“I’ve heard many people say ‘You can only fully know what drifting is by experiencing it’. I can agree with that one hundred percent. But what I think needs clarifying, is, what it means to experience drifting. Have you experienced drifting because you’ve gotten a face full of tire smoke at a D1GP/Formula D event? What about getting a ride along in powerful drift car, does that count? I believe to truly understand drifting, you have to experience the passion and dedication that drivers have for the thrill and fun that comes with drifting. The best examples of this can be found at events held by your local drift community. At these grassroots events, you can find the fun, frustration and camaraderie that has kept the essence of drifting alive. To me that essence is hanging out, having fun and controlling your car.
So what is Drifting?
In simple terms, drifting is the art of throwing a car into a slide and controlling it through throttle and steering inputs to maintain/adjust the slide.
Drivers begin a drift as they approach a corner by first initiating the drift (breaking rear-wheel traction and sending the car sideways), then giving the steering wheel opposite lock (counter steering) and gas. The car is then said to be ‘in drift’ and will continue to go in the direction that the front wheels are pointed while gas is given. Drivers can then ‘transition’ the car through steering inputs to change the direction the car is traveling. Drift courses usually require the driver to transition once or more.
In solo competition, drivers compete on closed courses to see who is the most sideways (angle), who holds the highest speed while drifting and entering the drift (speed), who can follow a proper racing line the closest (line), and who has the most overall impact (style/excitement).
At higher levels, tandem drifting is employed to decide the better driver. Tandem drifting is when two drivers drift the same course at once. The following car attempts to match and improve upon the drifting of the leading car, they reverse positions and do it again. The judging is based on the same rules as solo competition, but the drivers’ performance relative to each other also becomes a factor.
History: Read Wikipedia’s history of drifting.
Is it Safe?
When drifting is done on closed courses, most accidents will usually do more harm to the cars than the drivers. When I checked with Drift Association, who pioneered drifting events in the US, I was told they had “never heard of a drifting related death” in the US. This is why all drifting should be done at legal events, on closed courses. For more information about legal drifting, Click Here.
Article first published on DriftSafe.org