I’ve been lucky enough to go to loads of car events over the past year or so including Japfest and Goodwood Moving Motor Show, which has gone towards making up for the loss of Ashby Folvilles “second Tuesday” event. Last weekend I attended Rockingham for another driving experience day again (I’ve also done a rally experience there). There was also the crazy trip to the Nurburgring too…
I decided on a drifting experience after witnessing some of the crazy antics at Japfest. The drifting at Rockingham is done in a slightly different manner however, making use of a large area with a sprinkler system to keep things slippy. Also, an old-man-spec-normally-aspirated petrol E46 BMW is used as the drift car rather than the mega turbo’d Jap specials doing the drifting at Japfest.
The wet surface made the drifting much more accessible, just slalom the Bee-Em and blip the throttle here and there and feel the car drift left and right. Once the slalom was completed, the next stage was to work the car around a crescent shape part of the track and build speed onto the wet area, turning the car in, and clutch kicking and whacking the throttle down to get the car out of shape. Once unbalanced, it was a case of catching the slide and blipping the throttle enough keep the car out of shape without spinning (or gripping) completely.
It was a massive contrast watching the instructor flick the car out of shape and catch the slide almost before it happened and then drift the car smoothly. I managed a few decent drifts although span out quite a few times. It surprised me how a thoroughly knackered BMW could still cling onto a slippy surface while I stamped on the throttle and jerked the steering wheel doing my best Pastor Maldonado impression. The engine was surprisingly sweet revving, no doubt loosened through the years of abuse.
Overall it was a great day at Rockingham and the instructor was very patient and helpful in getting us drifting. It was well worth the £50 or so pounds it cost. I’m now daydreaming of getting a second car as a drift/track toy, perhaps a dented, well worn BMW with bald tyres will turn up in the classifieds soon?
It could be quite useful for some Nurburgring abuse too!