What is Driftopia?

I find it hard to believe, but I have been here for two decades, writing about my passion for motorsports. Am I getting old(er)? While this site has ebbed and flowed with the ups and downs of my journey, one thing remains constant: this will always be the original/OG Driftopia. I say that because the name I coined decades ago likes to pop up from time to time. In use by others in sometimes related but often times unrelated ways. So this may be the post where I stomp my feet and cross my arms while I proclaim, ‘I was here first!’

What is Driftopia?

In writing this post, I have taken quite a trip down memory lane, stirring up a lot of good memories and a few old defeats in the process. What I came up with are several answers to this simple question.

First, Driftopia has been my website since the early 2000’s. The website of racecar driver and blogger Christopher Simmons. I have explored my passion for automotive motorsport through my writings, whether it is competition, building new racecars, or going on adventures, this is a place where I share my journey and knowledge.

Driftopia also began as a drifting website. When I started this journey, drifting was starting to emerge in the United States. Drifting was a motorsport I was already familiar with having watched countless hours of Best Motoring vids. And for me, the idea of drifting meant peace. Being at one with the car and in ultimate control. Eventually, this led to the name Driftopia for the website. A contraction of ‘drifting’ and ‘utopia’ to convey the feeling one gets when mastering car control. The same sensation that is applicable to the grip racing I do today.

Allow me to quote myself. Here is the original front page of Driftopia.com courtesy of the Wayback Machine. (archive.org)

Snapshot of the orginal homepage at Driftopia.com from the early 2000's.
The original homepage of Driftopia.com.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

While we are at it, let’s look at how the site has evolved. I started as a tech nerd without a wealth of mechanical knowledge, just a desire to learn. This was before YouTube and social media consolidation when forums and chat rooms allowed like-minded individuals to exchange knowledge and forge friendships. Learning through research and a bit of trial and error.

One of the foundations of Driftopia is knowledge and the exchanging of said knowledge. The site used to have a forum to facilitate this. However, it is no longer a part of the site as internet users at large began focusing their energy on social media.

The site was converted from Dreamweaver to WordPress after a few years to make publishing easier.

Image of the WordPress conversion for Driftopia.com.
Version 1 of the WordPress conversion made the site a lot easier to manage as it grew. The MySpace link at the top should give you an idea of how long Driftopia has been around.
WordPress template evolution of Driftopia.com
I’ve used several templates for the site over the years.

After looking at some of the old designs and the current ones, it may be time to shake things up a bit again.

One more thing I found is the old t-shirt design.

'no shame in these skidmarks' is the official slogan of Driftopia.com
How is this for an official slogan: ‘ No shame in these skidmarks? ‘ The old-school shirt design is getting a modern refresh here shortly.

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

So that brings me to the ‘others.’ There used to be a ‘Driftopia’ drifting series overseas that graciously ‘borrowed’ the name, but the biggest offender is Namco, which created a drifting game of the same name. This happened during a period when I was absent from the site. During my early 30s, life became quite difficult, and the site suffered. By the time I began writing again, Namco’s usage, although more akin to stealing the Driftopia name, had decimated my SEO and ranking. I took my lumps on this one and moved on.

Other, non-motorsport usages pop up from time to time. They should probably use a different name since the .com and everything else around it are staying put. But that is up to them to decide.

Looking Forward

I think the proper way to close is to get personal. Driftopia has been a tremendous source of growth for me. Through this site, I’ve learned everything about motorsports, from building unique racecars to becoming an accomplished racecar driver myself to web design and more. I’ve also made lifelong friends in the process. Through the ups and downs of the last twenty years, my passion for Driftopia has never waned.

When I disappear, it has always been work. My work journey has been highly successful yet highly stressful, forcing me to neglect the site at crucial times. As I age, my work/life balance continues to shift, and it becomes more important to focus my energy where my heart is—and that is here. This is something I will be talking about more in the future and Driftopia will continue to be my motorsports home.

By Chris Simmons


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