Hyperfest Hijinks at Street Driven Tour
In the world of automotive enthusiasm, there’s serious business (engine building and tuning, professional motorsports, legality, etc.), and there’s fun (hooning); and nowhere do the two mix in an enjoyable and relatively safe manner quite like they do in drifting. Even in the professional side of things, where image, reputation and corporate partnerships are every bit as serious as the business of building and tuning competitive machines, at the end of the day you’re still sliding sideways, next to guys you’re probably friends with, in front of thousands of adoring fans, with billowing smoke and ear-piercing engine notes in tow.
But alas, wherever the passionate endeavor to be the best, emotion and stress will follow. Touring the nation in a series of events where professional and amateur drifters can enjoy the spirit of drifting, free from serious business, is what Street Driven Tour is all about. So, when picking a venue to launch their season each year, Hyperfest’s annual bash at Virginia International Raceway has for three years in a row proven itself to be perfect.
The Street Driven Tour base recipe is simple: Start with a full day of bash-style, non-competitive drifting open to professional and amateur driftmen alike, and sprinkle in some added complementary elements to taste. Usually this consists of things like a car-show component, Drift Mini Games, Drift Ride-Alongs and the Tire Massacre; but within the context of Hyperfest hijinks, added debauchery and an entire extra day is needed — along with a few hours the night before — for the Barbie Car Challenge.
Remember the plastic, battery-powered Big Wheels of your childhood? Remember the soapbox derbies that were likely part of your Shop or S.T.E.M. classes a little later? Well, the Barbie Car Challenge combines the worst of both of these in a downhill race for grown-ups.
Engines, motors, brakes and tires are strictly prohibited, cheating is frowned upon, sobriety is subject to “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, crashes are more common than finishes, and after a long day of serious NASA/UTCC racing business, it’s just what the boys and girls need to take the edge off and ready themselves for the main event to come.
Anti-Serious, Serious Drifting
Hyperfest has routinely featured some sort of drifting component, but things have really picked up in the past two years that Street Driven Tour has joined forces for its season-opening event.
The format is simple: bash-style drifting, all day long (this year for two days, part of Friday and all day Saturday), open to pros and ams alike — provided they pass a U.S. Drift tech inspection.
The fun, non-competitive event pulls more and more of the East Coast and mid-Atlantic region’s talented ams each year, with plenty of crazy machinery in tow.
Saturdays are typically the day for Street Driven Tour, but this time around the early birds got to kill tires a full day early, as well.
What’s maybe the coolest aspect of Street Driven Tour stops is the professional involvement. Seeing your favorite pros compete at FD stops is awesome, but there’s something equally as cool, in a completely different way, in seeing and being able to drift with them at recreational events like Street Driven — sort of like seeing live music in a small club.
If you’re a fan but your car’s under the wrench (or if you want to give a friend or special someone a treat they’ll never forget), you can buy ride-along passes that put you right in the passenger seat of your favorite pros’ machines. Try to guess which pro's vehicle we'd be most excited to Gittin' into?
Tuner Evolution x Street Driven Tour
What would any automotive festival be without a show? Street Driven Tour always brings one along, and taking those reigns at VIR this year was Tuner Evolution.
Packing the designated show area with dozens upon dozens of the area’s cleanest makes and models spanning the import, domestic, foreign, late-model and vintage spectrum is a tall order, and the Tuner Evo crew proved themselves to be among the best to fill it.
While you won’t see as many vendors in rural Southern Virginia as you would at, say, a show in SoCal or New York, Street Driven and Tuner Evo brought them out as well, catering to today’s automotive enthusiasts like only they can.
HyperFest always includes some silliness in the schedule. Years past have hosted everything from three-legged races and petting zoos to car “rollover challenges,” where competitors see how many times they can roll their cars after hitting an off-angle jump. Really.
This year’s show brought along events like the blind golf cart race, PRS Guitars Air Guitar Contest, monster truck rides, lawnmower racing (rural Virginia, remember?), Exedy Rally Rides, off-road driving and more.
While Street Driven Tour tended to the business of drifting throughout the day, lots of drifters and showgoers took part in some of this along the way.
Hallmark of Street Driven Tour are their signature “drift games,” and after everyone had had just about all the drifting they could handle, the last bit of energy and enjoyment was happily spent on such sophisticated contests of skill as the hard park challenge...
...and 360-degree drift.
Out With a Bang!
Normally the event-ending Tire Massacre burnout content would fit into that last bit, but it’s becoming so popular at Street Driven Tour events that it warrants its own chapter — doubly so this time.
This year saw not a single bad attempt at sustaining a burnout through each participant’s 90 seconds on stage, i.e., the “crater” at VIR (what was this thing built for, anyway?).
Everything from Miatas to Supras, RWDs to FWDs, even a brand-spanking-new Mustang spinning donuts within the very tight confines of K-rails put on an absolutely killer show.
But without a doubt, top honors went to the driver of one V8-swapped Mazda Miata, who grenaded his clutch and flywheel mid-sixth-gear burnout, shooting glowing red shrapnel from the poor little roadster in all directions (including straight through its windshield), engulfing it in flames when one piece pierced a fuel line and ignited. It was, as the kids call it, "LIT."
Surprisingly (miraculously?) no one was hurt, and the driver escaped the inferno, cracked open a beer and celebrated having put on one of the most awesome closes to a HyperFest and Street Driven event ever seen... and hopefully not seen again (seriously, that was crazy).
Miss out on the action?
Catch HyperFest at VIR next year, try to make it out to any of Street Driven Tour’s remaining three nationwide stops this year (St. Louis, Las Vegas and Atlanta), and hit up Tuner Evolution’s site to catch an event near you.