Drift Kings, the international drift series, has just wrapped up its first successful round in Italy. The series was formerly known as the King of Europe International Drift Series, but starting this year it will continue under the news guise of the Drift Kings International Drifting Series. The series may have a new name, but it still has the same strong vision from organiser Mike Procureur. We asked him for his thoughts on the new season.
Mike, for 2019 you’ve decided to go with a new name. What was the reasoning behind this call?
Well, King of Europe had pretty much outgrown its name. Last year we organised a series in Asia as well as local series. King of Europe, King of Italy, Queen of Europe, King of Asia, it was all getting a bit complicated. At the start we just wanted to update the logo, but then we decided to do a full rebrand.
There are so many division and events around the globe - do you attend them all?
Although we rely on local partners for practical stuff, I do attend every event on the calendar, even the ones in Asia. I don’t think I’ve missed an event in the last 14 years.
What is the strength of the Drift Kings series?
I think it’s a combination of what we have to offer on and off the track. Drifters are a special breed of racers and they value the camaraderie and atmosphere off-track almost as much as the excitement on the track. So we aim to provide as good a show as humanly possible. On top of that, the level at the Drift Kings competitions is incredibly high, so drivers from across the globe come to challenge our competitors and that makes for a great spectacle.
Last year you had some really big names as guest drivers, like Daigo Saito. Are you expecting more guests of that calibre this year?
Yes, of course, I don’t know if we’ll see Daigo this year as he’s competing in Japan with Toyota Gazoo racing, but I’m pretty sure we’ll see a lot of big names popping up in the next few months.
What’s your personal highlight of the season? Is there anything that you’re specifically looking forward to?
Yes, we’ve got a new round in Austria, at a small circuit in Melk, and I think that’s a great place to go. We’re also starting a series in Cyprus which is something I’m really looking forward to.
Drifting seems to attract more women than the average motorsport, and you also have an all-female Drift Queen competition. What makes drifting so attractive to women?
We have a fair number of women competing, but still not enough. I think it’s a combination of factors. First of all, drifting is very accessible. You don’t have to work up through the ranks or get a special licence. If you practise enough and you’re confident enough, and if you can build yourself a decent car, find a budget - you can come and race with us. But we do still notice that - for some reason - it’s still more challenging for women to secure a decent budget than it is for men.