How to learn how to drift a car properly

How to master drifting by car

Drifting was born in Japan and since that time it is conquering the hearts of motorists all over the world. It is a wonderful sport with drive, adrenaline, spectacle and danger. One of the advantages of this sport is the absence of high costs, which is even more encouraging for young guys and even girls. Yes, the fair sex is also not indifferent to crazy passes, burning rubber and clouds of smoke.

How to drift with a car

You can learn how to drift with a car that will be modified minimally and with old tires. This will be enough for learning. And now we are going to find out how to learn how to drift by car.

What is drifting?

In translation this word means drifting. It may be accidental or intentional and can be done on a car or motorcycle. The purpose of drifting is to maintain control while skidding. The traction from the rear wheels is lost, the driver is given manual control and the gas pedal. Before you start learning how to drift, you should think over your decision and study rules of drifting very carefully:

  • it is forbidden to perform maneuvers on city streets, drifting is performed in a designated place, as well as training,
  • the sport is very traumatic and often fatal,
  • vehicles are subject to heavy wear and tear and need constant repairs, expenses are a usual thing for sportsmen,
  • To learn how to drift properly, it is better to use a rear-wheel drive car.

None of this scares you, you are ready for difficulties and are not afraid of danger? Then we are going to tell you how to learn how to drift.

Rear wheel drive drifting

Firstly we are going to understand physics of drifting in order to understand better what process is going on. At the moment the skid begins, the rear wheels are forced to start sliding, a sharp increase in torque contributes to this. The trajectory of the vehicle must ensure that the rear part moves ahead of the front part of the car. If special conditions are created, the car will be in a skid until the turn is over. At its completion, the rear wheels will grip the pavement, allowing the car to take a stable position.

In order to start drifting training, you should know what are the stages of drifting performed on a car with rear-wheel drive.

  1. Going into the drift is carried out by shifting the center of gravity of the car on the front axle. This effect can be achieved by short-term braking. As soon as the weight is shifted, the car is steered into a corner and the rear wheels are sliding. The driver must quickly turn the steering wheel to the side of the turn and increase the torque through the accelerator pedal.
  2. The skid support along its entire trajectory is provided by holding sufficient revolutions of the power unit. The rear wheels in this case will be in constant slip. The steering corrects the direction of the vehicle. The car can leave the maneuver on its own, to prevent this situation, the engine revolutions are increased and a steeper angle of rotation of the steering wheel is taken. You need to control the throttle, if you overdo it, the skid will cease to be controllable, and the car will turn around.
  3. Exiting the maneuver requires a smooth release of the accelerator pedal. The driving wheels should come out of the slip and the car will be aligned with the steering. A sudden decrease in rpm will cause the car to become unstable and force it to maneuver in the other direction.
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Rear Wheel Drive Drifting

This is the basis of rear-wheel drifting, which should be learned well. It will be impossible to learn how to drift without it. The learning process is conducted according to the following principles:

  • choose a large, open place to drift without people or other cars,
  • The drift speed and angle should be increased gradually until you feel the car’s behavior.

Drifting on front-wheel drive

Having mastered rear-wheel drive, you can familiarize yourself with how to drift on front-wheel drive. This process can be accomplished in several ways. We will consider each of them.

  1. The first option is implemented as follows:
  • before the maneuver, the gear is reduced, revs are raised and centrifugal force is created by braking,
  • clutch and neutral gear,
  • the heel of the right foot presses on the gas and the toe on the brake, in this case there will be a momentary synchronization of revolutions,
  • and then you’ve got the clutch, you’ve got the downshift,
  • take the sock off the brake and move it to the gas.
  1. The second way is not applicable to all cars. Owners of cars with big volume of engine and impressive quantity of “horses” under a cowl can take it on an armory.
  • You have to go as fast as you can to get into a corner,
  • turn the wheels as much as possible to the opposite side of the skid, and step on the throttle,
  • If the skid is bad, you have to turn the steering wheel immediately to the side of the car,
  • add gas and keep going in the right direction.

Front wheel drive drifting

  1. The third way is the easiest, most accessible to beginners and widespread. Its essence is described below:
  • you go into the maneuver at maximum speed,
  • heel and toe synchronize the revs, it’s a trick we’ve seen before,
  • and then we drop down a gear,
  • the steering wheel is turned as far back as possible from the skid,
  • and then release the handbrake the moment you pass the maximum skid point,
  • you can’t reduce the rpm,
  • We level the steering wheel in the direction of travel.

Drifting on automatic

You may also drift on automatic transmission. There will be nuances of its own. There are three techniques, each of which will be discussed below.

  1. Using the handbrake is a common technique that is often used in practice. Its essence is as follows:
  • the car stands still, deactivate the DSC stabilization system by pressing the button for a long time (about 3-4 seconds),
  • yellow triangle should light up on the dashboard, it will indicate deactivated systems,
  • The automatic transmission is shifted to position D, and then the lever is moved to the left to DS,
  • put it in second gear to prevent automatic shifting when the wheels are spinning,
  • drive up to the corner and turn the steering wheel slightly to the other side, and then even less to the side of the skid,
  • at the same time the handbrake is raised, the return button should be depressed,
  • in literally a second we release the brake, going into a skid,
  • at the same time add gas (more gas – more radius and vice versa),
  • at the moment of leaving the maneuver the accelerator pedal is held, in this case the acceleration will not jerk,
  • the throttle must be in the open position (fully or halfway),
  • to level out, the gas pedal must be smoothly released while dropping the throttle.
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Automated drifting

  1. Counter-shift implies preliminary shifting of the car to the side different from the direction of maneuver. Actions of the driver should be as follows:
  • When making a right-hand manoeuvre, the car smoothly heads to the right-hand side,
  • then a sharp turn to the left, aiming not at the top of the manoeuvre, but slightly at the cut-off point of the corner,
  • the car will rock and the rear wheels will slide to the outside of the corner,
  • to add power after the countershift, a downshift (for rear and all-wheel drive) is engaged or the throttle is dropped on front-wheel drive.
  1. Countersteering is based on “dynamic whiplash.” This phenomenon increases the rotation of the vehicle during the final phase of the maneuver.
  • the handbrake is used to enter the maneuver,
  • when the vehicle will be facing in a direction other than the direction of the maneuver, the steering wheel is actively turned out and the traction is extinguished with a delay,
  • as a result of such actions the car will skid in the other direction.

As you see it is possible to drift on automatic. This process does not differ in complexity from the ones discussed above.

It is possible to learn how to drift. It will not be easy, it is a long way, but it is interesting, dangerous and really captivating. You have to know how to start this sport if you think about it very carefully.

Drift for Dummies.

I mean not the phenomenon when drift is any kind of car, even uncontrolled, but a kind of auto sport! Of course, someone may answer that there is huge amount of information about this topic in internet. However, there is very little that is concise and complete. This is either an excursion into history, or technical maze, or even some nonsense. And in order to separate the cutlets from the flies, you’ll have to google for hours. So I decided to make a small review of drifting especially for those who are too lazy to spend their time surfing the Internet. So…


Let’s start by talking about drifting as a kind of motorsport. In Russian it would be more correct to say “drifting”. Very often “drifting” is any kind of drifting of any car that ends up in ditch, snowdrift or in embrace with roadside pole. This is not “drifting”! It is a banal “loss of stability”! You don’t call a street fight “boxing”! I would formulate drift as a phenomenon as follows: “drifting” is a continuous movement of a car in a controlled drift. Accordingly, it is considered, that drifting (even controlled) on the front-driven car cannot be called “drifting”. Although I have repeatedly driven one full lap in a front-wheel drive skid, but it was usually in an arc with a decreasing radius. The cars with 4×4 transmission are already able to drift because they are able to drift for a long time, but they are not used in sport “drifting” yet. So, the car for drifting should be rear-wheel drive! The power for a start is not less than 150-160 hp/t. Ideally, it should be 250 and more. That is for first steps in summer drifting. But not everyone can afford to build competitive drift-car in our country, and winter is 5 months in a year and that’s why winter type of drift-car couldn’t help. But winter drifting had appeared here even earlier than Japanese. Personally I remember very well couple drifting performed by Goltsov and Antropov on two red Moskvich cars at races “Kazan versta”.

Chinese Piston for Japanese Cylinder

Budgetary winter drifting is several orders of magnitude smaller: the requirements to towing capacity of cars are much more modest, and a set of tires is enough for more than one season. And it is possible to buy the car for a couple dozens thousand rubles. Foreign cars are rare – in recent years the ice roads are dominated by Zhiguli and Izhi with them.

Road studded tires are used in most of the winter championships. Refinement of the studs and the tires themselves are prohibited.

Rules of drifting competitions in winter and summer are not very different. Competitive part consists of 2 stages – qualification (Tanso in Japanese) and pair heats (Tsuiso). Further I will give some Japanese terms for general development, though not all of them are used in Russian drifting. Usually for competitions there is a winding section of autodrome or large flat area where cones, water barriers or concrete blocks mark a winding track consisting of 3-4 corners. Or a winding path is cleared on the ice of a body of water. The task is to pass the whole track in a controlled drift. Qualification is preceded by a long practice – the participants roll into the track, and the judges come up with the task. After the judges have a plan in their heads, they stop the training and hold a briefing, in which they explain the task.

Since the judges usually can not drive themselves, but really want to see a steep drift, at first the task may seem impossible, but after an hour or two of training, most pilots are beginning to get something. What may be included in the task? First, the way to initiate the first skid (“Furidashi” is one of the few terms that stuck with us). As a rule, there are two ways – initiation with or without handbrake. There are two variants of initiation with a handbrake: a short blocking of rear wheels to make them slide or a long stretching in a straight line. Without “handbrake” – most often it is the so-called “Far East Fly”. Some people confuse it with “countershift”. It is performed as follows: in acceleration mode, we slightly turn the steering wheel to the side opposite to the future turn, then we abruptly close the “gas”, simultaneously turning the steering wheel to the side of the turn. At this moment the rear axle is unloaded and the skid begins. After that there usually should be inertial drift – the car flies a few tens of meters by inertia without “gas” and maybe even with the clutch off. Top Pilotage is Backward entry – when the rear part of the car “overtakes” the front one, the car achieves huge angle of drift (more than 90 degrees).

The second thing they give in the judging assignment is a trajectory, which may not always coincide with the ideal in terms of traditional motorsports. More often, it is recommended to drive shiroko (exactly so – with an accent on the first syllable :)), so that in doubles heats your opponent (I prefer the word “partner”) may drive closer. Usually there are “clipping points” on the track – points where the car should drive as close as possible. Clipping points can be internal or external. Or it can be a “clipping zone”. As a rule, it is a concrete wall or snow berm. And then the light touch of such a wall with the rear bumper is regarded by the judges as special aerobatics and is called “Kiss The Wall”.

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Third . A way of passage of this or that section of a track. Variants: inertial drift, when the car is sliding by inertia without traction on the wheels or “Full trottle” – full throttle! It reminds “Powerslide” (power skidding) due to slippage of the wheels. By the way, in Japanese and Russian drifting it is not recommended to drive the whole track in such regime, though it is very much loved by the owners of super high-powered cars. And so, when the main mass of competitors seemingly start to succeed in judging, it’s time for the next briefing, where the judges do the debriefing and explain how the qualification will be held.


is carried out as follows: each participant is given 3 attempts. If the start and finish of the evaluated section are in close proximity to each other, then all 3 attempts are evaluated in a row, but the first attempt is not evaluated and is considered as a warm-up attempt. If there is a long distance to the start from the finish line, all 3 attempts are evaluated, but they take place in the order of the live line. How is the evaluation done? Initially, each competitor has 100 points, from which the judges deduct points for each error. There are usually three judges. Each gives his or her score, and then the arithmetic average is calculated. If none of the three judges see any mistakes, the chief judge says: “Anikuya to yourself!” and then everyone shouts, “Anikuya!” But I personally haven’t heard anything like that in the last 7 years. Typical mistakes the judges point out: 1. Sluggish furidashi – the car smoothly falls into a skid; 2. Small angle of skidding; 3. Frequent corrections – steering with the big amplitude, use of “handbrake” for correction. 4. Inconstant angle of drifting; 5. Critical deceleration; 6. Driving on straight wheels or turn of wheels to the opposite side of drifting (drifting with front wheels – it is also Under steer); 7. Sluggish shifting (furikayshi – change of drift direction) or shifting through straight wheels ; 8. Stopping; 9. U-turn – it is “0” points as a rule! 10. Well and any deviations from the judge’s task

While judges summarize the results of qualification may be announced free practice – we call it “matsuri”. Matsuri is in free format – in one run may see 3, 4 or even 5-6 cars!

According to the results of qualification is a table of paired heats, where all participants who have qualified, divided into pairs on the principle of “best with the worst” so that the qualification leaders may meet each other only nearer to the final. If there are more than 32 participants, it can be a TOP-32 table. If the number of participants is less, then TOP-24 or TOP-16. About the Top-24, I think I need to explain separately: from 24 participants, the top 8 are automatically in the Top-16, and among the 16 remaining held its TOP-16, which is selected the second 8 participants in the main Top-16. There is also a tricky system – “24 Duble ilimination”, but it is too difficult to understand it sober! So, pairs of participants declared and begins


First, there is usually a warm-up lap. Then the competitors return to the start line. The first to start is the competitor with the best qualifying time. In the next race, the competitors swap places. The task of the first (Senko) is to drive on the judge’s task. The task of the second (Atui) is to drive as close as possible to his rival partner, copying his actions.

Battery charger for acb

Of course, if your opponent leaves the track, you should not copy his trajectory. Moreover, in this case, you even have the right to overtake him and continue on the track as the leader. In pairs of races the second has the most difficult: if your rival is fast, you must manage to keep up with him. To achieve this goal all means are good – the reduction of the angle, the narrowing of the trajectory. Of course you will get some penalty points, but the main thing is not to fall behind by more than 4 corners. In order not to turn drifting into drag racing, judges may designate “respect-zone” where cars of participants should accelerate in parallel. Or a retarder is made for Senko (leader) so he doesn’t go too fast. However, the fast cars have their own problems. It’s much harder to chase a slow competitor. You can use a larger angle skidding, braking handbrake or left foot. The video below shows one of the correct variants of the race with the slow Senko. You can see that the driver IZH (Atui) throughout the race does not release the brake pedals.

Judges evaluate the race in two ways: either by distributing 10 points between competitors in each heat, or the track is divided into sectors and points are awarded for each sector. The second option is more interesting – if a driver passed all sectors perfectly and only in the last sector turned around and his rival was misfiring all the way, there is a chance to win the race. In the first option, a turn is always 10-0. Pilot with more points goes to the next round (TOP-16 or TOP-8). Starting from TOP-8 there are usually no more warm-up laps. Otherwise everything is the same. In the case of equal results of both heats, when the judges can not come to a consensus in the choice of the winner, appointed One More Time (re-race). From TOP-8 winners get to TOP-4, and there and the final is not far away. Scoring is no longer required, so the awarding occurs almost immediately.

Well, that’s all. I wanted to make it as short as possible. But it didn’t get any shorter. But I hope, now those who didn’t understand what drifting is, got some idea about it. Here I’ve concentrated most of my attention on winter drifting because it’s winter outside. Of course real drifting with cars driving in drift at high speed and leaving behind a plume of smoke from burnt tires is real summer show! But till the first stage of summer drifting is far away, acting sportsmen are not squeamish about keeping up their skills in amateur winter competitions. And for car enthusiasts it is opportunity to realize their driving ambitions and make first steps into drifting. But drifting is not just another kind of motorsport! Drift is own culture, religion if you want! Main goal for real drifters is not to get cups and medals but to get the pleasure of driving and to have fun with their friends: Drift For Fun!

And now if you have got a desire to take part in winter drifting competitions and you have the last question “WHERE and WHEN? “I invite you to our Facebook group Clubturbo Winter Drift Cup. Sign up and repost!

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