In spite of being denied permission – Red Bull drifted cars at a 11th century Ukraine cathedral and severely damaged 20,000 sq.ft of the UNESCO site with tire marks.


Red Bull is in trouble for shooting one of its adrenaline-pumping commercials in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. The energy drink company’s motorsports arm allegedly defied local authorities and conducted a drifting event at a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On August 10, the courtyard in front of the historic Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv turned into a playground world championship drifter Conor Shanahan in his S15 Nissan and three-time Ukraine champion Aleksandr Grinchuk in a 350Z. Shooting a commercial for Red Bull, the duo drifted in tandem around the square, which immediately attracted public attention. However, not everyone was thrilled.


Kyiv’s deputy mayor Kostiantyn Usov took to Facebook claimed that the event organized by Red Bull was denied permission. As proof, Usov uploaded the letter sent by Red Bull requesting permission to drift near the Cathedral on Facebook. The letter of denial by the Kyiv City Council was also posted along with it, which categorically cites concerns of the damaging impact the event can have on the historic site. However, Red Bull went ahead with the planned event anyway, choosing to ignore the denial of permission.

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Tire marks on the historic site.

“It’s not just an intolerable act of vandalism; it’s rude behaviors (sic) towards Kyiv residents and against one of the most sacred places of Ukraine, the Sophia of Kyiv,” said Usov in a Facebook post. “Think of Red Bull drifting on the Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican. Or a motocross race next to La Sagrada Familia. How much time would it take for police to arrest the perpetrators?”

The cars were impounded by the authorities. Via Twitter – @mhmck

As a fallback, both the drift cars were impounded, while the total cost to repair the damage is estimated to be around 47,092.14 Ukrainian Hryvnia (about $1700), which is to be paid by the company. The yellow-colored bricks of the square received most of the damage, with the two cars ending up drawing a giant eight with tire marks. Red Bull has also been charged a meager fine of 1,700 Hryvnia (around $63) for disobeying the city council. There’s no news on the two confiscated cars as of yet.

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The site after the stunt. Via – Twitter @mhmck

Red Bull, however, claims that it had all the necessary permissions for the shoot and cleaned the mess right after the event. Nevertheless, damaging a historic site is never a good idea and the company along with the two drivers have been getting a lot of hate on social media for it.

[Via – Jalopnik]

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Written By
Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.