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STAGE ONE (SKILL UP)
The vehicle needs to be Rear Wheel Drive and preferably Front Engined Rear. It will be better if it has a welded diff or if you're lucky/rich an LSD, But if not an open diff is better than FWD. It will need an engine with enough power to spin the rear wheels and have manual transmission. And also a good hand brake that locks the rear wheels easily. You can drift automatic transmission equipped vehicles, and do drifts of sorts in front wheel drive cars. But, honestly why bother!
Obviously your vehicles brakes, driveline, suspension, engine etc etc ...should all be in good working order before you attempt to treat it to the punishment of drifting!
The location needs to be a clear flat area of tarmac or concrete of preferably 10 square meters or larger. Preferably not a public area, as we don't want you getting thrown in jail now do we!?
Later on in stage 2~4 you will need a few more locations & help; a race track, a drift event and some poor bastard to drift with.
The only tools you will need are 9 road cones or similar objects. If you are really keen you can also use a spray can to mark out the course! But only if you have permission now kiddies!
You will need to know how to drive a MT vehicle well and be able to use basic car control techniques such as a the 'bogan dance' and a hand brake turn. You can learn to drift even if you cannot do these, but you will need more help than this article!
It is very important that you do not progress onto the next drill until you have mastered the previous drills! By this I mean you must be able to do the drill perfectly on command. Meaning you can put the car where you want and when you want instead of just trying to react to what the car wants to do! If you only half ass your way to the end, you won't get the best results! And I will be upset...
DRILL 1: CIRCLES
SETUP: Place one cone in the centre of your area.
STAGE: Stop the car about 1~2 meters away from the cone with the right front wing facing the cone. Turn the wheels towards the cone about 30 degrees or 1 full turn in most vehicles.
INITIATION: Have the car in 1st gear with your foot fully depressing the clutch pedal and hold the revs at about 6000rpm with the throttle (the revs required will depend on the vehicle). Take your foot off the clutch pedal as fast as possible and keep your foot on the throttle enough to keep the rear wheels spinning (the amount of throttle required will depend on the vehicle). At the same time let the wheels counter steer pointing away from the cone. Do not let the wheels fully counter away from the cone or you might end up sliding the rear of the car around into the cone, instead of drifting around the cone! To stop this happening, keep you hands on the steering wheel and just let the wheels counter steer enough to steer the car in a drift around the cone.
CONTROL: Adjust the amount of throttle up or down and allow the wheels to counter steer more or turn the wheel to allow less counter steer. More throttle and more counter will give the drift more angle and make the radius of the drift smaller. Less throttle and less counter will make the angle of the drift less and the radius of the drift larger. More throttle but less counter will make the radius of the drift larger and increase the speed of the drift. Less throttle and more counter will make the radius of the drift larger and the speed of the drift slower. Remember to always keep the steering wheel under control!
It may take a long time to get used to how much and when to use the throttle and steering to put the car where you want it! But these skills are the backbone of drifting so must be mastered!
EXTRA: Now try circles counter clockwise. Then try doing the same drill with 3 or 4 or more cones arranged in a centre circle so you can drift large radius circles while having cones in the centre as reference points to stay close to.
Use Drill 1 as a base but substitute the following initiations one at a time.
DRILL 2: POWER OVER INITIATION: Drive the car around the cone(s) in 1st gear about 1~2 meters away. Gradually increase the speed and then quickly increase the throttle to full throttle so the rear wheels start spinning then keep your foot on the throttle enough to keep the rear wheels spinning (the amount of throttle required will depend on the vehicle). At the same time let the wheels counter steer pointing away from the cone. Do not let the wheels fully counter away from the cone or you might end up sliding the rear of the car around into the cone, instead of drifting around the cone! To stop this happening, keep you hands on the steering wheel and just let the wheels counter steer enough to steer the car in a drift around the cone.
Some vehicles won't have enough power for this initiation technique unless the conditions are slippery.
A good way to help your vehicle overcome lack of power is to quickly turn away from the cone(s) slightly (about 15~20 degrees or a half turn) and then quickly turn back in towards the cone(s) as you apply full throttle. The right revs/speed to do this at will depend on the vehicle. If your vehicle has excess power then you may have to actually take your foot off the throttle completely for a split second when your vehicle starts to go into a power slide, otherwise with the high power you may end up just sliding the rear into the cone(s) instead of drifting around them.
DRILL 3: CLUTCH KICK INITIATION: Drive around the cone(s) in 1st gear about 1~2 meters away and as quickly as possible fully depress the clutch pedal and release the clutch immediately while keeping your foot on the throttle. Then adjust the throttle to keep the rear wheels spinning (the amount of throttle required will depend on the vehicle). At the same time let the wheels counter steer pointing away from the cone. Do not let the wheels fully counter away from the cone or you might end up sliding the rear of the car around into the cone, instead of drifting around the cone! To stop this happening, keep you hands on the steering wheel and just let the wheels counter steer enough to steer the car in a drift around the cone.
This initiation technique is very rough and even with a low powered car you may need to use the throttle off technique described in drill 2. If your car is of low power the 'turn out and then in' technique described in drill 2 can also help. The speed at which to use the initiation technique will very much depend on the car and the conditions. Another variation of this technique is the CLUTCH HOLD INITIATION which can be useful for under powered cars. You do things much the same as the above described initiation technique but you release the clutch pedal after a second or two, so the engine builds up more revs before you release the clutch. This can be very rough in a high powered car so I recommend being very careful with this technique!!!
DRILL 4: HAND BRAKE INITIATION: Reverse away from the cone 10~ meters or more if possible and then drive in towards the cone(s) in 1st gear, aiming as if you were about to drive around the cones with a radius of about 1~2 meters away from the cone(s). Then as you you are about to turn in towards the cone, fully depress the clutch pedal and pull the hand brake up quickly and hold it until you get about 30~40 degrees of drift angle or for about 1~2 second in most cars. then quickly release the hand brake and clutch at the same time and get back on the throttle enough to keep the rear wheels spinning (the amount of throttle required will depend on the vehicle). At the same time let the wheels counter steer pointing away from the cone. Do not let the wheels fully counter away from the cone or you might end up sliding the rear of the car around into the cone, instead of drifting around the cone! To stop this happening, keep you hands on the steering wheel and just let the wheels counter steer enough to steer the car in a drift around the cone.
This technique is the slowest and most predictable initiation technique for drifting so you will end up using it a lot later. It can be very tricky to get used to how long you need to hold the hand brake up for, too little and you will end up understeering if you are not quick to compensate with another technique or you will end up just sliding into the cone(s) instead of drifting around it. This is where timing becomes very important so mastering this technique is a must!
DRILL 5: THROTTLE OFF/ON INITIATION: Drive around the cone(s) in 1st gear about 1~2 meters away and slowly increase speed. Then quickly increase speed then suddenly take your foot off the throttle completely then straight away put it back onto full throttle and keep your foot on the throttle enough to keep the rear wheels spinning (the amount of throttle required will depend on the vehicle). At the same time let the wheels counter steer pointing away from the cone. Do not let the wheels fully counter away from the cone or you might end up sliding the rear of the car around into the cone, instead of drifting around the cone! To stop this happening, keep you hands on the steering wheel and just let the wheels counter steer enough to steer the car in a drift around the cone.
This technique may not work in most cars unless they are very well setup for drifting with this technique at low speeds. But it is very useful at higher speeds which we will go through later! The techniques outlined in drill 2 of 'turn out then in' can also be used with this initiation technique with good results.
DRILL 6: LEFT FOOT BRAKE INITIATION: Drive the car around the cone(s) in 1st gear about 1~2 meters away. Gradually increase the speed and then quickly increase the throttle to full throttle so the rear wheels start spinning then apply left foot braking so that the front of the vehicle slows down and the rear end catches up to give more drift angle quickly while keeping your foot on the throttle enough to keep the rear wheels spinning (the amount of throttle required will depend on the vehicle). At the same time let the wheels counter steer pointing away from the cone. Do not let the wheels fully counter away from the cone or you might end up sliding the rear of the car around into the cone, instead of drifting around the cone! To stop this happening, keep you hands on the steering wheel and just let the wheels counter steer enough to steer the car in a drift around the cone.
This technique can be tricky at low speeds as the rear end tends to catch up with the front very fast and can cause you just to slide the rear end into the cone(s) instead of drifting around it. Again this technique is much more useful later on, which means if you master it now you will have an edge later on!
DRILL 7: MAINTAINING AND ADJUSTING THE DRIFT
You can now start to use the above mentioned techniques to not only initiate but also maintain and adjust the angle and speed of the drift!
SETUP: Arrange 4 cones in a square about 3 meters apart.
STAGE & INITIATION: Use any of the above mentioned techniques to start a drift around the 4 cones.
CONTROL: Use the techniques outlined in drill 1 combined with any of the above mentioned techniques to drift the square! The aim here is not to drift a huge circle around the cones, but to drift a square. This may sound strange. And yes when you drift the square it doesn't look like you are drifting a square. But its sure different to drifting a circle The aim is to try and get as close to each cone as possible and whip around it fast and tight but then keep the drift going onto the next cone (without fish tailing or snaking/feinting in between the cones). To do this you can apply heavy throttle and turn out then in techniques to whip the back end around the cone, then adjust the throttle and counter to drift to the next cone. Or use the hand brake, kick the clutch, left foot brake.
What you will find is that you are infact still just drifting a circle BUT! you will have learned how to adjust drift angle and speed. And most importantly you will be hugging the cones tight, which is training for later on when hugging those corners and hitting those apexes is what the judges are looking for and what will allow you to drift with great speed!
STAGE 2 (SPEED UP)
Now you can try the above Stage 1 drills 1~7 in 2nd gear and get a feel for the increased speed and torque needed to really get the hang of stage 2's drills. I would recommend some vehicle upgrading be done now in the way of a good set of coilover suspension at a minimum.
DRILL 8: UP SHIFT
Shifting up maybe easy in itself, BUT! shift up drifting is a whole other ball game! As long as you are capable of changing gear fairly fast then half of the problems out of the way. It's really not that its hard to change up a gear and keep the wheels spinning. It's the extreme torque increase you will get from shifting up while drifting (especially 1st to 2nd then to 3rd). Its just like a Clutch hold or a high rev clutch kick. You just need to be on your game so you can counter the results. The main thing you need to remember is to make sure you have enough revs and power so when you up shift you will continue to drift. Just be careful here as once you shift up to 3rd you will be carrying a fair amountof speed! Drifting actually gets easier at higher speeds as it becomes smoother, but it also becomes more dangerous as even a small mistake can cause a big mess!
DRILL 9: SWITCHING
Changing the direction of your drift is very important and essential to being able to link 2 opposing corners together while maintaining a drift. First off you must learn how to switch directions softly and slowly. So that once you are used to what you need to do, you can increase speed and aggression tobe able to switch hard an fast so you can maintain speed and high angles.
SETUP: Two cones spaced about 4 or more meters apart or 2 sets of 3~4 cones.
STAGE & INITIATION: Use any of the above mentioned techniques to start a drift around the 4 cones. Then as you come around the 1st cone(s), look at the other cone with your front left corner pointing at it (if your drifting clock wise). Drift towards the cone keeping your left front corner pointing at the cone then when you are just past the 1st cone and about half way between the two, lift off the throttle and let the wheels counter the opposite way naturally. Then with the skills you have already mastered you should be able to get back on the throttle and drift counter clockwise around the next cone.
CONTROL: Use any of the above mentioned techniques to control the drift then when you come around the 2nd cone, just do the opposite and continue back through to the 1st cone again. It's a suprisingly natural technique with the only thing you may find hard to get used to being how quick and harsh to let off and re apply the throttle so that you don't just end up spinning into the cone. This technique may take as long to master as it did to master your first technique of just drifting round one cone! ...if not, good on ya mate! A small note here is that if your vehicle has very little power, you might have to clutch kick on the switch, but beware this is very rough indeed! ...and can take a fair bit of skill to use with good results.
DRILL 9: FEINTING
SETUP: Place 3 or more cones in a straight line about 4 or so meters apart.
STAGE: Stop the car about 10 or so meters before the 1st cone.
INITIATION: Start off and get as much speed up in 1st as possible then turn to either side of the 1st cone and shift up to 2nd gear drift.
CONTROL: Use the techniques you have already learned to steer your way through the cones in a continuous drift. Try and hug the front end in to the cones as tight as possible, then try doing some wider drifts also. Another good drill is to just place 4 or so cones out with some quite close together and some further apart. then just link them up as big drifts and then swing round some to make switches and tighter drifts. Endless fun!!!!
DRILL 10: DRIFTING THE COURSE
This is the last step before you have all the skills so you can start drifting in the real world with nothing to hold you back except experience!
SETUP: Not much of a setup here, pretty much up to your imagination! Set up cones to make a sort of random mock environment in a shape you can continuously drift (i.e. a funny shape circle). A simple idea is 3 cones in the centre in 3 meters by 2 meters by 6 meters and then cones further out parallel to each side of the centre triangle (this basically gives you 3 centre apex clipping points and 3 outside mock corner entrances or exits).
The idea here is to get you comfortable with hanging your ass real close to objects and cutting the nose in real close to objects without being worried you are going to hit anything, as you know you won't because you know the size of your car! So what you do is get into a drift then try and get the nose as close to the centre cones as possible and the let the ass out as close to the outside cones as possible. This is a lot of fun and will build up confidence in your drifting pretty fast! And also allow you to hit those apexes hard when you get to a real corner and also add the adrenalin rush of hanging your ass out in a risky place with the little bit in the back of your mind wondering how much closer you can go before you will hit.
STAGE 3 (THE REAL WORLD)
Now its time to break out of your flat tarmac and coned shell and try some real world drifting! I suggest going to your local race track, as again jail isn't that much fun!
Now is about time to invest in a decent clutch, a nice mechanical LSD if you haven't got one already and a good bucket seat to keep your ass in place.
DRILL 11: KNOWING THE LINE
The key to drifting a set of corners is not that different from just driving through them! You will by now be pretty comfortable controlling your car in a drift so the next step shouldn't be too hard. There are several things you need to be able to identify in a set of corners to be able to drift them at the highest speed possible.
Corner Entrance: This is the point on the outside of the corner where the corner begins (i.e. the road starts to curve or change direction of the curve). You need to recognise where the corner begins and the speed at which you need to carry in to drift the corner. This will allow you to work out where to start the drift.
Apex: This point is harder to explain and is basically the racing line clipping point of the corner. On most corners this point can be worked out by when you are at the entrance to the corner it will be the further most point on the inside of the corner within sight. This is a very rough guide as corners are all very different and many have more than one apex point. This skill will take a lot of on road practice to get used to. By this I mean you need to recognise the apex(s) of the corner. This will allow you to aimwhere to drift so you can get the maximum possible drift speed through the corner(s).
Corner exit: You need to recognise where the corner ends. This will allow you to aim where to drift out of the corner and work out how much speed you can carry out of the corner. This is the point on the outside of the corner where the corner straightens out or changes direction.
Switching point: By this I mean you need to recognise the point at which you need to switch the drift direction to be able to drift into and through the next corner(s). This point varies a lot from corner to corner. But as a general rule, when you are exiting the first corner you will drift the ass of the car towards the corner exit. But keep the drift angle on instead of winding the angle off for an exit, you will aim the car for the next corner entrance. Then once the ass of the car has just passed the 1st corner exit point you look at the inside of the next corner and the apex if you can see it already and then perform a switch and aim the ass of the car for the next corners entrance point and drift the corner.
What you need to be able to do is visualise all these points at once and make them into a “Drift Line” (a course that's separate from the actual corners). That enables you to aim your way through the course in a drift. Don't take these points 100% literally though! ...the only way you can get used to drifting through a full set of corners is practice, practice and more practice!!!
A good trick to learning how to hit the apex's hard and fast and be able to visualise a drift line through the course is to use cones to mark out your entry, apex and exit points.
DRILL 12: DOWN SHIFT & SHIFT LOCKING
Downshifting during drifting can be done in several ways to either increase drift angle and lower drift speed or to enter a corner and initiate a drift. Down shifting during a drift can be done slow or fast depending how quickly and how much angle you wish to gain. Obviously you will want to make sure you are not going to over rev the engine as soon as you downshift. You can down shift to initiate a drift (SHIFT LOCK), this can be done at even quite low revs with no throttle applied at all until the car begins to slide. This basically sends a shock through the drivetrain and locks the rear wheels for a second and upsets the cars balance to put it into a drift. This can be very useful in down hill courses.
DRILL 13: THROTTLE OFF
This technique is much the same as the throttle off/on initiation technique described in stage 1. Except you use it at fairly high speeds with some turn out then in if needed so that this alone is enough to upset the car's balance and send it into a drift without getting on the throttle straight away.This can be very useful at the top of gears in situations where you need the high speed but upshifting to the next gear is going to be too rough, too fast or you don't have another gear left!
DRILL 14: WEIGHT SHIFTING (FEINT)
All the above described techniques actually do shift the weight of your car. But, weight shifting or feinting as an initiation technique is normally used to describe fairly harsh turn out then in techniques, sometimes so harsh that the car is actually drifting away from the corner then switching back in to drift through the corner(s). This technique can be used in conjunction with other techniques very effectively.
DRILL 15: USING YOUR SURROUNDINGS
This technique is usually used by drivers of lower powered vehicles, but I think it can be useful in a higher powered car as well. the idea is to use bumpy and slippery objects or conditions to upset the balance of your vehicle and send it into a drift. This is most useful when you car lacks the power or setup to use another drift technique alone. Examples are “Dirt Dropping” the rear wheels of the car into dirt or other slippery objects or conditions to initiate the drift, or using bumps or rises and dips in the course for the same effect. The options are really limitless, but can be very dangerous if you are not used to sudden changes in the cars balance!
DRILL 16: BRAKING
This is another high speed technique similar to the left foot braking initiation technique introduced in stage 1, except done at much higher speeds. Its almost impossible to explain how to perform this technique on paper, as all cars behave very differently under braking at high speed. so my advice is to just experiment! This Technique can work well in conjunction with the throttle off technique described in drill 13.
Heavy braking can also be used to send the vehicle into a four wheel drift to extend the drift into the next corner if you find that you may not make it to the next corner while maintaining a drift with any other technique. This can be pretty disastrous if not executed perfectly! So be careful!!!
DRILL 17: HAND BRAKE EXTENSION
This is a very useful technique that can help you rectify a misjudged drift line or extend the drift onto the next corner where it would not otherwise be possible due to conditions or speed factors. You have already learned how to use the hand brake to adjust and maintain the drift stage 1, but you may not have realised it can be used to extend a drift where otherwise thought impossible! Give it a try!
STAGE 4 (BATTLE MODE)
Now you are armed with some pretty serious drift weaponry! Its time to do battle! Get in contact with your local drift event organiser and get into competition mode! ...again some people might take you trying to battle them on the motorway on ramp as just plain rude!
Now I would recommend some basic safety upgrades such as a roll cage and a harness as well as a power upgrade.
The essential element to a good chasing drift in battle is the ability to modify your drift line and the natural drift line of your vehicle to mimic the drift line of your opponent. This will enable you to get as close as possible to their vehicle and stick with them through the course. There is a very simple drill that can be done in a large open space to practice this before you start to attack some poor unsuspecting drifter on the course. If you try this with no idea what to expect and have an accident it may not encourage other people to battle with you. And battle is the most fun part of drifting!!!
DRILL 18: TANDEM CIRCLES
SETUP: Place one or more cones in the centre of your area.
STAGE: Setup the cars as in previous drills but with two cars on opposite sides of the cone.
INITIATION: Use the techniques you have learned to initiate the drift.
CONTROL: Use the techniques you have learned to control the drift and both chase each other around the cone(s).
“Tandem Tag” is also another drill that is very useful in learning the ability to mimic other drifters lines. This involves a very large open space where one driver will obviously lead and the other will chase and then swap. The lead car will make its own random course around the open area and the chase car will try and chase and mimic the drift lines of the lead driver and the lead driver will try and escape. This is heaps of fun and will also teach you how to avoid a collision fast! As no doubt there will be some near misses or hits...so I suggest you practice this drill with someone you know pretty well!
DRILL 19: CRABBING
The hand brake again can be used in a technique called “Crabbing” to keep you in a drift while getting up nice and close to your battle opponent without drifting into them. The idea here is to drift up behind and next to your battle opponent then use the hand brake to adjust your angle and speed to match theirs. This is used in conjunction with many other techniques and is very advanced and not advised to be used unless you are very confident in your drift control ability!
DRILL 20: THE CHASE DOWN & ESCAPE
These are very impressive more tactical techniques used in drift battle. The “Chase Down” is executed by hanging back from your battle opponent at the beginning of the battle and then very quickly through faster entry speed carried through the course catch up to your opponent to a point where you can get up very close and personal with your battle opponent and stay with them through the course without letting them escape. The “Escape” is executed by not carrying your maximum speed through some of the course then applying techniques to gain more traction and speed from the drift and pull away from your opponent. These are both very strategical techniques that will require you to be familiar with your opponents vehicle and driving style. There is one other technique I will mention but I think is a cowards technique! This is where the lead battle opponent will slow down during the battle to cause the chasing battle opponent to spin while trying to chase the lead vehicle. This takes no skill at all and is just bullshit in my opinion!!!
If you have made it this far then well done! Thats a long read, but i think you will find it helpful!
Now you're ready to find somewhere to practice! And remember Lamp posts can end your cars life, AND YOUR OWN! Be Careful!
- Jun 19 2013 11:19 AM
- by Drew555