traction control systems, it’s pretty clear that drifting has become a cult in much more than Japanese modding circles.
But what about… the military? With all the supersonic jets, stealth submarines and remote-control drones, the armed forces have plenty of mouth-watering hardware in their toybox. But it’s not exactly drift-friendly, is it? You can’t powerslide an aircraft carrier.
The US Marines beg to differ, as seen in this delightful video of its M1A1 tank crews undergoing cold weather training in Norway. What appears to have been an exercise in guiding a 63-ton armour-plated war machine on sheet ice in the safest manner possible quickly descends into a balletic competition between drivers, determining who can hold the longest drift in their 1500bhp Abrams battle tank. Yee, and indeed, hah.
It appears the optimum technique is to turn into the corner quite suddenly, keeping the tank’s 120mm smoothbore gun aimed in the direction you want to go, as the tracked chassis pivots beneath. As the momentum swings the tank around, the best drivers lock the outside tracks to sustain the slide, before booting the throttle to power out of the turn.
This is worth making a note of if you ever find yourself needing to execute a perfect powerslide away from the enemy in a particularly hostile supermarket car park argument.
Without further ado, we present ‘Murica’s finest tank commanders. Now, who do we see about entering one of these in World Rallycross?