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BMW i3 drifted by Rauno Aaltonen

By Chris Thompson, 21 Mar 2017 Features

World’s coolest pensioner proves gravel makes any car fun

BMW i3 drifted by Rauno Aaltonen

Don’t worry about the cheesy voiceover. Don’t worry that it calls the i3 ‘king of the road’. Just worry about the drift.

It’s not often you see an i3 and think ‘yeah, I want to drive that’, but watching Finnish rally legend and 1966 Bathurst winner Rauno Aaltonen behind the wheel elicits conflicting feelings.

A rear-motor electric car sounds like an odd choice for a loose-surface slide, but Aaltonen reckons once you get the hang of it, the 125kW i3 is great for a controlled loss of traction.

While it generally takes a lot of skill to get a good drift out of an RR car (say ‘RR car’ fast three times), the Flying Finn has the right stuff. Even at his age.

Rauno Aaltonen drifts bmw i3 rally

“To drift the i3 is easy, nice… I love it,” the 79-year-old says. Bicycle tyres and an electric motor apparently lend themselves well to the art of the drift.

As Aaltonen points out, full torque at zero revs is a huge advantage during a slide. It’s only 250Nm, but you get it right from the get-go.

A quick bit of searching found Aaltonen wasn’t the only one who’s had a crack at drifting an i3.

We found the above video from a punter who reckons it takes a bit more work than it’s worth.

Still, from what we can see the right surface will get the i3 sliding like a champ.

It’s not likely you’ll ever get the chance to drift an i3, as there aren’t all that many around – plus you’d be hard pressed to convince someone to let you drift their eco-warrior run-about.

Watch what happens next time you’re stuck behind an i3 on a windy road (yes, some people bought them), especially if the driver looks about 80 years old.