Aug 28, 2009

Drifting Techniques

Drifting is slowly becoming a sport in itself. Though it has been in practice since a very long time, yet its true uplift will happen when it will be accepted as a national sport in a country. Slowly but steadily, many crazy enthusiasts have developed different techniques over the years. Some of them can be learnt in a day’s time while some of them require months of rigorous practice. Though the basic driving techniques of a drift are always constant, it is the combination of equipments, and techniques which makes the real difference to drifting. Most drift competitors do not incorporate every drifting technique into their arsenal, but make a combination of selected moves to bring out the best in their show.

Some of them are beginner techniques which do not concentrate on the weight transition at all; yet they are used by many experienced drivers across the globe since they are stylish and very attractive. Rather they are focused to induce a loss of traction on the rear wheels by either locking them completely or breaking the speed barrier and then over steering the wheels while maintaining the control. Let us discuss some of these techniques and know more about them.

Drifting Techniques

Handbrake drift: This is a very common drifting technique and usually the very first one which an amateur learns. On a speedy track, if one pulls the hand brake while the car is in motion; the rear wheels come to a complete standstill. This upsets the complete balance of the rear portion of car and causes it to drift. Though it seems to be the easiest method to induce a drift, yet it is the most dangerous and involves a lot of balance. Apart from driver’s safety and chances of overturning, handbrake drifts can damage the car’s axles, tyres and choke the engine. Hence it needs the touch of complete professionalism for successful execution.

There can be 3 possible ways of achieving a handbrake drift.

The first one can be achieved by approaching the corner at a considerable high speed. You can remove your toe off the accelerator and concentrate on the clutch. At the same time, pull the handbrake to upset the rhythm of the rear end and go for the turn. Now press the accelerator and remove your toe off the clutch. Turn the steering in the opposite direction of the turn so as to achieve a proper drift. Maintain a balance between the angle of the turn and the turning of steering.

Drifting Techniques

The second method could be easier since clutch is never involved. Just at the corner one can leave the accelerator and pull up the hand brake at the same time. The moment car reaches its perfect angle; you can accelerate it once again and achieve the drift.

The third method is far trickier and involves a lot of experience. One can approach the turn at a lesser speed while maintaining the car in a higher gear. While holding the clutch, you can accelerate it upto 7000 rpm and use the handbrake to achieve a perfect drift angle. Just at that moment you can let go off the clutch and concentrate on controlling the car. Such drifts are rarely seen but are actually the ones which are most stylish.

Power slide drift: It is one of the most favourite drifts of the beginners. It simply involves over speeding the vehicle at the corner to slide the car and maintaining a control over it. This teaches the basic skills of a drift and the experience to control the motion of the car at various speeds and angles. The beauty of this drift lies in the fact that it can also be achieved in low power cars. The procedure of obtaining it is also very simple. Try approaching a turn at feather light speed and start turning the vehicle. Once the vehicle is turning, you should press the accelerator hard and achieve maximum speed. At the tip point, the car will begin to steer and slide it in outer direction. You can counter steer the car and maintain an optimum speed to last the drift till the turn finishes.

Drifting Techniques

Shift lock Drift or Compression Slide : This is a useful technique to accelerate faster while exiting the corner, but does a lot of damage to the engine if tried by amateurs. The technique is to lower the shift while accelerating at a corner to momentarily lock the rear tyres due to reverse locking. This technique works very well to maintain a good speed at sharp corners.

Clutch Kick Technique: Drift enthusiasts often tend to gain angle at the expense of speed. Clutch Kick technique is one of the few techniques that help them achieve the desired angle. The technique is to kick the clutch at regular intervals without releasing the accelerator, thus creating jitters in the rear tyres and forcing the wheels to skit and slip. The brakes and the steering have to be matched with the speed and angle to complete a successful clutch kick drift. It can also be used to bring the car back to the drift line if the car is straightening up. This might slow down the speed and damage the crank shaft.

Moving on to the weight transition techniques; these drift moves are not easy since they need the experience of understanding the weight balance between the front end and the rear. The concept lies in the fact that the rear end will skid automatically once the weight is shifted to the front. The rear end will lose the grip and an over steer condition is established. One of the most famous drifts falling under the category of weight transition drifts is the braking drift.

Braking Drift: Usually a RWD vehicle can take the full advantage of this type of technique but if one has the necessary skill set, an FWD vehicle can be used the same way. By simple law of physics, if the brakes in a car are applied all of a sudden, the weight of the car shifts towards the front end. If this action is immediately followed by a throttle, the rear wheels lose traction and hence the car slips. The addition of high performing brake pads is always an added asset.

Feint/Inertia Drift : This drift is also known as the Scandinavian flick. This kind of drift is very tricky and very difficult to master. This drift involves two phases. In the first phase, the driver tries to shift the weight of the car towards the outside of a turn. This is achieved by turning away from the curvature of the turn at high speed and immediately turning in back on the same line. In cases where the rear wheels fail to do the required job, handbrake is used to transfer the weight of car towards the outside.

There are some other drift techniques that are not so popular but you might have a chance to see some rare reflections. One of them is the dirt drop technique.

Dirt Drop Technique: This simple looking drift might go wrong sometimes and result into dangerous accidents. The driver drops the rear part of the car on a less grip surface so as to allow the tyres to slip. The accelerator is pushed hard for further movement of the tyres. When the car slips, the steering and angle have to be maintained in cohesion to achieve a perfect drift.

Pendulum drift: Also known as the Choku-Dori/Manji; this technique depends on shifting of car’s weight in a pendulum manner on straight racing tracks. Counter steer and throttle are used in perfect cohesion with brakes. This drift is mainly used to maintain a large angle during drifts. This is one of the finest looking drifts in a group competition where one car imitates the actions of the car just ahead. The move looks like a long snake who wriggles its body to crawl ahead.

Drifting History

There are some advance drift techniques as well which require years of practice to master and execute.

Also known as the famous Kanji series; these drifts vary in levels and difficulties.

The Kanji series are meant for achieving a perfect drift at corners at a good racing speed. A standard of 5000 rpm has to be maintained for such drifts. The first one is achieved by using 50% of full brake capability in cohesion with power-over and clutch kick technique to achieve a desired drift angle while maintaining a good speed. The second type involves reverse RPM and hand-rakes. The third one is hardly used these days since popping the clutch during turns can really do damage to the engine and brake shafts within.

Drifting Techniques have mesmerized the drift fans all across the globe. The sport has become so famous that everyday more and more approved techniques are joining the kitty. Enthusiasts all across the globe have been working day and night to produce more innovative and adventurous tricks.