When there’s snow and ice at Spa or on the Nürburgring the last thing you want is to organise a race. However, in Siberia the conditions are excellent for winter drifting. So, when a local track in Krasnoyarsk called the Red Ring is frozen solid, that’s the perfect time for the Winter Drift Battle.
Winter Drift Battle in Krasnoyarsk
The Winter Drift Battle in Krasnoyarsk is the brainchild of local drifter Arkady Tsaregradsev. It’s a championship to help drifters from around the country take their minds off building their summer cars and have some old-school grassroots fun on the snow and ice. Most of the drivers participating usually race 1000bhp monsters that will delaminate a set of Toyo R888s in a matter of minutes. During winter they use their Ladas to keep their wits sharp.
“Baby, it’s cold outside”
The racing is done in conditions you could call tricky. The temperatures usually hover between -10°C (fairly nippy) to -29°C (you’ll wish you stayed indoors). When the Motul Media Crew visited Siberia, the temperatures were surprisingly mild… a balmy -5°C. In other words, a warm day in Krasnoyarsk.
Although the temperatures might be below zero the atmosphere isn’t. The Winter drift battle is one of these events where all of the drivers are one big family. There’s fierce competition on the track but it’s all about the fun. And everyone is really warm and welcoming.
The winter cars are Ladas. And round here they’re just as Iconic as the Nissan S-chassis or GT-Rs they race during summer. These Ladas are all but relics of a Soviet past, but they’re fully prepared for the purpose of drifting on ice. To know more about these Ladas, check out this story on these.
Although most cars are Ladas there are some Japanese cars that are participating as well. There’s a Honda, a prototype Smart coupé and even a Mitsubishi Colt, though the award for most crazy is a blue Toyota Starlet, a small hatchback that packs a serious punch.
Although that is definitely not the craziest part about the car. Upon closer inspection we notice the driver is sitting on the back seat instead of the front. It’s all in the name of getting weight over the rear wheels to give the studded tyres grip.
Not for the faint hearted
The biggest reason the Winter Drift Battle is so famous in Russia is because of the skill of the drivers and the talent it takes to compete at the top level.
To give you an idea of just how difficult this is, here’s a very quick lap. The clipping point into the first corner is a vast concrete wall that you drift into at 90km/h. On ice. Often drivers use a technique called backwards entry. This is where the back of the car is entering the corner first and the front wheels are nudging it towards the apex. That’s just the first corner. There are eight more after that. In order to get that perfect 99-point run you need to execute the course without a single mistake. As fast as possible.
If you’ve managed to wrap your head around that it’s not hard to see why Russia has so many excellent drifting champions. They just hone their skills all year round whether it’s in Nissan S15s or Lada 2102s.