Drifting Background

In Japan, the art of Drifting has been popular among the street racers or “hashiriya” for more than 15 years, and has morphed into one of the country’s number one attended motorsports in less than a decade, where professional Japanese Drifters are the equivalent of national celebrities. To the novice, it would appear that drifting very recently crossed the Pacific Ocean and exploded into the world or racing not more than five years ago, but hard core enthusiasts know different. The Australian Drifting scene’s roots can be traced back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. When Drift Challenge Australian own judge Danny ”DENZO” Vahoumis brought drifting to Australia. From there drifting has grown in leaps and bounds proving to be the fastest growing motorsport in the world.
dca denoz

You need a rear wheel drive car, preferably fitted with a limited slip differential or a welded differential. Those are the only ingredients you need to get started. Having a manual gearbox car, with a good working handbrake, coilover suspension and a supportive seat will make it much easier again. The next level is to make steering geometry changes to increase steering lock, fit strong clutches, and increase the cars engine power.

You can compensate not having a lot of power by increasing the pressure in the rear tyres. It is a myth that drift cars should run poor quality / gripless rear tyres to drift. Drift cars need as much lateral grip as a track car to attain the huge speeds and huge angles, hence why a lot of top level cars run cut slick track tyres. However, learning on cheap / used tyres is a perfectly normal and good way to learn throttle control.

There are specialist garages that can advise you on setting up, building and modifying drift cars.



What sort of cars make good drift cars?

Essentially, anything rear wheel drive is capable of drifting, and if it has a limited slip differential or a locked differential then this will make it far easier. Good starter cars are:

  • Nissan 200SX’s, Silvia , 180sx
  • Nissan Skylines
  • Mazda Mx5
  • Mazda Rx7 / Rx8
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Toyota Supra
  • Toyota Ae86
  • Toyota gt86
  • Toyota Chaser
  • Ford Sierras
  • Ford Falcon
  • Holden Commodore

You can convert fairly simply 4WD cars to rear wheel drive by locking centre differentials and removing the drive to the front wheels, but bear in mind this usually causes a lot of stress on components that would normally have power spread across 4 wheels. Front wheel drive drifting is at best a loose imitation of of a RWD cars movements and paths, but it isn’t drifting.

So why Drifting?

Track traditionalists are often quick to point out that drifting is not the fastest way around a racetrack – and they’re right. But so what? When drifters drive on the racetrack or on a twisty mountain road, what usually matters the most is having fun! There is something inherently exciting about driving on a road course, negotiating turns with the car completely sideways to the course, quickly counter-steering in the direction of the slide while delicately modulating pressure on the throttle to balance the car. Not enough throttle and the car will lose momentum, too much and the car will spin.

Some drivers really like the fact that drifting practice events teaches them how to control a car at it’s limits. It allows them to safely lose control of the car, and then regain the control. Others just enjoy the thrill and the adrenaline rush involved in the sideways momentum of a high-speed tire shredding drift. In it’s simplest sense, drifting translates to pure driving enjoyment and fun.


What is Drifting?

Drifting is a driving style in which the driver uses throttle, brakes, clutch, gear shifting and steering input to keep the car in a condition of oversteer while manoeuvring from turn to turn. Drifters emphasize car control by coordinating the amount of counter steer (or opposite lock) with the simultaneous modulation of the throttle and brakes to shift the weight balance of the car back and forth through the turns. Furthermore, they strive to achieve this while adhering to the standard racing lines and maintaining extreme slip angles.