How to Properly Drift Your Car

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON October 19th, 2019

How to Drift Your Car

The drift of a car refers to the way the hindmost part of it swings to either side. Drifting a vehicle is one of the most difficult skills involved in driving; it requires much practice and preparation. When making such preparations, one should fit the car with a pair of inexpensive rear tires, and the car being used should have a high degree of the caster, which is the tendency of the front wheels to camber inward as the front ones are turned. Certain safety devices, including a set of racing straps and a rolling cage, are also needed; and the engine and transmission should also be well serviced. Let’s dive deep on how to properly drift your car:

 

How to Properly Drift Your Car

The first thing to do is take the car to a safe driving area and set up a cone there, then drive up to it and practice making a 180° handbrake turn until you are exactly that angle from your starting position. Ripping the parking brake is also an important related skill, as it is necessary for opposite locking, often colloquially called counter-steering, which is when you use oversteer to make a rapid turn with no loss of momentum. The goal is to be able to turn around the cone, and gaining the momentum required to do this requires an initial speed of 30 to 40 mph; keep increasing this speed until you feel comfortable.

The throttle is an important component in drifting: The more it is applied, the more the car turns, and the farther it rotates away from the center of that turn. Reducing the amount of throttle reduces the angle of rotation. Another essential part is the limited-slip differential (LSD), a gear arrangement that may be used in place of the standard differential; it controls the output shafts’ angular velocity while limiting the disparity.

Additional skills are involved in drifting with a car that has both rear-wheel drive and manual transmission (the ratio between the two should be as equal as possible) and with a car that has front-wheel drive. Both should be done in an open area. The former is done at 20 to 30 mph, with the transmission locked into low gear if possible.

For the front-wheel-drive— and it must be given as warning that this is so dangerous that it should never be done on the road, and is actually illegal— the approach should ideally be done in mid-second gear. The driver turns around the cone, hand on the parking brake, and performs an opposite lock. As with all forms of drifting, this should be practiced until the driver is both familiar and comfortable with it.

 

The Best Drifting Techniques

There are also the “hand brake” and “clutch kick” techniques. For the former, the vehicle should be in second gear, which puts the minimal amount of stress on the mechanisms. With the clutch pushed in, and the steering wheel flicked inward of the direction of turning, the driver steers with great force in that direction, pulling on the parking brake at the same time. Subsequently, he releases the clutch, puts pressure on the gas, and steers the vehicle in the desired direction.

The so-called “clutch kick” technique is used when the car is already in motion but is losing angle. It is done by rapidly kicking the clutch pedal in and out so that the car goes back into the drift.

 

Learn the Difference

A racing car is very different from a regular car in certain ways. It has a streamlined body that is close to the ground and is shorter, having a driver’s seat only. They should be drifted in such a way as to make it easy to turn quickly around a curve. Drifting a racing car requires the maximum degree of control, the tightest grip possible on all four tires.

Drifting has now become a major competitive sport in its own right; it originated in Japan during the 1970s and soon became popular in the United States, Australia, and almost all other countries. At these competitions, drivers are judged according to their speed, the angle at which they turn, and the line they take through one or more corners.