BMW M is extending its support to a form of motorsport that doesn’t typically see factory involvement: drifting. Although letting the rear end slide out in the turns costs precious tenths of a second in competition, drifting has become something of a spectator sport over the last several years, and its presence seems to be growing. BMW M will be sponsoring the Red Bull Driftbrothers, who will be using a pair of M4 Competition models for competition in addition to exhibition shows starting with the 2021 season.
“BMW M has always stood for motorsports at the highest level and in all of its diversity, whereby we are also open to disciplines such as drift sports. The Red Bull Driftbrothers belong to the absolute top group of the scene in terms of driving skills and technology. The BMW M4 Competition is an ideal new competition vehicle for both of them to achieve success during the 2021 season,” said Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M.
Long before BMW M established a factory presence in drifting with the Red Bull Driftbrothers, the BMW brand had long been considered a favorite of drifters. The reason is simple; with near perfect weight distribution, rear-drive, and engines that essentially ask to be revved, BMWs from the days of the 2002 to the M5 CS are almost built to drift. For years, BMWs with camber arms and lengthened tie rods have been fixtures at drift events the world over; extending factory support to a growing sector of motorsport only makes sense.
The Red Bull Driftbrothers team is made up of brothers Elias Hountondji and Johannes Hountondji, and they don’t just drive their drift cars, they’re intimately involved with the build process, and handle preparation and optimization themselves. The G82 M4 Competition is said to provide a near perfect platform for the team. “We were very positively surprised just how much effort BMW M has put into optimising the vehicle’s stiffness. Therefore, we were able, for example, to use most of the front end without modifications,” explained Elias Hountondji. “I have never seen an engine like the one in the BMW M4 Competition, a more or less thoroughbred racing engine in a road legal vehicle. The oil supply even functions at centrifugal forces of 1.5g and more. We consider this very important,” added Johannes Hountondji.
The Red Bull Driftbrothers are slated to use the M4 Competition in five racing events during the 2021 season, and will also host shows at MotoGP races held at venues across Europe including the Sachsenring, Red Bull Ring, in addition to an appearance at the 24-hour Nürburgring race.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]