You’ve probably seen military aircraft carrying out refuelling in the air, with one aircraft providing fuel to another one through a long hose or pipe. The ability to refuel without having to land and do it enables the aircraft to stay in the air longer or go further.
This same concept was used by BMW to keep the new M5 drifting on a skid-pad for 8 hours. In the process, it covered 374.2 kms going round and round, setting a new Guinness World Record for the longest drift in 8 hours. This surpassed the previous record of 230.1 kms.
The feat was achieved by BMW driving instructor Johan Schwartz who performed the sustained drift at the BMW Performance Centre in South Carolina, USA. Schwartz was also the driver who had set the previous record.
A custom-built refuelling system developed by BMW in collaboration with the Detroit Speed made it possible to drift continuously without a break during the full 8 hours as required by the Guinness World Records organisation. Unlike the way it’s done with aircraft, the refuelling was done by hand: a second accompanied the record-breaking M5 in close formation and a crew member kept the refuelling nozzle in place. He was secured by a safety tether that permitted him to straddle the space between the two moving vehicles by leaning out of the rear window of the second car. There was very little margin for error so they practiced the manoeuvre many times before attempting the title run.
A second Guinness World Record was also awarded for the longest twin vehicle water-assisted drift: the two M5s drifted together for 1 hour, covering a total of 79.3 kilometres.