CRAZY CAR DRIFTING in Abuja: 7 Things Petrolheads Can Always Expect

Last Updated On January 15, 2021.

There’s nothing as bone-chilling as a driver car drifting through dedicated markers, throttling like there’s no tomorrow and watching his rear wheels cough thick clouds of inky whiteness at insane speeds. Absolutely nothing!

But, what makes a car drifting act perfect?

Is it the skilled driver handling the wheel, his hyper modded whip or the enthralled crowd of petrolheads seemingly screaming at the top of their lungs and asking for some action?

Let’s see.

Crazy car drifting for petrolheads in Nigeria

The Car Drifting Culture of Abuja, Nigeria.

Tokyoites could have heard this like a thousand times but for context, car drifting started out in the mountainous regions of Japan in the 1980s, and as drifting competitions such as The Granturismo D1 Grand Prix and other championship races sprang from the island nation, many automobile enthusiasts across the globe began trying out drifting techniques and organising drifting events on their own turf.

Since then, public interest in the extreme motorsport has been on the rise particularly after the release of a 1995 Japanese manga series, Initial D (featuring the Toyota Corolla AE86 or Trueno), sensational car drifting videos like Pluspy and subsequent moviefilm (see Borat 2 for comedic reference πŸ˜…) and games including Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Cars, Baby Driver, Gameloft’s Asphalt and EA’s Need for Speed.

Bringing this home, Nigeria’s car drifting culture kicked off in Abuja – the country’s central and landlocked Federal Capital Territory (FCT) founded during the reign of Murtala Mohammed as Head of State – in the early 2000s.

Back in the day, talented motorists converged at popular highways in the city with their BMWs, Mercedes Benz, Hondas, Toyotas, Trucks, and other vehicles to perform ghastly stunts on roads often crowded with spectators.

And when the smoke settled, all that was left was totalled cars, intense skid marks, and on some occasions, injured bystanders.

BMW car drifting donuts in Abuja, Nigeria
Skid marks on a road surface in Abuja. Image source – @iam_grantpictures

Authorities like the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Police were usually against these “illegal” street racing drills and they often clamped down on such auto shows in the FCT.

Observing this as an obstacle to their new-found obsession, car drifting enthusiasts moved to improvised and purpose-built drifting locations in Central Business District, Utako, Garki, Eagle Square, Jabi, Karmo, Wuye, Idu, and Life Camp over the years.

The Abuja drifting community is stronger than ever, and there’s no denying that all authorities can do now is take a backseat and watch the adrenaline pumping action unfold!

The Car Drifting Bug Spreads Across Nigeria.

After the success of drifting events like the Drift League Championship organised by Dark Knight Motorsports in Abuja, petrolheads across the country took a cue and in the next couple of years, Lagosians too, were entertained by never-say-die car performers in their bustling city of excellence.

BMW E30 3-series at The Drift League Competition
BMW makes its way into the Drift League Championship arena. Image source – @driftleague_

Again, the BMW Club of Nigeria in partnership with several sponsors organised drag race events like the Xmas Autofest in 2017, Bimmerfest in 2018 and 2019, and the 2020 Xmas Autofest – this was a strict drive-in auto show and attendees were wowed by musical entertainment, fast car drifting, super bikes, terrific stunts, and nighttime fireworks at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) on Lagos Island.

BMW at the Revs & Runway auto event at TBS, Lagos, Nigeria
Revs & Runway auto event at TBS, Lagos, Nigeria. Image source – AJE Filmworks

RELATED: Bikes and Bimmers? 7 Reasons You’ll Love #BimmerFestNG

Car drifting and other motorsports have also seen limelight in states such as Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Cross River.

Off-road auto rally in Ondo, Nigeria. 2019
An off-road auto rally in Ondo, Nigeria. Image source – Auto Josh

Down south, Edo car drifting fanatics (Ha! Edo no dey carry last 😏) took their motorsport obsession a bit further by constructing the first ever purpose-built race track in Nigeria!

The Motorsport Raceway, Evbuobanosa (MRE) in Edo state is now home to some of the biggest auto competitions in the whole of West Africa.


For continuity, I’d like to appreciate my dear friend, Saddam, M.D. Igie Sparkles, who is also an enthusiastic petrolhead (thank goodness). He was at the venue of The Drift League 4 competition in Abuja and his recollection of events will be super imperative in this motorsport narrative.

CRAZY CAR DRIFTING in Abuja: 7 Things Petrolheads Can Always Expect

#1. Eccentric Donuts.

Sunday, December 6, 2020, 6:56 P.M.

Musa Muhammad kicked and oversteered furiously, keeping his surging Nissan 350Z completely under control. There was a lamppost in the centre of the drift course and using the marker, he churned out continuous rounds of skid marks with his dazzling red-white convertible.

Nissan 350Z drifting in Abuja - The Drift League
Car sliding a Nissan 350Z. Image source – @michelle_.j

Not too distant, the enthusiastic crowd cheered on, watching the skilled driver burst more and more nerve racking donuts.

Musa was so determined to get the most points from the three judges at the Drift League 4 (DL4) Championship.

The Drift League event was beaming with motorsport fans who’d travelled all across ABJ (byname for Abuja) and the rest of Nigeria to see their favourite drifters perform for free!

This was at the SPAR Mountview Shopping Mall in the Life Camp district of the FCT.

And on that day, ten pro drifters competed for a grand prize of 200,000 Naira while onlookers watched in awe as they peeled out 360-degree skid marks on the make-shift arena.

In the Abuja motor scene, donuts or doughnuts are regarded as the cradle of drifting and drivers are often judged on their handling, dexterity, mimicry, speed (not necessarily fast), stunts, riskiness, and level of smoke from tires.

Car drifting in Abuja - BMW, Nissan and Slingshot
“…will have donuts for dinner. Thank you.” Image source – @iamgrant_pictures

Up until dusk, drifters continued dishing out donuts and at one point, they had to hit a round balloon while car drifting for some extra points.

Captain “DRIFT SENSEI” Awwal of Drift Hunters emerged winner of the DL4. He drove an orange BMW E30 3-series called Chucky.

#2. Cars! Cars!! Cars!!!

BMW E30, E40, M3, M4 CoupΓ©; Mercedes Benz AMG C-Class; Audi D3 Convertible; Nissan 350Z; Mazda RX-7; The Polaris Slingshot; Ford Mustang; Dodge Challenger; BMW, Yamaha, Dirt and Custom Bikes for cool wheelies 🏍️; and occasionally a two-person Tiger Avon just around the corner. That’s what you’d find if you attended the DL4 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Now, one thing’s certain, expert drifters in the capital city love to have a nice BMW on hand but that’s not to say that cars from other categories aren’t as showcased.

Cars and Bikes at The Drift League 4 Championship
The lineup has just begun! Image source – @michelle_.j

Oftentimes, you’d see sports cars including Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche or luxury cars like Rolls Royce take a spin at such events.

If you wish to see all the world famous cars up close, attend any auto show in the FCT.

#3. Epic Burnouts.

Hehe friend, hope you like the smell of burnt rubber on asphalt?

Burnouts happen when drifters throttle to spin the wheels of their cars while in stationary position, this makes the spinning tires burn rubber and produce white smoke and when inhaled, it may give off a tingling sensation.

In competitions such as the Drift League, burnouts earn drivers bonus points while car drifting but in other scenarios, drivers may do burnouts to showoff a new car, impress hot ladies or command hood respect!

Tire burnout on a BMW E30 3-series in Abuja
Spinning the wheels on a BMW. Image source – @iamgrant_pictures

You should know, burnouts aren’t cheap either, new tires cost between 24,700 to 66,500 naira each (65 to 175 dollars each) and some drifters may replace up to three tires per day.

Heck, one time I watched a drifter burnout and rupture the rear wheels on his Rolls Royce Phantom. A whole Rolls Royce o! Each tire can go for about 374,300 naira (985 dollars).

Abuja is such a vibe.

#4. Close Calls.

The drift marshal at DL4 spoke over the high-pitched screeching tires, “Please move back!” She said to adrenaline junkies who were attempting to breach the bulwarks.

No doubt, car drifting is an extreme motorsport which requires utmost protection for both drifters and watchers.

At auto shows, organisers make sure bulmarks, marshals and security operatives are on ground to deter excited persons from entering the drift course.

However, when “illegal” motorsport maniacs choose to run on the streets of Abuja, there’re sometimes record of damage to public property, vehicle wrecks, or fatal injuries to ecstatic bystanders.

Discover Insane Car Drifting in Abuja, Nigeria

For safety while drifting, professionals perform stunts in controlled spaces, wear a helmet and five-point harness, and have a roll cage installed in their vehicle in the event of sudden impacts or rollovers.

Be safe, keep your eyes peeled for danger and be ready to jump out of the way if a drifter loses control of his car.

#5. Celebrity or Guest Appearances.

When it comes to car drifting in the Federal Capital Territory, there are several names that resonate with locals.

Frequent stunt drivers are fondly tagged “The Rich Kids of Abuja” and these two petrolheads stand out from the rest of the pack.

  • Captain “DRIFT SENSEI” Awwal.
  • And Jay “DRIFT PRINCE” Bash who also drives a BMW E30 3-series nicknamed Bumblebee.

In December of 2020 alone, these Drift Hunters were scheduled to perform in three cities across Nigeria – Abuja, Ibadan and Lagos. Amazing right?

Captain Awwal and Jaybash - Abuja car drifting
The Drift Kings. Image source – @capt_awwal

Motorsport enthusiasts in the country regard Captain Awwal and Jay Bash as celebrities.

And on the other hand, Afrobeats artistes are occasionally billed to perform at car drifting events across the country, not just in Abuja.

#6. Expat Drifters.

The Abuja drifting community is very open and welcoming and you’ll often see expat drifters showcasing their “expert” techniques at auto competitions like the DL4.

Expat drifter at an Abuja auto show - Drift League
An expat drifter in a Tiger Avon. Image source – @michelle_.j

#7. Sunday Funday.

On Sunday evenings, particularly last Sunday of every month, The Rich Kids of Abuja come out to play with their pricey toys.

Other popular days to catch some car drifting action are Saturday, Salah break, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and public holidays.

Conclusion

For a car drifting act to be perfect, the driver needs to have confidence in himself and his four-wheeled machine.

This, of course, is the foundation of all drift stunts. And technicalities may include having a stickshift transmission and powerful rear-wheel drive with limited slip differential, preferably a BMW; rigid suspension system; a custom handbrake and gear lever; responsive drifting steering wheel and pedals; and high-performance tires.

The motorsport culture in Abuja and the rest of Nigeria is ever-growing and there’s no telling what will become of this expensive hobby in subsequent years.

To watch drifting kings burn rubber in ABJ, take a road trip to Idu Industrial or Life Camp (they’re close), I hear from my friend, Faruk, that there’s usually some car sliding action going down near Nizamiye Hospital but, as you know, this may change…

In a subsequent chat with DRIFT PRINCE, he opined that car drifters who performed stunts in the preceding locations are in fact illegal drifters and he mentioned that plans were being made to gain proper access to the Moshood Abiola National Stadium for regular practice runs.


The crazy car drifting scene in Nigeria has been featured on different platforms and news sites including CGTN Africa.

And if you’d like to track down upcoming auto shows and competitions in the FCT, check out these Instagram accounts.

  • @darkknightmotorsports
  • @driftleague_

Go have fun!

So tell me friend cos it’s now time to shift gears, have you ever attended a car drifting event?

I can’t wait to hear from you.


Let’s talk about the possibilities of car drifting in Nigeria on my social networks.
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Enjoyed this article? Kindly Pin for later. πŸ“Œ

The exciting world of drifting in Abuja, Nigeria

Pin and Featured image sources – Wallpaper Tip, @jaybash__ & iPhone Wallpapers

60 Comments Add yours

  1. this is fun. I would love to try it one day :))

    Like

  2. I’ve seen car drifting and love watching, but didn’t know anything about it! Cool post.

    Like

  3. Wendy says:

    I never knew car drifting was a thing in Nigeria. I love watching it cause it looks exciting but it can’t be this girlπŸ˜‚.
    Thanks for this post!

    Like

    1. Hehe. You sure? 😏 Drifting is exciting and it is even more exciting that the culture’s quite active in Nigeria.

      Thanks for the comment Wendy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wendy says:

        I know it’s exciting no doubt, but that’s not my idea of fun. I don’t like dangerous funπŸ˜‚
        You’re welcome.

        Like

      2. πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

        Like

  4. Ojocheyi says:

    I enjoy watching people drift and I remember being in the car with one of my friendss and he did some drifting The terror!!!!! I was so scared guyyy.
    I like watching it, but I don’t think I’ll ever do it.

    This post is enlightening. I didn’t know it started in Japan.

    Like

    1. Whoa! That’s amazing. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience to be sincere. πŸ˜‰

      Your friend could also show off his skill at upcoming drifting events in the country. They’re whooping prices to be won, most times. 😎

      Thanks for the comment Ojocheyi.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ojocheyi says:

        Whooping prizes?
        Omo, am I sure I won’t start drifting?πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        It’s actually scary tbh

        You’re welcome ❀️

        Like

      2. Haha. Yes naw. I haven’t seen prizes below 200,000 for drifting events. Heck, one even awarded the best performer 1 Million!

        Like

      3. Ojocheyi says:

        What?
        New drifter coming up!!!😎😎😎

        Like

      4. πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ

        Like

  5. Shelly DS says:

    I mean I love watching people drift and I would love to try it out some day but I can’t bring myself to mess with tires like that or risk getting into an accident πŸ™ˆ I had no idea people drifted in África! I read the title and was thinking β€œisn’t traffic in Nigeria bad?” πŸ˜…

    Like

    1. Oh traffic in Lagos is bad, I guess it could be the traffic capital of Africa but the rest of Nigeria’s pretty free. And there’s also amazing BMW culture and drifting scene in South Africa.

      One time, I watched a video of a lady drifting and hopping out her car and back in in SA. It was mindblowing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shelly DS says:

        Send me the link please!!

        Like

      2. Bravo! Meet the Car Spinners of South Africa.

        πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Next the how to video starring Eromonsle!

    Like

    1. Haha, maybe someday Andy, maybe someday. πŸ˜…

      Like

  7. Woah. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this event, ever! I’ve learned so much just from this article. I didn’t know drifting started off from Japan. I didn’t know Nigeria had a racetrack either!!

    Ugghhh! I can’t wait for school to resume so I can go explore during my free time (Imagine telling my very dramatic mother that I’m traveling to another state entirely just to go check out drifting competitions πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ She’ll drag me to the nearest pastor, I’m sure).

    Your blog has really helped to keep adding to my bucket list, I’m off to go pretend I’m knowledgeable to my friends 😈 I’ll bet they were just as clueless as me about this tradition.

    Like

    1. Hahahahahaha! Thank you Arobeh. I’m pleased to hear that you learnt a number of firsts from here. Nigeria is pretty impressive and it’s interesting what you can discover about the country.

      Yes! Please go brag to your friends. 😏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I know right! Just that the government just wanna frustrate the hell out of us.

        Already started 😈😈 They’re in awe of my knowledge πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I’ll tell them I got it from you after milking it for a bit.

        Like

      2. Haha! That’s incredible. They need to know what happens in the Giant of Africa… LoL.

        I’m hoping for a better government everytime Arobeh. Perhaps, one day…

        Like

  8. winteroseca says:

    No drifting for me thanks! Try walking in Canada when drivers are getting their snow legs. Or try driving in California. That’s about as scary as I can take it, and those are on public roads! I remember when I was learning to drive, I saw this cool video of breaking the world record for tightest parallel parking!

    Like

    1. Haha, driving on snow is sure scary. But who knows Winteroseca, you could be churning out some donuts in a few years. πŸ˜†

      I think I watched that Guinness World Record vid, I also saw another of a lady drifting in the snow. ‘Twas fun but dangerous, probably. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for the comment.

      Like

      1. winteroseca says:

        Well, I plan to learn to drive in the snow someday! I learned a lot from watching Ice Road Truckers lol

        Like

      2. Ha! I’ll have a look at that show.

        Like

      3. winteroseca says:

        You should! It’s cool!

        Like

  9. I never would have known drifting was a thing in Nigeria. Thanks for sharing this insight into the culture of your country.

    Like

    1. Thanks a bunch! And you’re absolutely welcome.

      Like

  10. Wow! Well, this shows how little I know …. I’ve never heard this term before…. car drifting with all that smoked . Of course Garrett and Kristal were just like yeah… duh! lol
    Donuts for sure and racing and burn outs. Our neighbor has a big trailer and parks it with his cars that come back smashed and parks on the road and the neighbors go ballistic! Good eye opening article. Do you do this?

    Like

    1. Ha! Thanks Cindy. It’s fun learning about your neighbour and his big trailer… LoL and donuts are absolutely fabulous that’s for sure. I don’t drift at the moment, never really had the opportunity but maybe I would someday. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, he wins all these races in Baja…. He loves it.. Yea, maybe someday. I’ll be looking for you in the Indi 500 someday maybe.. lol 🀣

        Like

      2. That’s super impressive. He’s an off-road champ!!! Hehe, racing in the Indi 500 would be fun. Let’s see what happens. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, for sure.. it gets in your blood. totally would be for you thrill seekers, I’m sure..! πŸ€—

        Like

      4. πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

        Liked by 1 person

      5. πŸ€—β€οΈπŸŒ·

        Like

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