Here’s something you don’t see very often! On December 11th, 2017, BMW driving instructor Johan Schwartz drifted an all-new BMW M5 sedan 232.5 miles around a skid pad at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, South Carolina. The feat, not surprisingly, set a new Guinness World Records title, under the category of “greatest distance vehicle drift in 8 hours.” Schwartz surpassed the prior record by over 140 miles.
A second Guinness World Records title for the “longest twin vehicle drift (water assisted)” was also set.
Schwartz has been here before, setting the Guinness World Records title for the “longest continuous vehicle drift” on May 11th, 2013. That day, he drifted an unmodified 2013 BMW M5 sedan for 51.278 miles but his record was broken shortly thereafter. However, Schwartz was determined to give it another shot, but not without some serious engineering. BMW teamed with Detroit Speed to develop a unique dry break fuel system, capable of refueling the M5 mid-drift.
“We knew 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,” Schwartz explained.
Fighter Jet Formula
The fuel system’s design mimics how fighter jets and other airplanes refuel in the air. On five occasions during the eight hour drift, a previous generation M5, similar to the one Schwartz used to set his original record, entered the skid pad. BMW Performance Center Chief Driving Instructor Matt Mullins matched Schwartz’s drift, while Detroit Speed’s Matt Butts handled refueling. Butts, suspended with a safety tether from the second vehicle’s rear window, was able to straddle the space between both vehicles and complete the refueling.
“Although we practiced the refueling several times before the Guinness World Records title attempt, there was very little margin for error,” Butts recalled. “We’re excited to have played a part in Johan and BMW recapturing this record.”
“In the end, the refueling system worked flawlessly and the M5 performed as expected,” Schwartz added.
Once the first Guinness World Records title was secured, BMW then landed the record for the “longest twin vehicle drift (water assisted)” – that record being co-owned by Schwartz and Mullins.
“It was a big win all around,” Schwartz said.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.