A few weeks back I packed up my car with some lended camping gear, my camera case and headed to the great white north to visit Drift Jam at Toronto Motorsports Park. When I got on the road Friday I had an urge to capture the weekend only in black and white. From what I could tell there was going to be limited shade at the track, and on top of that we had a forecast of direct sun for the whole trip. I wasn’t hopeful for outstanding light quality and figured I’d try something different to make the most of the situation…
I trailed behind long time friend of the blog Danny Padden on our way up. The drive was uneventful and included a pitiful attempt to explain what drifting was to a border patrol officer. After all these years I still have a hard time coming up with a good explanation of what drifting is to people who have never seen it. For this round I used the ‘rear end kicks out in the snow’ description which seemed to click with the guy checking my passport to confirm I wasn’t a threat to his fellow countrymen. From the Buffalo boarder we drove for about an hour and a half through farmland spotted with windmills and solar panels. We realized quickly that we were heading into the middle of nowhere without cell service guided by my cars built in GPS.
We arrived at Toronto Motorsports Park to find out it was not only a small road course but also a full blown drag strip. There were cars making passes on the drags with some Hondas and Porsches attacking the road course. Open passing and optional helmets, this place was a different world from our lawsuit happy country only a few miles to the south. We watched in awe as a K series EK hatch screamed down the front stretch before throwing its lightweight body through turn 1. After talking to a few locals we found out nights like this were commonplace for people looking to stretch their cars legs on a tight and technical course.
After an hour or so we drove into a nearby town to grab a beer and get some food at what seemed like the only open restaurant for miles. A historic tavern with brick walls that had seen better days. These same brick walls would allow a bat to crawl through and make its way into the bar area where we were seated. The bartended seemed less worried about containing it and more frustrated that they kept coming back through the walls. We threw back some Rickard’s Reds and swapped stories with a local (Ex PBA Bronco Rider turned Sheriff turned BBQ chef) before making the trek back to TMP to camp under the stars.
Saturday we awoke to the sound of engines and the heat of the sun. Caught up with some folks I haven’t seen since 2019 and had my mandatory Tim Hortons breakfast. My biggest take away from the event was the variety of vehicles we saw on track, a nice shake up from the typical fare at US events. RB powered IS300s, a R34 face swapped Stagea and several RX7s still holding onto their rotary hearts were at the top of the list. There were also a number of 86s which came out to show off for 8/6 day. A welcome sight in a day and age where most 86 owners are restoring them and tucking them away in garages safe from the abuse of a circuit.
After a few hours of baking in the sun and turning laps we packed up and got ready to make the drive back home. On the drive back I had some time to reflect on the small community of dedicated drivers we just visited. It seemed like nearly everyone knew each other and were all looking to have a good time. Newcomers taking advice from seasoned drivers, friends lending tools and troubleshooting issues on each others cars. All of the things that make drifting one of the greatest motorsports I have ever experienced. I hope you enjoyed this little album and coverage from the event. In all honesty I was hoping to get some more shots over the weekend but I took this experience to enjoy the new track and make some new friends. I can say with confidence this won’t be the last time I visit our friends to the north at Drift Jam.