Early privately-owned drift cars were fitted with with either turbocharged engines from Nissan S13, S14 and S15 platforms (four-cylinder) or turbocharged powerplants like the Toyota 1JZ (six-cylinder). They were easy to work on, reliable, and they produced plenty of the wheel-spinning power needed for a smoky sideways show.
But today, as real money flows into the sport, the teams taking the podiums at the professional Formula Drift events are much more likely to use American V8 power - naturally-aspirated big-bore Chevrolet LS muscle that makes a tire-cording 700-plus horsepower. The torquey V8s give the drivers more control when they run side-by-side. As one puts it, "...the way Formula D now is, with tandem, you want to be on someone's door."
This video, shot by MPGomatic, takes a closer look at why the motorsport made the switch from low displacement/forced induction to big displacement/naturally aspirated power. It's posted below, and as they say, there's no substitute for cubic inches.