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Lateral thinking: BMW M5 sets Guinness World Record for longest sustained drift

BMW M5 Guinness World Record driftThe Bugatti Veyron Super Sport may hold the Guinness World Record for fastest production car, but BMW knows there’s still plenty of glory to be had going sideways as well as straight.

A BMW M5 set the Guinness World Record longest sustained drift at the company’s Performance Center near Greenville, South Carolina, with performance driving instructor Johan Schwartz at the wheel.

For those of you who spend most of your time acting like responsible adults, drifting involves sliding a car around a track in a controlled fashion. Drivers allow the car’s power to overcome traction, breaking the rear end loose, but balance steering and throttle inputs to keep the car from completely spinning. A fairly crappy movie was even made about it.

The record-setting distance was 51.278 miles, beating the 41.71-mile mark set in Abu Dhabi in February.

Of course, BMW didn’t just release Schwartz and his M5 on an interstate to drift a distance equal to some people’s morning commute.

For the record attempt, the M5 drifted around an 841-foot circular skidpad, completing 322.5 laps.

The M5 used in the attempt was an unmodified example from the BMW Performance Center’s driving school fleet, equipped with an M DCT dual-clutch automated transmission. The fresh set of Continental ContiSport tires it wore at the beginning of the drifting marathon probably needed to be replaced by the end.

Organized drifting started in Japan, so popular drifting cars tend to be Japanese. Affordable models like the Toyota Corolla AE86 and Nissan 240SX are popular for those looking to bald out their tires.

However, the only real requirements for a drift car are rear-wheel drive, to let the back end slide and for handling balance, and enough power to spin those back wheels, breaking traction and initiating a drift.

With a 560 horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, the M5 was a perfect candidate. Still, with a price tag of $90,200, hitting a wall mid-drift would be very expensive.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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