Drivers sign up for isle debut of 'drifting'
Eighteen potential participants signed up for the first open "drifting" event at the Aloha Stadium at an informational meeting last night, where safety and exemplary conduct were stressed.
Novice to advanced drivers can participate Jan. 6 at Aloha Stadium's lower Halawa parking lot. The event is open to all and is a qualifier for the main event: the Xtreme World Drift Tour on Feb. 2 and 3. Novices will not be allowed in the February event, which will have the top 32, including top drifters from Japan, Canada and the U.S. mainland.
"Drifting is the fastest-growing motor sport in history," said Tracy Arakaki, president and chief executive officer of Xtreme Drift World Tour. Arakaki said an exhibition show at the February event will be "like a rock show on wheels."
Drifting is achieved by a controlled slide of the vehicle, either by pulling on the emergency brake to lock the rear tires (beginner method) or while the car is at speed, hitting the clutch, revving up the motor, then dropping the clutch.
Race officials and organizers held the meeting to answer questions and dispel rumors about the requirements of the upcoming event and provided details on the rules. Aloha Stadium Authority members approved the events earlier this month in a 7-1 vote, and organizers are being careful to remain on good terms.
The first event is scheduled for next Friday, a "dress rehearsal" for the main event, and is closed to the public.
Advanced, intermediate and novices (using only the beginner track) will be allowed to participate.
"We're trying to be as safe as possible," said Steve Oliberos, a professional race car driver and the top American drifter.
"We have to maintain a good code of conduct because we're under a magnifying glass," he said.
Reckless behavior will not be tolerated.
"Our biggest thing is the conduct and etiquette in and around the event," said Sean Oliberos, logistics officer for Team Xtreme Drift World Tour, and Steve's brother.
If one person leaves the stadium and "burns rubber, the whole thing will be shut down," Sean Oliberos said. Anyone caught on or off the track, or known to speed excessively, will not be allowed to participate.
Drivers must use a minimum four-point harness, roll cages and safety suits.
One man expressed concerns that some drivers would not be able to afford some of the safety equipment in time for the first event, but officials said the gear is necessary and that prize money would be offered.
Sean Oliberos said the event might gain national and international exposure on television and afford an opportunity for local drivers to get noticed. Organizers are negotiating with TV networks to televise the event, and have gotten a Taiwan broadcasting deal.
Any questions on event rules can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.