6 of the Best Drift Cars from Gridlife Midwest
Without a doubt, one of the things we love most about Gridlife is how it always seems to bring out something new each year. 2019 brought out even more new stuff than past years, along with a lot of our old favorites along the way. Time attack, drift, music and lifestyle, even wheel-to-wheel racing—there were surprises seemingly around every turn.
And while you'll undoubtedly read lots of high-level, overarching event coverage around the web, here's a more granular look at six cars and drivers impressed us the most in the drift segment.
1. Vaughn and Chelsea RTR Mustangs
Everywhere these two go, they seem to shred a little bit harder, solo or (especially) in tandem. Gridlife was no exception.
Rain or shine; alone or with lucky ride-along passengers; morning or evening; Friday, Saturday or Sunday (after most had gone home); they were out there, slaying NT555 G2 Nitto tire rubber and putting on a hell of a show for fans and automotive photographers alike. Just two weeks after Hyperfest and a week before FD New Jersey, they were pushing as hard as ever—now that’s dedication.
2. Ryan Tuerck in a Toyota Corolla
After his brutal wall slam in Long Beach, Ryan Tuerck’s GT86 demo car had to be converted to his Formula D competition car, which left him without a demo car for bash-style events like Gridlife.
Not to worry—Tuerck is tight with Toyota, who set him up with this awesome RWD-converted Corolla drift machine.
If this car looks familiar, it should. Built by Papadakis Racing, it's mechanically very similar to Fredric Aasbø’s RWD Corolla FD competition car. The handshake agreement between Tuerck and Toyota specified that the car had to be returned in the condition it was loaned, so Ryan didn't go as crazy with it as he probably would’ve liked. But that didn’t stop him from shredding his fair share of Nitto tires.
3. BMW E46 and Saab "Saabaru" Wagons
Falling in close proximity to Wisconsin's annual Final Bout drift bash (held the weekend prior), this year's Gridlife Midwest Festival attracted plenty of advanced pro-am and amateur drifters.
While several of them left us with positive lasting impressions, maybe none did so quite as much as these two tire killers in their loosely matching E46 and “Saabaru” 2JZ-powered drift wagons.
If either one of these machines were mine, I would probably baby it. Not these guys. Every session they turned up the wick, smoked out the crowd and looked great doing it.
4. Adam LZ Nissan S15
Another Hyperfest holdover, Adam LZ and crew made their first trek out to Gridlife as major players this year.
He treated fans to 2JZ-powered Nissan S15 drift demos and ride-alongs, and entertained showgoers all weekend.
He logged fewer runs than at Hyperfest, and we can’t recall seeing his SR20-powered S13 take the tarmac at all, but nonetheless, it’s always great to see someone so influential in the digital space killin’ it in the real world.
5. Twin Yellow BMW E46 M3s
Call us suckers for harmony and symmetry, but we really liked this sportsman drift effort.
Speaking from personal experience, we're well aware of just how difficult it can be for one gearhead to finish one project car, let alone two BFFs to finish their cars at the same time and in completely matching trim! But that seems to be exactly what's happening here.
We don't recall having seen either of these two drift Aces half past Gridlife, and we can tell they were staying a bit on the cautious side of crazy. But we really hope to see more of them in the future, and we're excited to see what they have in store for us.
6. FCP Euro Mercedes E55 AMG
Something else we're really stoked on is the number of European cars being retrofitted for drift duty. E30s, E46s—they’ve always been preferred chassis across the pond, so it only makes sense that they would be here, as well. But this is ridiculous.
Not only is it an E55 AMG—at a time one of the most powerful and sought-after in the Mercedes line—but it’s campaigned and cared for by the true professionals at FCP Euro, builders of two of three World Challenge TCR competition cars that drove demos during the weekend.
Not even a small engine fire could keep this drift taxi out of contention, when one cropped up Friday night. It popped back up on the grid the next day, as eager and ready to get some as the day before.
But Wait! There’s More!
Can you believe it? All this content and we haven’t even touched on all the time-attack, wheel-to-wheel racing, and general partying that went on at this year's Gridlife Midwest Festival.
Keep an eye out for part two with all that stuff, coming very soon.
Don't forget to follow Gridlife and Driving Line across the web and social, for even more yet to come this year.