Daniel WollsteinCar and Driver
- A Porsche driving instructor in Germany drifted a Taycan EV for 26.2 miles—yes, the length of a marathon.
- This was good for the (apparently inaugural) Guinness world record for longest drift in an electric vehicle.
- The car used was a China-market rear-wheel-drive Taycan.
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Think you’re a hotshot because you once kicked out the tail on your Monte Carlo and held it there for two complete laps around the unplowed parking lot of that abandoned Circuit City? Well, you are. That was sick.
But you’ve been one-upped in a big way by a guy named Dennis Retera, a Porsche driving instructor in Germany. He got sideways on a wet skidpad at the Porsche Experience Centre Hockenheimring and didn’t stop slidin’ till he’d covered 26.2 miles. When we say this was a marathon drift session, we mean literally. Unlike the apocryphal messenger who ran from Marathon to Athens and then promptly died, Retera was just fine. Maybe slightly carsick. And Porsche had its record.
To set the record, Porsche rolled out a China-market rear-wheel-drive Taycan. They didn’t specify which version, but that single-motor iteration is available with either 402 or 469 horsepower and a battery rated at either 79.2 kWh or 93.4 kWh. We’d guess that when you’re planning to drive sideways for an hour, you want the big battery, if not necessarily the big motor. The irrigated skidpad allowed for relatively low speeds (and sufficient tread life for the tires) but also upped the challenge for Retera, since the grip tended to be inconsistent.
While (or course) praising the Taycan’s drift-friendly chassis, Retera also said, “It was very tiring for me to keep my concentration high for 210 laps, especially as the irrigated asphalt of the drift circuit does not provide the same grip everywhere. I concentrated on controlling the drift with the steering—this is more efficient than using the accelerator pedal and reduces the risk of spinning.”
Now, you might ask, if Porsche set a new record for longest EV drift, then what was the prior record? Well, as far as we can tell, there wasn’t one. Guinness lists records for fastest drift (189 mph, in a Nissan GT-R NISMO), longest drift in eight hours (232.5 miles, in a BMW M5 at the Greer, SC, skidpad), and even longest twin vehicle drift, water assisted (the M5 again, with 49.25 miles, which included a mid-drift refueling of the M5 that was going for the overall record). According to Guinness World Records rules, “Any type of vehicle may be used for an attempt with a drift, defined as being performed when there is a speed differential between the driven wheels of the vehicle and its ground speed.”
Porsche’s attempt was validated by Guinness judge Joanne Brent, as well as an independent observer: Denise Ritzmann, European drifting champion in 2018 and 2019. She watched all 210 laps to ensure that, as the car lapped counterclockwise, the front tires stayed pointed to the right.
When the history of the electric car is written, there will be certain inflection points that mark monumental leaps in progress and technology. This won’t be one of them. But it was cool of them to do, and it’ll be interesting to see who tries to break the record. If we had to guess, we’d bet a certain EV outfit in Fremont, California, is already trying to figure out how to drift for 69 miles.
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