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Tesla Model S Goes Drifting in Japan, Destroys Rear Tires

Boy, these Japanese pros will drift just about any car. We've seen them do it with trucks, kei cars, and pickups. Yet this has to be the first time a Tesla Model S has been drifted around a pro track in front of a large crowd.
Nobuteru Taniguchi dirfts the Tesla Model S 1 photo
It happened this weekend (April 18th) in Odaiba, which is the largest artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Thousands of people turned up to see Supras and Silvias, but they were in for a special treat. The all-electric Tesla Model S sedan, freshly arrived from America, was put through its paces.

The man behind the wheel is Nobuteru Taniguchi, one of the most respected and popular pro drifters in Japan. He is also a race car driver and last year became the champion of the Super GT300 class in the BMW Z4 GT3.

You will excuse our Japanese, which is a little rusty, but Nob seems to say he never drove a Tesla before and was asked to drift it by the organizers that morning. While he is surprised by the amount of torque available, the Model S is not ideal for such shenanigans.

The big problem is there's too little steering angle to get the car sideways. The pro driver also says it lacks a rear differential, something we learned ourselves during our review. In the real world, this means the Model S feels less precise and, as you can see, it's a handful even for somebody who does this for a living.

Unless we're mistaken, Michelin makes some sticky rubber especially for the all-electric vehicle. After about a minute of hardcore drifting, the rear tires are going need replacing for sure.

So here's the big question of the day: does the arrival of the Tesla Model S suggest the future of drifting is electric? Not really. As you can see, pro drivers still prefer the elegant simplicity of classic Japanese sportscar from the 80s or 90s.

Sure, it's not brilliant for drifting. But if you want to see the half-full side, nobody else has built a 5+2 car that's fully electric and can drift before. So in that respect, Tesla is still the best at what it does.

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