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.
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, Silvias
Nissan Skylines (the GTS is rear wheel drive)
BMW 3 Series
- Mazda MX5
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.
Where can I go to practice Drifting?
Drifting is such a globally spread sport, you can pretty much guarantee that there is a practice day somewhere in your country. In the UK, Europe and the United States, practice days happen in all sorts of places including tracks, large open tarmac areas and purpose built road courses. Drifting can be done pretty much anywhere where you can drive a car, although we do not condone doing it anywhere where any members of the public are being unwittingly involved or endangered.
Popular places to learn in the UK include ‘Drift What Ya Brung’ at Santa Pod, Norkolk Arena and Driftland practice days.
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