Drifting: the unforgiving sport

Cars Culture

Stuff a 600bhp Corvette V8 into a rear-wheel-drive Nissan and things get very smokey and very sideways, very fast.

Ah, Paris.

Home to art, love, wine, landmarks and many, many dented automobiles. They come in all shapes and sizes (the cars, not the bodywork blemishes) – and in those pretty streets lives something a little more exotic than your average 2CV, 205 GTi or Megane R26.R.

Charles dos Santos is a 30-year-old car nut from Paris who does things a little differently to most. Take one example: a Nissan S14 (240SX) into which he has shoehorned a Corvette V8 lump, tuned to deliver 600bhp. Why? Because drifting.

Yes, this beast is used in those competitions where the aim is to go sideways very spectacularly. When it works, it looks incredible. When it goes wrong, there often isn’t an awful lot of room between the car and the edge of the track. Drifters, then, need to be prepared for the sort of heart-breaking damage that even living in the city of love can’t cure, especially after hours and hours of their own labour has gone into building their machines in the first place.

Whilst we were there, Charles showed himself to be so much more than a drifting competitor – and we get to share his passion for big American engines by joining him for a ride in a V10 Viper, and take a look around the garage he’s stocked full of cubic inches.

In this video, we ask Charles why: why cars, why drifting, why a Corvette V8?

We learn a thing or two about destroying tyres in the process and learn where a passion for facing the wrong way can lead.