The BMW M5 that set the record for the world’s longest drift was a fully stock, unmodified production vehicle fitted with Continental ContiSport ultra-high performance tires and piloted by BMW Performance Center driving instructor Johan Schwartz. His effort of 51.3 miles of continuous drifting required him to lap the 841 foot skidpad a whopping 322.5 times while forcing the car sideways the entire time.
The BMW M5 sedan’s distance of 51.3 miles of nonstop drifting didn’t just beat the previous record – it destroyed it. Abdo Feghali was the previous record holder, having drifted 6.95 miles in Abu Dhabi behind the wheel of a heavily modified Chevrolet Camaro SS. It should be noted that when Abdo Feghali set the record in the Camaro, he did so on a dry parking lot whereas the BMW M5 drifting record – while incredibly impressive – was performed on a specially prepared skidpad at the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina complete with a watering system that allowed the car to slide more easily. This not only made it easier to keep the car sideways for 51.3 miles but it also would have helped to keep the M5s tires from burning up during all of that drifting. That watering system is what has raised some controversy within the drifting community but in the end, the people at the Guinness World Records headquarters has the final say on what does and doesn’t count for the record. In this case, Guinness has approved BMW’s 51.3 mile drift session so by accord of the most well recognized record-keeping company in the world – the BMW M5 is king.
When the record was set earlier this year by Abdo Feghali and his race-ready Chevrolet Camaro SS (he also attempted the run with a Camaro ZL1 but quit due to vibration issues), many believed that the record would be very hard to beat. The main limitation on drifting record attempts is the quick wear of the rear tires but in watering the course, BMW has solved that problem. The wet tires would take significantly longer to wear out to the point where the driver would not be able to continue so allowing a watering system could open the door up to a great many record-hopefuls who have access to a simple system of PVC piping and a big open piece of tarmac. Because of that, I wouldn’t be very surprised to see someone else come out with a similar setup and take the record away from BMW and Johan Schwartz.
BMW didn’t just throw together this little display for the sake of getting their name in the Guinness Book of World Records – they also used their M5 drifting record to raise $20,000 for the BMW Charity Pro-Am. The Pro-Am helps to generate funds for around 150 different charity groups around the world and those who attended the record setting event were also privilege to a hot lap around the test track with a professional driver behind the wheel as well as test drive opportunities in a variety of the German sport luxury builder’s current lineup. Attendees could even test the new X3 Sports Activity Vehicle on a specially prepared offroad course.
The video below offers a quick look at the record setting run by the BMW M5 sedan that claimed the world’s longest drift courtesy of BMW USA.
Do you think that the watered track should have been permitted for the record run? Tell us what you think in our comment section below!