How To Drift – Taster!
Want to learn to drift? Then you need to check out our how to drift article for the complete guide. This article is a small taster of how to get started in drifting.
Before we begin it’s important to recognize that drifting is illegal on public property and should only be conducted on private land or during drifting a competition.
With that out of the way, drifting is perhaps one of the world’s most exhilarating experiences available for someone who enjoys being behind the wheel of a car but it can take time to master the technique, so here are some quick tips to get started with drifting for the first time.
Having the right car for the job
To get started with drifting you need to pick the right car (or platform), something rear-wheel-drive, with decent power and a limited slip differential should get you pointed in the right direction (no pun intended). You can get some good ideas on your your new ride from our best drift cars for beginners article.
Find a safe space to practice
Other than the right car, the next most important thing to consider before drifting for the first time is where you plan to do it.
Although drifting can be performed on any surface it should ideally be smooth asphalt or tarmac. Rough runways as often found on disused air bases offers great space but the often poorly maintained surface is going to play hell with your rubber.
To make sure that you don’t end up needing the services of a car accident attorney you should ensure to only drift on private land or at a track specifically insured for drifting. Streeto is bad.
The art of the drift
There are four steps to the art of drifting, here is a quick summary:
1 – Initiation (Starting the drift)
The initiation is arguably the most important part of drifting if you get the initiation wrong, the rest isn’t going to fall into place. It’s going to take time to get right, and it’s undoubtedly going to test your patience, but the reward is well worth the effort.
Your rear tires will grip the road up to a maximum point of grip. Once this is exceeded, the car will begin to slide until the grip is restored. Therefore, learning the grip levels of the car is absolutely vital, and tire pressures will play a huge role in this.
2 – Maintaining the drift
Now that we’ve gained a decent understanding of initiation, you should be capable of bringing the car to the point where steering and throttle inputs will now become essential to controlling the drift through the corner.
By the end of this section, your aim will be to drift through the corner using a smooth arc, following the typical racing line. If you apex too soon, you’ll probably need to end the drift early. Too late and you’ll be on the straight too early and won’t be able to maintain the drift.
Once you’ve initiated, the back end has stepped out, you’ve ‘caught’ the weight shift. It’s now a calculated game between your hands and feet to judge the balance of the rear of the car using gentle, progressive motions to maintain the drift.
3 – Transition
Transitioning is one of the most challenging aspects of drifting, and even if you’re now capable of confidently throwing it down into a corner, the chances are that transitioning is waiting to throw a curveball into the mix.
If you’re not sure what a transition is, it’s when you’ve gone around one corner, and now you’re faced with the next corner which is pointing in the opposite direction, which you now need to tackle whilst continuing to maintain the drift. This is where your senses will be tested as you learn more about the weight transfer of your car.
There’s a lot going on, and it all happens extremely quickly!
4 – Exiting the Drift
Now that you’re confident with initiating, maintaining and transitioning, it’s time to learn how to exit the drift in the correct manner, to prevent any unwanted surprises!
Naturally, your instinct will tell you that you need to lift off the throttle to straighten the car out, but you actually want to maintain or even increase the amount of throttle required whilst turning the wheel and feeling the back end come around to a safe position before gripping up again.
As you feel the correct steering angle returning, slowly ease off on the gas until the car returns to its natural state. The car will want to go back into a straight line again rather than fighting the weight forces.