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Top Drift 2016 Round 1, Willow Springs Balcony

Sub-200hp Corolla (you read that right) gets on the podium.

Luke Munnell
Apr 1, 2016

Let’s make one thing clear from the start: we love professional drifting. Formula D, D1GP, various overseas series — they’re rad, and you really can’t argue against that. Who doesn’t love 1,000-plus hp, six-figure builds, insane rubber/wheel speed/smoke, and the best drifting talent the world has to offer?

Drift slayer Photo 5/162   |   Drift Slayer

But for as awesome as all that is for drift fans (like us), sometimes it’s even more fun to take a giant step back and experience drift culture as it was before its success led to all that; to experience drifting from the POV of those fighting to get to the next step, or those who just want to have fun with it. You know — the way drifting much more commonly takes place around the world?

Toyota Corolla Photo 12/162   |   Toyota Corolla

Top Drift has all that in spades. It’s where you can find the next generation of sponsored FD hopefuls (Top Drift awards Formula D Pro 2 licenses to its top three season finishers) in big-power V8/turbo-six, Wisefab-equipped S-chassis Nissans and JZA Toyotas competing next to a Fox-body Mustang built to look like a cop car, one of two Toyota pickup trucks, or a 100 plus-hp, naturally aspirated, Corolla street car on 195-series tires. We saw all of that and more during this season-opening round. And that Corolla ended up finishing up Third overall (!), on the same set of 195s it drove to and from the track on.

Justin Pawlak Photo 19/162   |   Justin Pawlak

Top Drift is also where you can experience some of the most competitive amateur drifting (in many ways more unpredictable and exciting than the pro ranks), less than 10 feet away from where you can hang out with drivers/friends/family/pets over burgers and beers in the paddock. You can even sleep there, if you’re like many who included a tent with their BBQ and toolboxes for the weekend.

Podium Photo 26/162   |   Podium

As far as who to keep an eye on for the season or whose name to remember for “I knew them back when …” stories, proven recipes for drifting success hold true, and something tells us the S14 rivalry of wheelmen Jason Kim (taking the win in his no. 212 white kouki) and Adam Knapik (in his no. 151 chrome red zenki) born at Balcony this weekend will continue all season. That is, unless party crasher (drift hero) Kelvin Arreola and his Corolla have anything to say about it!

Top 3 cars Photo 30/162   |   Top 3 Cars
Drivers Photo 46/162   |   Drivers
Air filters Photo 62/162   |   Air Filters
S14 Olsen Photo 78/162   |   S14 Olsen
Adam Knapik S14 Photo 94/162   |   Adam Knapik S14
Alfa Romeo 75 Photo 110/162   |   Alfa Romeo 75
Nissan 350Z Photo 162/162   |   Nissan 350Z
By Luke Munnell
325 Articles



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