Jesse Adams and Toyota GT86 drift 102.5 miles to set new world record

Article by Christian A., on June 15, 2017

Driving continuously for a hundred miles may seem relatively easy for some. However, doing so might prove to be a challenge to quite a number of drivers. But when it comes to drifting, doing so continuously for even a mile could be tough. But this doesn’t worry Jesse Adams and his Toyota GT86, as this duo just recently managed to do an almost improbable drift.

Being a South African motoring journalist scribing for The Star Motoring, Adams is familiar with the capabilities of the Toyota GT86. He could be familiar with the fact that the current record for the longest drift in the world belongs to a Toyota GT86 as piloted by German driver Harald Muller. This record was set in 2014, when Muller managed to continuously drift his GT86 for 89.55 miles (144 km) in Samsun, Turkey. This record attempt was achieved in two hours, 25 minutes and 18 seconds and was certified as a Guinness world record for the longest drift.

Adams knew that to set a new record, he has to continuously drift without stopping at any time. His record attempt was indulged by Toyota South Africa, which was intrigued enough with Adams’ ambition and decided to provide him with a recently refreshed Toyota GT86. The latest installation of the Toyota GT86 isn’t less able than its very first iteration, especially when it comes to drifting. This was proven when Adams and his GT86 didn’t just beat the current official record by a mile. In fact, Adams was able to drift his Toyota GT86 continuously for 102.5 miles (165 km). Guinness has yet to certify this record-breaking attempt as a new world record, but this feat is surely amazing.

Adams achieved this new world record for the longest drift at the semi-wet ski pad of the Gerotek Testing Facility, which is west of Pretoria, South Africa on June 12, 2017. According to Toyota, the wheels of the GT86 shouldn’t stop spinning at any time during the run. While Adams could change the direction of the GT86, he could only do so as long as the driven wheels remain in motion. Once the driven wheels had stopped, the attempt run would be considered null and void.

At around 9:07 a.m. Central Africa Time (CAT), Adams commenced the attempt, with timekeepers and official witnesses keeping track of vital elements like lap time and counts as well as the spins and their changing directions. To ensure that the drift attempt was valid, several notable drift personalities served in the official panel.

When Adams heard the hoot signal on his 800th lap, he already knew he broke Muller’s record. But still he continued for 200 more laps. After 1,000 laps and five hours and 46 minutes since the start of the run, Adams and his GT86 drifted for 168.502 km, with an average speed per lap of 29 km/h. However, 48 laps were disallowed, which means the official completed laps were 952, bringing the distance down to 165.04 km (102.5 miles). Still, it was a considerable feat, considering that it broke the previous record by more than 12 miles or more than 20 km.

Results of the run were obtained and verified through analysis of two independent GPS-based VBOX data-loggers. This digital data was supplemented with analog record of all laps, as compiled by the timekeepers and official witnesses. With data already sent to Guinness World Records, all Adams has to wait for is official verification that he and his GT86 hold the longest drift record in the world.

Press Release




a strong desire to do or achieve something.
The word ambition is quite possibly one of the most powerful words in the Oxford dictionary. Ambition is often quoted as the root of achievement, the foundation of success if you will. Human beings excel when we push ourselves, reaching new heights, distances and levels.


When Jesse Adams - acclaimed motoring scribe from The Star Motoring - pitched the 'ambitious' concept of beating the current longest drift Guinness World Record, Toyota South Africa was naturally intrigued and considered it an excellent opportunity to 'show off' the virtues of the recently refreshed Toyota 86.

The Toyota 86 was designed from onset to be an engaging 'driver's car', offering sublime handling precision and delivering many 'smiles-per-kilometre'. "Possessing a naturally 'tail-happy' character, the 86 is perfectly poised as a drift machine. A low-centre-of-gravity, traditional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout and responsive chassis afford the 86 the perfect sports car credentials," says Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing at Toyota South Africa.

The seemingly mammoth task of beating the previously held record of German Harald Muller, set at 144.126 kilometres in 2014 using a Toyota 86 in Turkey, reached its pinnacle on Monday 12 June 2017.

The attempt was conducted on a partially wet skidpan at the Gerotek test facilities, using a demarcated circle with inner and outer borders. The premise of the record is that the driven wheels are not allowed to stop spinning at any time during the run. A change of direction is permitted, as long as the driven wheels stay in motion. If at any point the driven wheels had stopped, the run would be considered null and void and the driver would need to restart their attempt from scratch.


Gathered at the Gerotek Testing Facility, west of Pretoria, South Africa - man and machine were ready to tackle the task at hand. Months of planning, researching and logistical setup would ultimately culminate in an endurance test of both human and automotive partners.

The attempt was officially started at 09:07 CAT, with Adams setting off onto the concrete playground. Lap-by-lap, hour-by-hour, the timekeepers and official witnesses counted off as they kept track of lap times, lap count, spins and change of direction. Noteworthy names such as SupaDrift Director Mike Skelton, SupaDrift judge and motorsport commentator Chad Luckhoff, SupaDrift competitor and promoter Jim McFarlane, SupaDrift National judge and drift content generator Lawrence Minnie and finally MSA-qualified Clerks of Course; Jackie Schreiber and Tony Taylor (who both have extensive time keeping experience) made up the official - and highly experienced - panel.

The entire team applauded as Jesse Adams gave a signaling 'hoot' on lap 800, signifying that the current record had been matched. From that point onward it would be a push to see by how much the record could be beaten.


In the end after five hours and forty-six minutes, the lap counters ceremoniously rolled over from '999' to '000', indicating a total of 1000 laps had been completed. Triumphant cheers were heard as the team rushed over to a very exhausted Adams to congratulate him on the achievement.

The Toyota 86 completed a total of 168.502 official kilometres, with each lap comprising an average of 177 metres. The average speed of one lap registered at 29 km/h, taking an average of 21.8 seconds to complete. A mere 48 laps were disallowed, bringing the tally of officially completed laps to 952.

The existing record was broken by 24.376 kilometres, a significant number in the greater scheme of things

The above results were obtained and verified through analysis of two independent GPS-based VBOX dataloggers - measuring time, distance, speed, direction of travel and even altitude, with the more sophisticated unit adding synchronised video and audio. The digital data was also supplemented with 'analogue' record of all laps, compiled by the timekeepers and witnesses.

The data has been submitted to Guinness World Records for official verification and far surpasses their minimum requirements.


The Toyota 86 utilised for this record attempt was a standard production unit with no mechanical modifications - bar the fitment of a neatly constructed additional fuel tank which occupied the spare-wheel-well area. This fine example of mechanical art was designed and manufactured by Hallspeed, the HQ of Toyota Motorsport South Africa.

As a testament to the mechanical prowess and integrity of the vehicle, Jesse Adams embarked on one final journey for the day, as he drove home in his record setting steed.

Source: Toyota

If you liked the article, share on:



Duster is currently the best-selling model of Dacia, the Romanian carmaker that is part of the Renault Group. It was built as an SUV, and its smart, no-frill yet practical...
by - November 16, 2018
Setting a new record, especially a world record, has been a way for carmakers to advertise the capabilities not just of their cars, but also of their organizations as well....
by - November 12, 2018
McLaren’s most track-focused, road legal car – the McLaren Senna -- might be quick and fast. However, it remains no match for a wall, such as this one near Munich,...
by - November 12, 2018
The limited-run Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid coupe isn't your ordinary car. While it doesn’t have superb power or excellent handling, it does offer superior levels aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. Too...
by - November 7, 2018
Soon enough, some police officers in Italy would be chasing criminal in armored versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This comes as the Arma dei Carabinieri, an Italian military force...
by - November 1, 2018