Learning how to drift can be a difficult thing to do. So the people at Driver 61 put together this video and 4 step guide to get you ready for this highly addictive, fun and possibly profitable sport. Check it out below and be sure to go check out their site for more.
First you should never ever attempt to drift on a public road, it’s illegal, dangerous and someone could get seriously hurt. The best thing to do is to rent some time at a track, which you can do at many race circuits or airfields, lay out some cones, then try to drift around them. That way you are safe, everyone else is safe, and there shouldn’t be anything close by to hit.
A regular street car is more difficult to drift compared to a purposefully built drift ride, which would have loads of power, a purpose built diff and a hand E-brake.
Regular street cars are softer, less powerful and more likely to understeer. Therefore, you need to be quite aggressive with your throttle and steering inputs – the opposite to normal track driving advice.
Step 1: Beginning the Drift
Starting the drift is relatively easy. However because the GT86 used in the video (and most road cars) don’t have too much power, we’re going to have to use more than just the throttle.
Approach the corner with some speed, brake to transfer some weight to the front and away from the rear, and flick the steering to initiate the drift.
So you brake before the corner and while the front of the car is lowered, and the rear is light, we flick the steering into the corner. The rear should then break traction, and you’ll need to quickly apply opposite lock (see the video for more detail).
If you are too soft with your inputs at this point, the car will understeer. Too rough and the car will spin quickly. So it’ll take you a few attempts to get it right, but just try to be conscious of what’s going wrong each time and refine your steering on the next attempt.
Step 2: Maintaining the Drift
Maintaining the drift is the fun part – it’s so satisfying to have the car fully sideways, with loads of angle. The car feels sensitive yet quite stable. It’ll be in a nice area where if you lift off the throttle you’ll reduce drift angle, and if you put your foot down, you’ll increase it.
The common mistake here is to use too little throttle. It’s surprising how much throttle you can put into the car, so as you’re practicing play with your throttle input, and don’t be scared to use a boot full!
If you don’t have enough throttle when maintaining the drift, the car will begin to straighten up as the rear tires will have too much grip. Give it too much throttle and you’ll gain too much angle, run out of steering lock and spin.
Step 3: Transitioning the Drift
The transition is the trickiest part – the part where you go from drifting one way, to the other. There’s a lot going on, it all happens quickly, and the window where the transition has the right amount of force is quite small.
This part will take quite a lot of practice. Transition too hard and you’ll spin, too soft, and you’ll understeer. What you need to make sure you do is to be aware of the mistakes you make, so you can try to correct them on your next attempt.
The trick when transitioning is to slightly over rotate the car just before you want to change direction, and then lift off the accelerator. This will cause the rear tires to grip momentarily and propel the car in the opposite direction, ensuring that you won’t understeer.
As the car’s direction is changing, you’ll need to allow the steering wheel to spin between your hands. You need to make sure you catch the wheel it in the right place, but don’t worry this part tends to come quite naturally.
Once the car has flicked the other way, you’ll need to get back on the throttle quickly and considerably. If you’ve got the transition right, you’ll be able to get back on the throttle hard, and you’ll return to drift maintenance mode.
Step 4: Exiting the Drift
If the circuit is right, you can go from drift-to-transition-to-drift-to-transition-to-drift until you run out of tires, but what’s more likely is that you’ll want to straighten up and exit the drift at some point.
Much like the transition, this is quite a tricky part. The car is loaded up, and you’ll need to release that entire load smoothly.
In this fairly low powered GT86, you just allow the drift run out. This happens because as you open out the line and the steering, the car doesn’t have enough grunt to maintain a lot of drift angle.
The skill is making sure that you release the steering angle at the correct time. If you’re in a car with a lot of power, you’d need to release the throttle a small amount, to bring the rear back in line.
So that’s the Driver 61 guide to how to drift a road car. Please enjoy and remember do not practice on public roads.