Red Bull Car Park Drift powers back into Abu Dhabi for global season opener
- The UAE’s top drifters will battle it out in the capital for the first time since 2018
- Abu Dhabi Corniche will play host as the Red Bull Car Park Drift returns for its 15th year
- The King of Drift will represent the UAE in the world finals after proving his skills and conquering obstacles and revamped challenges
- After stunning the crowds in the Red Bull Car Park Drift World Final in 2022, the all-new Nissan Z returns as the official car of the competition
Abu Dhabi, February 27, 2023
For the first time in five years the Red Bull Car Park Drift will return to the UAE capital to start a new season of the most renowned championship in its field. The tournament will open its 2023 competition in the Abu Dhabi on March 4, at Nation Towers at the Corniche, on a special track that, along with thousands of fans, will witness the crowning of the King of Drift who will represent the UAE in the world finals.
The event is run in partnership with the Department of Tourism and Culture and Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
Drift legend Abdo Feghali will make sure to put renewed touches on the competition track, raising the challenge level of the sport, which is witnessing an increasing demand in the region, coinciding with an unprecedented advancement in performance levels. In addition to the upcoming thrilling competitions among the top drift drivers in the UAE, the event will include exceptional activities and performances, as well as a special activation from series partner, Nissan.
Feghali, who last year had expressed his hopes for the competitions’ return in a new season, said: “It’s such a good feeling to be back in Abu Dhabi where the fans and drifters always give us such a warm welcome and bring the highest levels of energy. It’s even better to be kicking off the 15th season of the Red Bull Car Par Drift in the UAE capital. Last year the competition between the drifters and the locations all around the world were another level, we expect to step that up even further in 2023.”
The Red Bull Athlete, who holds the Guinness World Record for the Longest Drift, added: “I honestly believe we will meet some new champions this year and that new blood keeps me excited about this competition. This year I’m especially lucky to be driving the All New Nissan Z and that really adds to the flavour of the event for me personally.”
The tournament stands out from the rest because it combines car speed, engine power, driving accuracy, and the ultimate art of drifting, all paralleled with an atmosphere that’s rife with the smoke of flaming tires. A special panel of judges will decide on participants’ performances and allot points based on renewed technical standards. Dominating the track requires an exceptional balance of speed, precision, and showmanship that’s only enhanced by the car’s looks, engine roar, and tire smoke. A large chunk of the total points awarded by the judges will be allocated to drifting skills, while the remainder will be distributed over multiple unique challenges, within squares and spiral paths, in addition to the ability of drivers to get their cars as close as possible to the cones without knocking them over.
The 2021/2022 season series of the Red Bull Car Park Drift championship came to a close at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit last December, after more than 12 months of competition, with the crowning of Egypt’s Hisham Al-Khatib as the King of Drift, after he outperformed both Haitham Al-Hadidi from Oman and Ahmed Dahham from Iraq.
The world final, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosted for the first time, saw amazing competitions between 24 drivers from 18 countries who competed at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, amid a massive audience and an exceptional atmosphere, in the largest participation in the tournament’s 15-year history.
The beginnings of exhibition-style drifting dates back to the 1960s, specifically to the off-road tracks of the Japanese mountains, where a number of competitors vied to score the best timing while simultaneously pushing the limits of their tires, before it developed into a sport in its own right.
By the 70s, the sport had become so popular that it carved a prominent position for itself in the prestigious Japan Touring Car Championship, with amazing performances that showcased the drivers’ skills and control of their cars. Two decades later, it has expanded and spread across the world, with many countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, China, and New Zealand considering it a distinct organized sport.
The Red Bull Car Park Drift Championship was launched in Lebanon in 2008, in the indoor car park of a Beirut shopping mall. It was the perfect opportunity for drift enthusiasts to put their skills to the test, within a sporty and secure environment that adhered to safety standards. The event witnessed the rise of Lebanese racing champion Abdo Feghali, who became a legend in the field, while the unparalleled success of the championship led to it becoming an annual regional staple that later turned into a global series as its popularity gained more traction.
Season King of Drift Nationality Host Country
2022 Hisham Al Khatib Egyptian Saudi Arabia
2021 Ahmed Al Ameri Qatari Egypt
2019 Anas Al Helou Jordanian Turkey
2018 Oliver Kik Lebanese Lebanon
2017 Refaat Al Yahyai Omani Kuwait
2016 Haitham Al Hadidi Omani Oman
2015 Ahmed Daham Jordanian United Arab Emirates
2014 Ahmed Daham Jordanian United Arab Emirates
2013 Jad Himo Lebanese United Arab Emirates
2012 Mohammad Al Kukhun Jordanian Jordan
2011 Saeed Al Mouri Saudi Lebanon
2010 Garo Haroutiounian Lebanese Lebanon
2009 Firas Khaddaj Lebanese Lebanon
2008 Michel Feghali Lebanese Lebanon