The car had to be refueled five times while in mid-drift, Fast and Furious style.
After teasing its record-breaking attempt a couple of times, BMW has now released an extended video recorded during the M5’s actual eight-hour drift. Behind the wheel of the performance sedan was BMW Performance Driving School instructor Johan Schwartz who went on to improve his previous performance established in 2013 when he drifted the previous-gen M5 for 51.27 miles (82.51 kilometers).
While that time he covered 322.5 laps of the round course at the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina, Johan Schwartz was able to do more than 2,000 laps in the new M5 (F90). At the end of the exhausting run, the folks over at the Guinness World Record crowned the M5 as the new record holder for the longest vehicle drift: 232.5 miles (374.17 km). BMW simply shattered the old records established by the Toyota GT86: 89.55 miles (144.12 km) in July 2014 and 102.5 miles (165.04 km) in June 2017.
To make it all happen, another M5 (of the previous generation) in the hands of BMW driving instructor Matt Mullins was necessary as a support vehicle to enable car-to-car refueling. From its extra gasoline tank mounted in the trunk, it had to feed the thirsty 600-horsepower biturbo 4.4-liter V8 for no less than five times mid-drift, kind of like in a Fast and Furious movie. The two M5s actually collided a few times during the on-the-go refueling procedure.
It’s worth mentioning the road surface was damp to facilitate the lengthy drift, but nevertheless it’s an impressive accomplishment considering the driver had to go sideways for eight hours without any interruptions. BMW actually managed to take down another record that day, the one for the longest twin vehicle drift (water assisted): 39.25 miles (63.16 km).
The behind-the-scenes video below talks about the risks BMW had to take as the refueler Matt Butts could have been sandwiched by the two M5s. There was also a fire hazard to take into account as pouring 15 to 18 gallons of fuel in 50 seconds into a moving car has its risks. Things didn’t go as planned during the test day, but the official attempt proved to be a success.
Gallery: BMW M5 drift record
BMW Sets Two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Titles for Drifting in the All-New 2018 BMW M5.
- GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Titles for the Greatest Distance Vehicle Drift in 8 hours and the Longest Twin Vehicle Drift (Water Assisted) Were Set on Monday, December 11 at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, SC.
- BMW Driving Instructor Johan Schwartz Completed a Sustained Drift of 232.5 Miles, Recapturing a Record He Originally Set in 2013.
- Schwartz and BMW Performance Center Chief Driving Instructor Matt Mullins Executed a Twin Vehicle Drift Over the Course of 1 Hour, 49.25 miles.
- Custom Refueling System Developed to Allow Mid-Drift Refueling During World Record Attempt.
Schwartz broke the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for Longest continuous vehicle drift on May 11, 2013 when he drifted an unmodified 2013 BMW M5 sedan for 51.278 miles also at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, SC. Since then, Schwartz’s record was broken twice – officially in 2013, then 2014.
In order to accomplish these feats and set new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS titles, BMW partnered with North Carolina based automotive fabricators Detroit Speed to develop a custom dry break fuel system capable of refueling the BMW M5 mid-drift in the same way that fighter jets can refuel mid-flight. The resulting fueling system allowed Schwartz to drift continuously for the entire eight hours allocated by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS.
“We knew going-in that if we were going to recapture the world record for longest sustained drift and set the bar as high as possible, we would need to find a way to keep the M5 going without stopping to refuel,” said Schwartz. “In the end, the refueling system worked flawlessly and the M5 performed as expected. It was a big win all around.”
Although the refueling system was built with the most technologically advanced components on the market, a human touch was needed to make and hold the refuel connection.
Five separate times over the course of the eight hour drift, a second BMW M5 -- a previous generation M5 (F10) similar to the one that Schwartz used to set his original record -- entered the skid pad driven by BMW Performance Center Chief Driving Instructor Matt Mullins. As Mullins matched Schwartz’s drift, Detroit Speed’s Matt Butts, who was suspended via a safety tether from the second vehicle’s rear window, was able to straddle the space between both moving vehicles and successfully complete the fueling.
“Although we practiced the refueling several times before the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt, there was very little margin for error,” said Butts. “We’re excited to have played a part in Johan and BMW recapturing this record.”
Once the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Greatest distance vehicle drift in 8 hours was achieved, BMW attempted -- and successfully completed -- a second title for Longest twin vehicle drift (water assisted) (1 hour / 49.25 miles), now co-owned by Schwartz and Mullins.
During the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Schwartz and Mullins will perform a drifting demonstration in the 2018 BMW M5 at the top of every hour. The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title-setting vehicle will be displayed in the BMW Experience at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Silver Lot.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; Design works, a strategic design consultancy based in California; technology offices in Silicon Valley and Chicago, and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 344 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 127 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.