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January 30: Keiichi Tsuchiya, the Drift King, was born on this date in 1954

January 30, 2013

Like James Naismith and basketball, the sport of drifting can be traced to one person: Keiichi Tsuchiya. The idea of drifting would be familiar to any racer from the 1930s on (and the script for Steve McQueen's "Bullitt" uses the phrase), but it was Tsuchiya who became so enraptured with the drifting used by Japanese racers of the '70s that he began practicing the move on mountain roads in the 1980s as a sport unto itself. Drifting now ranks as a major motorsport around the world, and no man has burned more tires than Tsuchiya, who's earned the name Drift King. "I drift not because it is a quicker way around a corner," Tsuchiya has said, "but the most exciting way." There would be no revival of the Toyota GT86 -- aka the Scion FR-S -- without him: