Aug 28, 2009

Drift Tuning

Drifting has become one of the most popular sports across the globe these days. We see many cars which are projected as drift cars. Cars manufactured by the best makers as well as the customized cars fare quite well in this business. After years of research, it has been proved that cars which are manufactured by multi national auto-makers fall short in performance when it comes to extreme drifts on the roads. Cars which are built solely for the purpose of drifts using customization are the ones which are the most successful. It is evident that giant car makers like BMW, Ford, Honda, Fiat, Mercedes etc. believe in a complete package which might not adjust to every kind of road situation every time. Hence customization has to be introduced to design your car with the best possible configuration and achieve the best possible drifts. These configurations are changed to protect the engine and other important parts from the adverse and extreme effects of drifts. Let us look at the important configuration changes that you need to make so as to tune up your vehicle for the best possible drift results.

Drive Train: An LSD or limited slip differential is undoubtedly the most important component for drifting. During a sustained slide, it becomes almost impossible to control the open differentials and viscous differentials. Hence it is important to tune your differentials in the very first place. Cusco and OS Giken are some of the very famous LSDs available in the market. Though the LSDs are used in many forms, but the most popular form of LSD for drifting is the clutch type. It is available in a 2-way form and is very flexible in adjusting itself to all possible conditions of acceleration and deceleration. Its aggressive lockup behaviour makes it a strong ingredient of drifts.

Drift Tuning

Spool differentials might also be used for beginners where the motion of the wheels is restricted to 100%. Some people prefer the economical welded differentials where both the side gears are welded to achieve a wonderful drift at very high speeds. At the same time these cars are difficult to handle since the parking becomes very difficult and they are very hard on the driveline. Clutches suffer a lot in the drift process; hence they have to be hard and flexible from their joints. Gearboxes and engines vibrate violently during turns and brakes. For the purpose of their security, urethane mounts and dampers are added to the machinery while all the extra gearbox and engine mounts are removed. The gearbox shafts are made smoother from the edges for quicker transition without any much damage. Shift level adapters and sequential gearboxes are some of the other major upgrades which protect maximum protection from drifts. Sometimes during drifts, you need to maintain your speed in addition to the next shift. Shift level adapters help you maintain the same speed at the next gear shift nullifying any effect on car’s performance.

Suspension: Suspensions too can play a very determining role in car’s performance. Since the complete drift is depended on the performance of the rear part of the car; hence we need to upgrade the sway bars on the rear. The spring and shock absorber combo has to be judged quite precisely as it might affect the speed during bumpy turns. Nowadays, many suspension kits are designed especially for the purpose of drift. Nissan cars have the unique distinction of having a floating rear sub frame with urethane mountings which prevent the entire frame from moving to and fro during drifts. Since drifting started in Japan; the tuning methods for suspensions are still the best in the world there. The technique of ‘Demon Camber’ is quite popular. Though it induces better grip in the front part and loosens the rear end to slip easily, but one has to compromise on stability, grip and acceleration. Hence the crux for suspensions lies in the fact that it should be firmer in the front and must be as low from the ground for best results.

Drift Tuning

Cockpit: Drifting cars call for the need of more breathing space for drivers to exercise swift moves from hands and toes. But more space means more outward centrifugal force. Hence, nowadays most drivers prefer the smallest possible cabin where they can barely move their hands and are firmly placed in the seat. A smaller steering wheel accompanied by a thumb driver is the best options for a cockpit. Hand brakes are also customized for drift cars. The normal locking knob is replaced by a spin turn knob which induces the lock immediately after the hand brake is pulled up. One can also add extra hydraulic actuators to strengthen the locking effect of a hand brake.

Engine: Drift is one of the few car events where the engine power does not need to be high. Powerful engines are difficult to handle during drifts. The engine strengths can vary from 100 bhp to 1000 bhp depending on the circuit as well as the driver preference. The main outcome of engine tuning is to obtain linear response during the entire drift. Engines need to have a high quality cooling system so as to avoid a complete engine knock during a drift. The air-flow and the exhaust systems need to be upgraded with pipes of bigger diameter. The reason lies in the fact that at sharp turns and regular drifts the pipe gets compressed which can stop the regular air flow and affect the total combustion of the fuel. Similarly oil coolers are also very necessary to maintain the fuel at low temperature at all times. V-mounting is the best technique which encompasses the upgradation of all the concerned components in one kit.

Steering: Steering is one of the most important components of a drift. Steering needs to be customized as per the drift requirements. Adding steering spacers and spindles is a great boost. More ball-bearings in a fixed area allow greater turning angle using a steering. This is very useful during turns since maximum control can be achieved if the steering wheel is capable of maintaining a large angle.

Drift Tuning

Body: Many of you might be confused whether or not the physical body can affect the statistics during a drift. Thought the chassis remains the same; but roll cages are required for safety purpose. During team events, this protection is mandatory. If drivers aim to strengthen their chassis, then they need front and rear strut tower braces, B-pillar braces, lower arm braces and master cylinder braces. Weight is an important ingredient of body. The lighter car always performs better; hence all the extra weight in the form of rear seats, thick cushions, carpets, sound systems and trims are removed from the car. Special body kits meant for drift cars encompass light weight add-ons as well as side Aeros which help in sideways cooling. The speed and acceleration of these cars needs the touch of aerodynamic components as well. Rear spoilers and wings become a must to counteract the high speed drifts in open tracks. Hood has to be vented to allow greater air flow towards the engine. And finally, custom paint-work is also necessary since cars often suffer minor accidents during practice sessions.

Drift Tuning

Tyres: Tyres are the real reason of a powerful drift. The strength and the beauty of the drift depends entirely on the quality of tyres. The choice of tyres varies with respect to the track and the type of racing event. Steering is more important during the drift; hence a good pair of tyres has to go in the front while the used ones find their place in the rear end. Practice sessions are always the breeding grounds of second hand tyres. Low quality tyres never find their place in high speed drifts. Usually in professional tournaments, all 4 tyres are of high quality. Most of the tournaments have an approved list of tyres which a driver can use. Some companies like to create fancy stuff till date. Kumho Tyres creates coloured smoke tyres. While some of them release multi-coloured smokes during drift, others release a wonderful perfumed smell.

Many other accessories could be added or subtracted depending on the type of race and track. Drift Tuning is a very important aspect which forms the backbone of any drift competition.

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