2018 BMW M5 (F90) beats longest drift record by covering 232.5 miles, refueling was done mid-drift

Article by Christian A., on January 10, 2018

BMW has teased us a couple of times about its record breaking attempt, and finally, they have decided to post the extended video of the M5’s actual eight hour drift that they have documented.

It was Johan Schwartz, an instructor of BMW’s Performance Driving School, who was behind the wheels of the performance sedan. He drove this as an attempt to improve his previous performance record from back in 2013, when he took the previous generation M5 for a drift, leaving with a record of 51.27 miles (82.51 kilometers).

At that time, he was able to cover 322.5 laps of one of the course at the BMW Performance Center located in South Carolina. And recently, with the new M5 (F90), he took on the same track, and was able to go around it, 2,000 times.

Naturally, the BMW M5 (F90) got crowned as the new Guinness World Record holder for the longest vehicle drift, with 232.5 miles (374.17 kilometers). With this figure, BMW easily overtook the Toyota GT86’s record that was set back in 2014, with 89.55 miles (144.12 kilometers), and another one in June 2017 at 102.5 miles (165.04 kilometers).

This was made possible by BMW driving instructor Matt Mullins, as he was in charge of the support vehicle to enable car to car refueling with a previous generation M5. It carried an extra gasoline tank to refuel the thirsty 600 horsepower biturbo 4.4 liter V8 for five times mid-drift -- basically like what you see in the Fast and the Furious franchise. This was a tricky thing to do. In fact, both M5s collided a couple of times during the process of refueling.

To make sure that the M5 could drift properly for longer periods, the roads had to be dampened. It is also worth noting that the driver was able to accomplish this record, by going sideways for eight hours without any interruptions, or bathroom breaks. Moreover, on that same day, the automaker was able to accomplish another record, which is the one for the longest twin vehicle drift (with assistance of water) with 39.25 miles (63.16 kilometers).

The video shown here includes the behind the scenes footage wherein people from BMW talked about how risky this move is. It also revealed the risks taken by the refueler, Matt Butts, who could easily have been sandwiched by the two M5s.

Aside from that, it also was a fire hazard. Many things could go wrong when anyone tries to pour 15 to 18 gallons of fuel in 50 seconds, made more complicated by the fact that the car was moving. Even if not everything went as planned when they were undergoing tests on the trial day, the official attempt turned out to be a success.

Press Release

BMW Sets Two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Titles for Drifting in the All-New 2018 BMW M5

On December 11, 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, SC, setting a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Greatest distance vehicle drift in 8 hours. Schwartz shattered the previous record by 143 miles. A second GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Longest twin vehicle drift (water assisted) was also set on the same day.

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.

Source: BMW

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