They did it. BMW USA smashed the previous Guinness World Record for longest vehicle drift in eight hours, more than doubling the previous record of 89.55 miles by going sideways around a small circular track for 232.5 miles.
In the process, the daredevils accomplished five successful refuelings from one drifting car to another to make the feat possible without stopping. (The process was explained in this video we shared yesterday.) In so doing, the team notched a second world record for the longest twin vehicle drift (water assisted) of 39.25 miles. It will presumably take some time for the records to be certified, but a behind-the-scenes video, which you can view below, shows an adjudicator from Guinness World Records on site at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, S.C., confirming the achievement.
Guinness rules don't require car-to-car refueling, and the team could have gone the more conventional route by installing a larger fuel tank, or simply stopping to refill. But they opted for the greater challenge and took a page from military aircraft to devise a car-to-car refueling system
"Anytime you're dealing with two cars sliding around, a guy hanging between them, moving a bunch of fuel, it's a recipe for disaster," says Ryan Mathews, competition and engineering manager with Detroit Speed Inc., which helped rig the BMW M5s for the attempt.
Fortunately there were no disastrous hitches, though the cars did bump each other at least once. Refueling this way, as you might imagine, is a crapshoot, with the first refuel transferring about 12 gallons and the second time just under 8 gallons. And the driver, Johan Schwartz, reported late in the day getting a sore neck and that his feet were falling asleep. But what do you expect when you're focused on driving sideways over the equivalent distance of going from Boston to Princeton, N.J.?