Drifting is an exhilarating motorsport technique that involves intentionally oversteering and sliding a car through corners. It is a skill that requires precision, control, and finesse. If you’ve ever watched professional drifters glide their vehicles sideways with smoke billowing from the tires, you’ve probably wondered how they do it. In this guide, we will explore the world of drifting and provide you with everything you need to learn this thrilling art form.
Getting Started with Drifting
Understanding the basics
Before diving into the techniques, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of drifting. Drifting techniques include power sliding, clutch kicking, handbrake techniques, and the Scandinavian flick. As for car requirements, a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicle with enough horsepower is ideal for drifting. Additionally, traction control and stability control systems should be disabled to allow for more freedom in controlling the car’s movements.
Finding a suitable location
When starting out, it’s crucial to find legal and safe drift spots to practice. Look for empty parking lots, closed courses, or private tracks that allow drifting. It’s essential to respect local laws and regulations to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Joining drift events and private track days can also provide controlled and supervised environments for practicing and learning from experienced drifters.
Mastering Drifting Techniques
Perfecting car control
Car control is the key to mastering drifting. Develop throttle control skills to adjust the power delivery and maintain the desired slide angle. Practice different steering techniques, such as hand-over-hand and opposite lock, to control the car’s direction during a drift. Similarly, understanding various braking techniques and learning how to shift and control the clutch effectively will enhance your ability to maintain control throughout a drift.
Initiating and maintaining a drift
Learning how to initiate and maintain a drift is essential for becoming a skilled drifter. Explore techniques like handbrake turns, where you pull the handbrake to induce oversteer and start a drift. Clutch kicking is another method that involves quickly engaging and disengaging the clutch to unsettle the rear tires and initiate a slide. Power sliding involves modulating throttle input to control and maintain the drift. Lastly, the Scandinavian flick is a technique that combines weight transfer and steering input to initiate a drift by quickly flicking the steering wheel in one direction before counter-steering.
Essential Drifting Skills and Practices
Understanding weight transfer
Mastering weight transfer is crucial in drifting. Learn techniques to transfer weight to the rear wheels during entry to create oversteer. Experiment with weight distribution and understand how it affects the car’s behavior during a drift. Proper weight transfer helps maintain control and stability throughout the maneuver.
Tire and suspension setups
Selecting the right tires is vital for drifting. Look for tires with softer compounds and lower tread patterns to maximize traction during slides. Additionally, adjusting suspension settings can improve handling and allow for better control during drifts. Experiment with different setups to find what works best for your driving style and the specific conditions you are drifting in.
Drift-specific driving techniques
Developing drift-specific driving techniques will take your drifting to the next level. Counter-steering involves turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the drift to maintain a smooth line and control the car’s angle. Mastering feinting, a technique where you quickly shift the car’s weight to initiate a sudden change in direction, can help you link drifts and perform exciting transitions. “Dirty driving” techniques, such as tapping other cars’ rear bumpers, can be used in tandem drifting to maintain proximity and create exciting tandem battles.
Wearing appropriate safety gear
Prioritize safety when practicing drifting. Always wear a helmet and other appropriate safety gear, such as fire-resistant suits and gloves, to protect yourself in case of accidents or spinouts. Don’t underestimate the importance of safety equipment when pushing the limits of your drifting skills.
Ensuring car safety features are intact
Regularly check your car’s safety features to ensure they are functioning correctly. Make sure items like seat belts, roll cages, and safety harnesses are properly installed and in good condition. Investing in a fire extinguisher and having it easily accessible within the car can also provide an additional layer of safety during drift sessions.
Maintaining a safe environment for practice
When practicing, always prioritize the safety of yourself and others. Choose locations away from pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Be aware of your surroundings and ensure there are no obstacles or hazards nearby that may pose risks. If practicing on private tracks or drift events, ensure that safety measures and personnel are in place to respond to any potential accidents or emergencies.
Next Level Drifting
Competing in drift events
Once you’ve honed your drifting skills, you may want to venture into drift competitions. Understand different drift competition formats, such as judged tandems or solo runs, and familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations for each event. Preparing for drift competitions involves thorough car inspection, ensuring proper tire pressures, and practicing specific maneuvers and techniques that align with the competition’s requirements.
Advanced drifting techniques
As you progress in drifting, you can explore advanced techniques to enhance your performance. Tandem drifting involves synchronized drifting with another vehicle, creating thrilling displays of skill and control. Learn about clipping points and clipping zones, which are predetermined markers where the car must come close to or “clip” during a drift. Switchbacks and linking drifts require precise timing and car control to transition smoothly between different drift angles and directions.
Honing Your Skills and Progressing
Learning to drift is a continuous journey that requires dedication, practice, and a willingness to push your limits. Start by mastering the basics, perfecting your car control, and understanding the dynamics of drifting. Gradually build up your skills through consistent practice and gradually move on to more advanced techniques and challenges. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from experienced drifters, attend drift events, and learn from their expertise. Embrace the thrill of drifting and enjoy the ride as you progress and become a skilled drifter.