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Formula DRIFT is recognized as the North American professional drifting championship series.

As the first official drift series in North America, Formula DRIFT has taken competitive motorsports to the extreme, attracting fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life.

This high-skilled, high-powered motor sport has drivers intentionally maneuvering their cars into well executed, controlled sideways slides at high speeds through a marked course.

Judging is based on execution and style-rather than who finishes the course in the fastest time.

Autoblog has been invited behind-the-scenes with GSR Autosport, and their driver Michael Essa, as the team builds, tests and campaigns a V10-powered BMW 350R during the 2010 racing season. Common folk – that would be most of us – think this sort of absurd talk is pure madness.

This is the first in a regular series as we follow the team throughout the build, testing and race season. The idea is mildly deranged, but everyone around the table is wildly grinning. To drifters, this type of deliriousness is simply considered being competitive.

Someone has just suggested mating a BMW 3 Series Coupe to a V10 engine ripped from a BMW M5 and then entering the beast into the 2010 Formula DRIFT series. Meet Michael Essa – the driver and creative genius behind the aforementioned concoction.

Last year, the Los Angeles resident and owner of Tech Trix Motorsports campaigned a Mazda RX-7 in the 2009 Formula Drift Championship Series.

(Let’s clarify this – his «RX-7» was gutted down to 2,300 pounds and was sporting a Corvette-sourced LS2 rated at 400 horsepower.) The two-door Mazda was a very potent tool, and Essa used it to land runner-up spot for the 2009 Rookie of the Year.

Essa wanted to light the afterburner for 2010 so he enlisted the help of GSR Autosport.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company is a multi-facetted professional automotive racing business founded and operated by genuine racing enthusiasts.

GSR Autosport designs, develops and builds turn-key race cars – mostly Porsches and BMWs.