• How to do a Basic Drift

    Drift racing is becoming increasingly popular across the United States and worldwide. As more people become fans of drifting, there is that all-too common temptation to wonder how exactly the pros accomplish such beautiful control of their vehicles. Next comes the question: “I wonder if I can do that too?” The truth is that virtually any car can be drifted given the right conditions. Here is an explanation of the most basic “E-brake” drift and the procedure for doing it.

    First Things First

    Drifting puts your vehicle under drastically increased stress and strain and may very well damage it. The fact of the matter is that most vehicles just aren’t built to be smashed around like a drift car. Keep that in mind. You should never attempt to drift a SUV or Van. The center of gravity on these vehicles are too high and they could tip. In fact, no vehicle should ever be drifted except by a pro. That being said, let’s move on to the next step.

    Play Safe, Stay Legal

    You should also be aware that performing any kind of drifting maneuver on a public road almost definitely constitutes reckless driving. You would be doing yourself a favor by not trying this on your local street. Instead, it’s better to use an open area like a parking lot to practice your moves. Just make sure you have permission to use the lot, the area is clear of debris and obstructions (light posts) and that no one is going to pull into the lot right in the middle of your exercise.

    Bust a Move

    The E-brake drift is the most basic and easiest drifting maneuver to master. It is comprised in 4 steps.

    1. For most cars it’s between 30 and 45 mph.
    2. With the car moving forward at its own “perfect speed”, the next step is to pre-load the suspension and transfer weight by turning the wheel. We’ll perform a left-hand drift first. To pre-load the suspension for a left-hand turn, the driver will first “feign” right (turn the wheel very slightly to the right). This exaggerates the effect of the weight shift. Immediately following the “feign” motion, the wheel should be turned ¼ to 2/3 turn to the left, beginning the turn.
    3. As soon as the turn is started, the emergency brake is applied to break the traction of the rear tires and begin the slide. Keep your hand ready to release the lever, because in order for the slide to be stopped, the brake must be disengaged.
    4. As the rear end swings around, turn the wheel the same direction that the rear end is moving (for a left hand turn, you’ll turn the wheel to the RIGHT as soon as the turn is started) in order to control the slide. The throttle can also be applied here to control the motion of the car and duration of the drift.

    This technique will work for initiating a drift in almost any car. As you practice, try different combinations of weight transfer, throttle control, brake and steering to get the car to respond differently.