Will drifting antics ever cease? Frankly we hope not, because this current trend of opposite-lock gurus trying to one-up each other with videos is all kinds of fun. Perhaps there’s no official contest happening here, but with new over-the-top videos cropping up at least once a week, we’re starting to wonder if there isn’t some kind of unspoken challenge going on.
Toyota is the latest entity to up the ante, and by that we do mean up. In its own words, the automaker “wanted a much bigger and bolder platform to promote the supreme handling of its GT86 coupe,” and well, it doesn’t get much bigger than space. To that end, the Toyota turned to Formula Drift pro Fredric Aasbø, who also happens to be the manufacturer’s in-house driver with his Icom Toyota Express Service 86-X. That’s a competition version of Toyota’s much-loved sports car, though this one sports a 3.4-liter I6 that’s boosted to the moon with 1,150 horsepower.
That’s plenty of juice to produce prolific tire smoke, but to make this particular drifting video something special, the team went to the Millbrook proving ground in the U.K. and plotted a very precise course on the 450-foot diameter skidpad. The goal was to create a giant 86 logo that could be seens from space, using nothing but Aasbø’s right foot and a bunch of atomized rubber. The ground work was easy enough, but Toyota then coordinated with Airbus to get a proper high-resolution photo of the logo from a Pléaides satellite, orbiting the planet at an altitude of 500 miles.
All in all it took four months of planning to get the satellite lined up just right with Aasbø’s handiwork, and even then it could’ve all been for nothing if the weather turned typically British during the photo pass. But as you can see from above, it all came together. The 86 doesn’t exactly jump out and bite you, but it is visible from outer space.
How does one top this display of drifting? Stay tuned ... we’ll probably find out next week.
Gallery: Donuts From Space
TOYOTA GT86 BREAKS THE FINAL FRONTIER WITH DONUTS FROM SPACE
Forget giant billboards and trick TV ads, Toyota wanted a much bigger and bolder platform to promote the supreme handling qualities of its GT86 coupe. It wanted to send out a message that could be seen from space.
That’s how a world champion drift king came to burn rubber around a British skid pan to “paint” the car’s famous 86 logo in tyre marks large enough to be seen from an orbiting satellite.
The Donuts from Space project has been captured in a short film, released today on Toyota’s official UK YouTube channel.
This was not simply a matter of driving a fast car in circles to smear “donuts” on the ground. It called for precision planning, for the driver, the camera crew and the team plotting the exact time at which the satellite would pass overhead to capture the image.
The challenge recruited the best man in the business for car control, Fredric Aasbø, a Formula Drift World Champion. He tackled the task at the wheel of his Icom Toyota Express Service 86-X, a unique competition version of the GT86 powered by a 3.4-litre turbocharged straight-six engine and tuned to produce up to 1150bhp.
“When I was told about the project I thought, ‘Is this for real?’ then it was, ‘Heck yeah, let’s do it!’” he said.
He executed the design on the 137m diameter steering pad at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire, working in inch-perfect synchronicity with two road-going GT86 cars.
“Drifting is controlling a car that is essentially out of control,” he explained, “but this was the first time I had used my car as a paintbrush. It was epic and the highlight of my year.”
The production team collaborated with the aeronautics and space giant Airbus to schedule a high resolution image of the completed 86 logo from one of its twin Pléaides satellites, circling in space, 800km above the earth. Experts at the National Geo Centre helped calculate the precise time at which the satellite and 86 logo would be in perfect alignment.
The only factor that could not be controlled was the weather, but after four months of planning the two-day shoot in August was completed in fine conditions, ensuring a pin-sharp image could be obtained.