Christopher Howson told police he wanted to "wind up" the car owner and tragic victim, soldier Gordon Quigley, by racing through the streets of Billingham, near Stockton.
Howson – who was best man at Mr Quigley's wedding in 2006 – had never passed his test and was not insured to drive his friend's vehicle, Teesside Crown Court heard.
The 29-year-old music student had probably drunk seven pints and two cans of lager before the late-night tragedy in April last year. After overtaking and undertaking other cars at high speed, and driving "aggressively", Howson lost control of the Ford Focus, hit a central reservation and overturned.
His friend – a lance corporal in the army, based at Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire – was in the front seat, and died of massive head injuries.
In a moving victim-impact statement, his widow, Katie, said she cannot bear to look at their wedding photographs which show her smiling husband and his killer.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, told Howson he had "utterly destroyed" the lives of Mrs Quigley and her two children, and said: "You knew you were driving dangerously."
He added: "You set out to drive at excessive speed, dangerously, and to show off in order to wind up Mr Quigley, and you ignored warnings to slow down.
"Obviously, no sentence I can impose upon you can do anything to relieve the grief Mr Quigley's widow, his family and his many friends now endure.
"They will have to bear the dreadful burden of the untimely loss of their loved one, and you will have to continue to bear the burden of the knowledge you were responsible for killing your close friend."
The court heard how the pals and another man had been drinking as they watched football and the Grand National ahead of Mr Quigley's six-month tour to Afghanistan.
Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said Howson was passed the keys, and seemed to be given them on the night because he was the least drunk.
After the crash, as passers-by came to help, hysterical Howson screamed: "I've killed him. I'm f***ed, here, I'm f***ed - What have I done. I'm so sorry."
In an interview with police after giving a reading of almost twice the legal drink-drive limit, he admitted he had been driving "like an idiot" to wind up Mr Quigley, 26, who was from Paisley, Renfrewshire.
Peter Makepeace, mitigating, said: "Genuinely, this is a case where one could bankrupt the English language in trying to express the regret and remorse he has for his actions.
"He knows he must receive condign punishment for what he has done, and he knows he deserves it. He wishes Your Honour to pass the sentence he deserves."
Howson, of Bosworth Way, Billingham, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and excess alcohol.
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