Longest Vehicle Drift Record Goes To…

While some Guinness World Records are fairly easy to obtain, some take great planning, effort, and skill to complete. For BMW, they decided to go for one of the toughest records of all; the longest drift over a period of eight hours. If you like to keep up-to-date with this sort of thing, you’ll know they’ve been teasing this record for some time and the video of their attempt has now been released for all to see.

Using the BMW M5, Johan Schwartz was lucky enough to be the driver on the day and he had the experience to bring the record attempt to life having worked in the BMW Performance Driving School as an instructor for many years. Funnily enough, he has attempted the record before this after achieving just over 51 miles with the previous M5. This time, they completed more planning and came up with an ingenious method of refueling mid-drift.

In his first record, Schwartz completed 322 full laps of the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina. This time, he smashed the record and completed a whopping 2,000 full laps all while drifting around the circle-shaped track. With a total of 232.5 miles on the clock, the new record has been taken away from the Toyota GT86 which managed 89 miles in 2014 before then setting a new record of 102 miles in 2017.

At this point, you might be wondering how the M5 managed to go 232.5 miles without refueling and, as we’ve hinted already, it didn’t. After much thought, BMW developed a clever car-to-car refueling technique that allowed Matt Mullins, BMW driving instructor, to drift alongside the M5 and refuel from a gasoline tank mounted in the trunk of the second car. Considering the M5 boasts a biturbo 4.4-liter V8 engine offering 600 horsepower, the challenge required five refuels over the course of the 232.5 miles; it was almost like something you would see in the cinema. As the two cars drifted alongside one another, a team member was forced to lean out of the window and attach the nozzle to the gas tank.

In the video, we see a slightly nervous BMW team who were clearly eager to break the world record but also nervous of the risks that this refueling technique provided (namely, a fire hazard). During the refueling, the two BMW’s collided a couple of times but the damp road surface allowed the drift to continue. With no interruptions, the driver drifted almost sideways for an impressive eight hours. As a result of the refueling technique, BMW actually broke a second record on the same day; longest water-assisted twin vehicle drift; 39.25 miles.

If you watch one video today, make sure it’s this one because it’s impressive and somehow manages to get the nerves jangling. In addition to the fire hazard, there was also a real concern that Matt Butts, responsible for leaning out the window, could get trapped between the two vehicles. In fifty seconds, up to 18 gallons moved from one car to the next and the BMW team actually had a few issues on the test day. However, everything came together when it counted and the M5, along with Johan Schwartz, Matt Mullins, and Matt Butt, are now in the Guinness World Record books!