Table of Contents
Start the engine, shift the car’s weight balance back and forth through the turns, and enjoy sliding sideways. Sounds thrilling and easy? Although it is more complicated than it sounds, there are several tricks you can learn to make your car drift.
1 Covering the Basics
Drifting is a driving technique where you put the car in a condition of controlled oversteer. It is mainly used in racing; however, a lot of people do it for fun. Drifting is easy to perform if your car has rear-wheel drive. When done properly and safely, drifting can be a very spectacular trick to pull off with your vehicle.
First of all, to start a drift, let’s move to the track to learn all the details with your own eyes.
Look, for instance, at the S-chassis Nissan rounding the corner with its heavily modified body. Its highly-powered engine is furiously screaming, and the plumes of white smoke are fiercely erupting from the rear wheels. Behind the Nissan, you can see a similarly modified Mazda RX-7, and one after another, the two cars perform dramatic slides as they move on a hot and tight road.
Despite thrashed engines and screeching tires, their movements are all perfectly composed and fully coordinated. Here you may start wondering just how hard it can be to make a car behave in such a manner.
The plan is simple. Let’s begin with the simplest tricks before switching things up to more complicated techniques. If you follow all of the instructions correctly, you may progress from a total drift newbie to someone who could make a few consistent slides by the end of the session.
2 Selecting a Car
Although you don’t need the car upgraded to the extent of those taking part in competitive drifting, you’d better use a car that is not entirely stock. The most common modifications may include welding the diffs of the car and tweaking the suspension to make the car slide much easier on the surface.
But indeed, some cheaper options can help you with drifting:
- First, opt for manual transmission cars over automatic ones. Manual transmission cars have a gear shift and a clutch pedal that enables you to control the process. The extra control lets you achieve the right speed and angle required for sliding when you’re drifting.
- Use worn-out tires. They have less traction, so your car may slide more effortlessly when you round a corner.
3 Finding a Training Spot
Where to go to start drifting? You can practice pretty much anywhere where you can drive a car. Nevertheless, try to find a place safe for passers-by. But we suggest training on the dedicated tracks, usually lubricated with a specific mixture of vegetable oil and water.
4 Performing the Drift: Method 1
Before running through the process, make a quick sighting lap to learn the track’s layout and then move on to practice. By the way, it’s essential to let the car do as much of the work for you as possible. So, if you still have not lost your enthusiasm, here are the five main steps to follow:
- Accelerate your car up to 30mph. It is the optimal speed for sliding around the corner. If you drive too fast, you are likely to lose control during the drift. If you are moving slower than this, you may not have enough speed to get around the bend.
- Turn the steering wheel towards the curve. Once you enter the bend, begin turning in the direction of it. Spin the wheel mildly without tension. This brings you closer to the drift; however, it’s not the right time to start it. Keep the car close to the inner side of the turn for now. Remember to keep your hands on the wheel so you’re ready to control it all the time.
- Spin the wheel toward the corner while using the throttle. Try to manage these actions at the same time. Add gas by roughly pressing down the gas pedal and then fiercely turn the steering wheel. If everything is done correctly, you will feel the car begin to spin as the rear wheels lose traction.
- Steer away from the turn to start drifting around the bend. Here it would be best if you were quick not to lose control. If you succeed, the car will move in the direction you want. Don’t forget to rotate the steering wheel with force to balance the vehicle. Also, continue adding gas to apply even more throttle. If you do it too gently, the car’s back end will come all the way around, making you spin out.
- Balance the car once you get around the bend. Leave the throttle to reduce the speed. As the vehicle begins straightening out, gradually turn the wheel back toward the turn. Let the car move toward where you want it to. As soon as the front part of the car gets around the corner, you can start moving toward the road. Once the vehicle is stable, you can also press down on the gas pedal to drive away.
The reality is, of course, completely different. Learning the steps is one thing. Executing them successfully on the track is another challenge. So expectedly, your first few attempts at getting the car out of shape may result in total failures.
Be incredibly patient. Remind yourself of the significance of letting the car work for you. Focus on the need for patience when it requires you to do your best. Allow yourself tiny pauses between the steps so you can entirely feel what the car is doing and how its balance is gradually shifting beneath you.
With more practice, you will feel comfortable in all the steps and the quick transitions between them. Then, after a few more failures and repeated steering, balancing, and accelerating, your actions will become more coordinated and natural, and you will intuitively know what and how to do.
5 Performing the Drift: Method 2
- Approach the inner edge of a bend at an average speed. Put the car into second gear. Press down the gas to accelerate up to 30mph and 3,000 RPM. When you approach the turn, make sure the vehicle is near the inner side of the road, so you have plenty of space to slide around it. Don’t run too fast; otherwise, you are likely to fail. If you find it difficult to control the car around a bend, try to reach it with a little less speed.
- Steer in the direction of the turn to begin power sliding. Spin the steering wheel in the direction of the turn like you usually do when rounding a curve. Push the gas pedal, keeping it down about 80% of the way to open up the throttle. As you enter the bend, continue steering toward the direction you want to go.
- Push the clutch pedal and release it a few times to drift. The car will become stable as the rear wheels get traction with the surface. Press down on the clutch with force, then release it, and repeat as fast as possible. While you’re using the clutch pedal, keep your right foot hard placed on the gas. The car needs the power going from the open throttle to run through the curve.
- Use the clutch pedal again if you feel the car losing its power. Pressing the clutch quickly down helps increase the engine speed so you can move through the curve. When you reach the end of the turn, the car should locate right in the middle of the track. Make sure the car gets enough power to be there and finish drifting through the turn.
6 Improving the Technique
Now it’s time to make a few successive slides. Here drifting becomes a true masterpiece, and you need to ignore the desire to make a standard racing line. The closer you get to the track edges, the more space you have to start your next drift.
Patience and persistence are once again vital here. You have to stay on the power at the end of the first drift before repeating the process once again. Then, the car swings beneath you; you catch it and move into the following slide.
7 Drifting Like a Pro
It may take roughly three or four years or so of solid practice to be able to drift flawlessly like a pro.
But once you’re there, the scope of your imagination becomes the only limitation. So those enthusiasts who aren’t afraid to be creative, who are willing to widen their horizons, test their abilities, and take risks, are easily the most exciting to watch. Just like any artist.
8 And Finally…
Today, if you want to take in drifting on a more professional level, you’d better go to the drift school, where you can learn all the nuances under the guidance of an expert. If you already have enough experience, you can try driving race cars such as a McLaren 12C GT3 or doing stunt driving courses. You may also like the ‘police pursuit,’ which sounds hilarious. Nevertheless, who wouldn’t have fun fleeing a professionally driven Dodge Charger police car in a Porsche Boxster?