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PROFESSIONAL drivers have backed a Lancashire Telegraph campaign to save young lives at an international motor sport event.

The JDM Allstars European Drifting Championships got off the starting grid at the Trafford Centre today to showcase the sport which is taking the country by storm.

Young enthusiasts from across East Lancashire, who will be at the two-day event, will also be encouraged to leave the driving to the experts.

Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers the car, causing it to slide sideways around the track at high speed. Some drivers can reach speeds of up to 60mph.

The Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, in conjunction with the Lancashire Telegraph Wasted Lives Campaign, has teamed up with the JDM Allstars for the Save It For The Track initiative to deter drivers from copying the professionals.

Darwen lorry driver Steve Will, 36, drives a £50,000 blue BMW M3 Turbo, the only one of its kind in the country, built by Mick Tomlinson, from A Frame Engineering, in Barrowford.

He got into drifting three years ago and started competing professionally just 12 month ago. He said: “Drifting should only be done on a track. Doing it on the road, you will only kill yourself and someone else. You should save it for the track.

“Drifting on the roads is a no go. People who say they have been drifting on the roads, on forums, are shunned. We don’t want anything to do with it.”

Linda Sanderson, from the Road Safety Partnership, said: “One of the greatest killers of young drivers is a lack of experience and this is a unique and innovative way of learning to control a car in a totally safe setting.”

Niall Gunn, director of JDM Allstars, said: “There is a time and a place for performance and control driving and we aim to make this a point and echo the message Save It For The Track.

“Road safety has always been our priority for our professional scale events and this is a great way of getting the point across to our fans, a high percentage of whom are young motorists.”