This Sunday, 24 September, DRIFTCity will be all over the Grand Parade in Cape Town. There will be loud noises, the squealing of tires and burning of rubber, some cheers and shouting, and cars tearing around the heritage site track. DRIFTCity is back.  

This Cape Town event continues to gain local and international attention and credibility. In the tournament, gladiatorial drivers go head-to-head, taking on the Grand Parade course against their competitors with one goal: to win the title of DRIFTCity Champion 2023! The event always pushes the boundaries of what’s possible on the track. It’s an electric, adrenalin-fueled kind of day, but it’s also an urban lifestyle event that includes live entertainment, food trucks, car shows and more.

A lot goes on behind the scenes with an event of the magnitude of DRIFTCity. We managed to track down the man behind the entire DRIFTCity production, the extremely busy Mr. Gary Stockenstroom.

Behind The Scenes

So, Gary, we are on the countdown to DRIFTCity 2023. Here we go. With something as massive as DRIFTCity, you must have quite a lot of crew working on the set-up. 

We do. When we initiate the rigging, we start with a crew of one hundred, and by the time the event rolls in, we have six hundred people working on the project.

That’s huge. How long does it take to set up?

We start four days in advance, and as we get going, we work shifts. As we get closer, we are on-site and working around the clock, with a full 24-hour work program leading up to the start. 

That is quite an endeavour. Does that include the food stalls and other stands?

No, this is just the crew working with me. Understand that a lot of that – the team and the hours to build – is all about safety. This event is high-profile and at the National Heritage Site. There are a lot of things that have to be ordentlik.

How does the selection work? How do you actually get into the event? 

There are 32 top competitive Drifters, and it is an invite-only event. So, in a way, it is a private party, but we choose our drivers carefully over the whole year. We observe their performances in Gymkhana and Drifting events throughout the year so we know who should be in it. 

DRIFTCity Grand Parade

The spectator set-up at DRIFTCity. © Eric Palmer





The Car Show

Then you have the car show. Tell us about that.

The car show has 80-odd cars, and they compete as well. They are hand-selected and invited to attend. Meguiar’s South Africa is on board with us this year for the Custom Car Show segment, which is always a huge hit.

Who else is on board this year?

Believe it or not, it has been five years since the last one. For this year, Monster Energy, Mequiar’s, City Of Cape Town and Tubestone Tires are all partners. McDonald’s has also come on board for the kid’s play area.   

Last year, the event was cancelled for safety reasons. What was the story there?

Our biggest concern is always the wind. Many people think it’s the rain, but it’s actually the wind that is the problem. Also, some people believe that it is about the safety of the drivers when, in fact, we often make decisions based on the safety of the spectators. Due to the location, the Grand Parade has these wind tunnels, where particular winds come funnelling down toward the event site, and this causes possible safety issues with the spectators and the Grandstand and such. If it’s raining, it’s not a problem. There might be less burning of rubber and less smoke, but we can still go ahead. If it’s a windy forecast, like last year, we must cancel for safety reasons. 

Then when it’s over? Is it a massive de-rig?

It takes us one day to strike the site and pack it away until next year. So, the whole process is a six-day event. Four days to rig, event day, and one day after the event to pack it all away.

How many people are you expecting to be there on Sunday

Six to eight thousand people. It’s going to be a good day. 

Catch DRIFTCity at the Grand Parade, Cape Town, this Sunday, 24 September.

 DRIFTCity Quick Facts

DRIFTCity 2023 – Sunday, 24 September 2023. 

Gates open @ 11h00! 

Get your tickets at Computicket. 

General Access Standing @ R150 (Computicket) / R170 (At the gate).

Grandstand Seating – unreserved @ R280

Get tickets for DRIFTCity 2023