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First time for drifting event at Lime Rock Park

GRIDLIFE Circuit Legends comes to the historic race track on Friday and Saturday.

SALISBURY, Conn — It was not your run-of-the-mill BMW 3 series that hit the track at Lime Rock Park on Thursday morning. 

The sound of the exhaust, lack of rear seat, and a roll cage are a tip off. That and the fact that the driver is nearly sliding sideways through the corners, disappearing in a cloud of smoke and noise.

The BMW is one of the cars that will be taking to Lime Rock Park’s fabled track on Friday and Saturday for GRIDLIFE Circuit Legends, a traveling event that makes stops around the country. Drivers, who are skilled but not professionals, will be drifting their own cars on the main circuit for the first time in track history.

Events on Friday and Saturday will include 30 drift drivers, including Formula Drift PRO drivers Michael Essa and Ryan Tuerck. General admission starts at $35. Weekend camping passes start at $65. 

RELATED: Lime Rock Park offering snow-driving tips as more wintery weather expected

Drifting is when the driver intentionally oversteers, losing traction, while maintaining control and driving the car through a corner. It was first made popular in Japan 50 years ago. In the 1990s, popularity of the anime series Initial D helped spread the style worldwide.

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The competition will range from Time Attack shootouts to GRIDLIFE Touring Cup and Track Battles and midway activities like an arcade, an esports competition and concours. Sunday’s schedule will consist of the FCP Euro’s popular Sunday Motoring Meet.

“There will be everything from 1000 horsepower Corvettes to 100 horsepower Civics, said Nathan Brown, FCP Euro's Event Director. “We've got Wheel to Wheel Racing with the crib life touring cup. There's going to be drifting on the track, which is going to be awesome and just kind of getting together and having a good time partying with cars.” 

RELATED: In Lakeville, Lime Rock Park slowly gets up to speed

The event came about after a realignment of the skid pad, making it part of the course, said Charley Delana, Chief of Marketing for Lime Rock. 

The event will draw people from around the country, said Brown. Part of the draw is to see the iconic Lime Rock Park race course as well as the main event.

What’s the appeal to driving enthusiasts?

“I guess, it's like being on a roller coaster, but you're in charge of it,” said Brown. “It might be a little mystical talk about it. When you're driving like that, you have to be in the moment. So, everything else falls away. The racetrack is kind of like a little bubble and the rest of the world doesn't really exist outside of the racetrack and everything inside, you're having fun.”

Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.

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