Some, unlike us, like seeing life sideways. We’re talking about drifting. Yes we’ve all seen the movie Fast and furious Tokyo drift, but how does drifting work?
Drifting basically is controlled oversteering. Which means the rear of the car loses traction trying to move ahead while the front is still maintaining control by countersteering. The front of the car will direct where the driver wants to go (also called as opposite lock). Drifting requires a lot of input from the driver. The clutch, brake, throttle, gear shifting and steering needs to be used to keep the car in controlled oversteer.
Now let us get into detail to see how to drift a car.
First of all, drifting is dangerous! And it’s not to be performed on the streets. Find an open area which is free of pedestrians, motorists and obstacles, ideally an enclosed race track.
Second, you’ll need a manual car with a rear wheel drive. Drifting works best with rear wheel drive cars.
Start by increasing the pressure of the rear tyres a little bit, this will reduce contact patch/traction on the rear. Slightly worn-out tyres for the rear would work too. Head out to area where you want to drift. For starters, remember to drift the car on second gear.
Accelerate and shit into second gear with room to rev. Keep the car revving on the engines powerband when you’re closing a corner to turn. As you approach the corner’s turn in point, push the clutch and flick the steering wheel to the inside of the turn while simultaneously pulling the hand break.
(Now what this does is it locks your rear wheels completely making it lose traction, and the rear end of the car starts skidding sideways) Immediately put pressure on the accelerator, let the clutch loose and steer the car in direction of the slide (countersteer). Use the throttle to control the angle of the drift. Less throttle will straighten up the car and more throttle will make the car turn more. At this point the driver will have to continuously adjust the clutch and throttle to keep the car in drift motion so that the rear keeps skidding.
These steps need to happen super quick i.e. within seconds to make the car drift.
Here’s the sequence again so you can remember.
Cluth & steer – Hand brake – Throttle – Clutch and countersteer
Now all you need is a lot of practice. Drifting will only come with practice. As you practice you’ll get quicker on the sequence and learn to feel the throttle.
Drifting at higher speeds needs car mods like stiffer suspension for stability, changed gearing ratios to generate more torque, more steering angles and many more.
Here’s a video of Ken Block (professional rally driver) drifting in San Francisco! But DC shoes had shut down a part of the city for this video. So remember take to the tracks. Drifting is not for the streets.