Handbraking the internet

Another week is nearly over and yet another ridiculous sensation has surfaced on the internet (who is Kim Kardashian, anyway?). Gymkhana 7 dropped earlier this week, following Mr. Block’s tried-and-tested formula of lairy slip angles, explosions and noisy blow-off valves.

As motoring sensations go, it’s a bit like the Rocky franchise: despite basically revisiting the same theme every time, we’re happy to go back to it because it’s done so well. A few years ago, he was a relative unknown sliding Subarus around dockyards. Now, he’s backed by Ford, GoPro and Monster to name but a few major sponsors, and his videos garner millions of views in just hours:

Despite the same formula, Gym 7 is still worth your time, if only to admire just how beautifully-shot the whole thing is. Panning shots of the Los Angeles skyline are interspersed with POVs of tyre-ripping slides through impossibly-tight spaces. Block visits many of LA’s most famous landmarks in his quest to tame the ‘Hoonicorn’; his purpose-built 4WD 1965 Mustang. As expected, it’s just as lairy as the steroidic Fiestas he used in Gym‘s previous editions. The blown V8 sounds absolutely demented, too: it’s the automotive equivalent of an enraged bear sounding off.

The troll in me loves the passing reference to his Imprezas of yore at 3:54, as he drifts around the shell of a GG-era Subaru Impreza under the bridges of the city. If you’re like me, you would’ve cracked a smile at the OJ Simpson-esque police chase seen at 7:36, too. It’s the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments like these that make Gym 7 that bit more lighthearted than previous incarnations. The franchise is still there largely for product placement opportunities, but at least it shows some brilliant driving, amazing machinery and tongue-in-cheek cultural irrelevance. If Grand Theft Auto V, Gone in 60 Seconds and Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ but a G-Thang” had a feature-length love child, Gym 7 would be the result.

However, Block and buddies haven’t completely captured all the attention of car fans in the UK this week, as Ryan Tuerck’s World Tour of Drifting hit YouTube on Network A. This episode took Tuerck back to Scotland and to my local madhouse, Driftland.  Jump to 3:50 to see him take on about a third of the European E36 BMW production run in some insane drift trains:

In many ways, Tuerck’s exploits are the absolute antithesis of Ken Block’s. This is grassroots drifting at its most unfiltered. Both of them are hugely entertaining to watch, but whereas Block drives a priceless car on what is essentially a big-budget stage, Ryan Tuerck gets stuck in with fellow drifters and their teenage missile cars.

It’s this budget aspect that appeals to me most about Tuerck’s documentary; it just feels that more attainable to me (though that’s likely because I live in Scotland and own an old 3-series myself). Having been there in person before, it’s definitely stoked my interest in the 2015 season.

More than anything else, both videos have convinced me that I need a GoPro in my life at some point. Those shots taken with a selfie stick from the passenger seat of a 325i look like a lot of fun. I may not be chasing ridiculous slip angles or barreling through waterways, but it’d be pretty cool to sucker a GoPro to the 320i and film a midnight run.

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