Judge William Morris decreed the sentence in Bolton Crown Court near Manchester, Sky News reported.
Lee Bradley, 26, who was convicted of manslaughter as a juvenile a decade ago, admitted driving his Saab into the throng outside a strip of bars and clubs in Rochdale last October. He surrendered days later.
Morris imposed an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection with a minimum of six years before Bradley can seek parole.
"You were deliberately using this motor vehicle as a weapon, a fearsome weapon," the judge said.