The Internet tells me that the layman’s definition for drifting involves hurling one’s car toward a wall and avoiding said wall to miss it completely. Others define this action as an art, where the driver effectively controls what is an out of control vehicle. It is also technically the opposite of grip driving, where the driver causes the car to slide or drift laterally. It seems simple enough, as it takes the pull of the hand break at a sharp turn to cause the car to drift. Putting all definitions aside, I can definitely tell you that drifting is not for the faint of heart, but the experience is beyond epic!
Not to be confused with racing, drifting is truly a subjective sport where the drivers are judged on both facets of style and execution. It is most definitely a controlled task, where a true driver’s experience is put to the test. Drivers here are not scored based on time, yet on their form. To learn more about drifting, we were invited by none other than the amazing team at Traction OFF to attend and experience the art of the drift with Mubarak Al-Rumaidhi. Previously appearing in our bazaar pages, the Red Bull Car Park Drift champion always had a vision for the automotive sport industry in Kuwait. Mubarak even gave up a career in the corporate world to pursue his innate passion and skill for drifting full time. The Traction OFF team went on to compete in and win the Red Bull Car Park Drift in 2012, and Mubarak is also the Race Director for the Red Bull Formula One. The amazing success of that campaign is a portrayal of his passion, and the start of a brand new field in the local scene of motorsports in Kuwait and the region. However, even after his successes, Mubarak still saw how people here reacted to drifting in a negative manner, deeming the act as simply reckless.
Tired of all the negative pre-conceived notions that exist in Kuwait about drifting, Mubarak and Talal Al-Othman decided to do something about changing this image, by expanding the activity to include a crowd that knows very little about cars (enter this bazaar writer). Mubarak realized that this was his only chance to make people from different walks of life understand what goes on behind the wheel during a drift. During the planning phase, where Mubarak and Talal began to draft a list of names of people who truly wouldn’t know what to expect from this thrilling event, online automotive magazine Qabaq came into play, and a scheduled date was made at the Sirbb Circuit for “Traction OFF – Exclusive Drift Experience, Kuwait’s Thrill Event.” We were given our very own Traction OFF Piston invite, while our friends were also allowed to come to the circuit so that they would enjoy seeing this staff writer scream her lungs out. As a passenger, I must say that Mubarak has all the patience in the world. He noticed that I was a nervous wreck right before we stepped into his suped-up Nissan. He was extremely careful to explain to me the complete procedure, and then it happened. For those who don’t know, I have an irrational fear of cars, let alone driving. So imagine being on this thrill ride! Scary? Absolutely. Concerned for my life because I feel like Mubarak is going to lose control of the car? Not even close. He made sure that all of the drifts were well rehearsed and explained to the passengers, including myself. He also mentally prepared us for the adrenaline rush that would follow. The buzz was incredible, and I am definitely encouraged to try this again, knowing that I’m in the safe hands of a mature driver who simply knows what he’s doing with the car!
By the end of the drift, which I thought ended too quickly by the way, everyone ran up to me and asked me how it was. Even though I never thought I would utter the words, amazing is an understatement. We hope that this event proves as a fruitful start to many more to come, all toward encouraging safe and fun drifting practices in Kuwait and the region.