In the world of motorsport, no competition is complete without extreme driving. In some cases, maximum speed is appreciated, in others - the accuracy of cornering. However, there is one category of extreme driving - drift.
Let's figure out what it is, how tricks are performed, and also how to equip the car so that it does not break down on a bend.
What is drifting
Drifting is not just a competition, but a whole culture. The drifter uses his own incomprehensible terms, which define him as a layman or a real virtuoso.
This motorsport involves the high-speed movement of the car not only in a straight line, but also on bends. In drifting, the level of skill is determined by how effectively the driver takes a turn, and whether he meets all the requirements of the competition organizers.
For high-quality passage of the track, at every turn, there must be a skid of the car and its further sliding. To perform a trick at high speed, the driver causes the rear wheels of the car to lose traction and start to slip.
To prevent the car from turning, the driver uses special techniques that allow the car to move sideways while maintaining a certain skid angle.
Often there are special markings on the track, beyond which the pilot should not leave. Otherwise, he either loses points, or he is given penalty points.
Drifting was originally born and gained popularity in Japan. It was street car sports. In order to minimize the number of accidents and injuries, preparation for the competition and the race itself were held on mountain serpentine sections.
From the 1970s to the late 1990s, it was considered a prohibited sport. However, later it was officially recognized and ranked among other types of motorsport. A little earlier we talked about the most popular auto racing in the world.
However, among fans of extreme types of driving, drifting was gaining popularity, despite the prohibitions of the authorities. Interest in this culture was fueled by the cinema. One of the founders of the style of cars sliding in a corner is Keiichi Tsuchiya. He starred in the movie Pluspu in 1987 and demonstrated the beauty of this driving style. He also makes a cameo appearance in Tokyo Drift (a scene where the fishermen watched Sean train on the pier).
In 2018, German racers set a world record, which was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. BMW The M5 drifted for eight whole hours and covered 374 kilometers. Here is one of the episodes that prevented the car from stopping for refueling:
Today, drifting is not just about sliding around corners and driving fast. There are several classifications of this type of motorsport:
- A simple circuit race. This is often an oval or circle track;
- Race on a winding road with alternating turns with different angles and lengths;
- A track with a mixed type of coverage and all kinds of turns. It is considered the most difficult level even for professionals.
In every country, Japanese extreme has blended with local culture, resulting in different drifting styles:
- Power Sliding (America) - often a circuit race with small but long corners. The car starts to skid at high speed and practically does not stop sliding throughout the entire race. For such a ride, special pumped cars for drift are used;
- Tramp Drift (England) - sliding on a tuned European car;
- Hagwala Arab Drift Race. It is considered an illegal sport because drifters are injured or even killed while performing insane stunts.
Basic drifting techniques
Before proceeding to consider different techniques in drifting, it is worth clarifying one nuance. When a car rushes at speed and the driver loses control over it, but at the same time, neither he, nor his car, nor other road users were injured, this is not drift.
This technique means a fully controlled drift. Moreover, it often happens that the wheels have completely lost traction on the asphalt, but the driver, with the help of special techniques, can prevent a collision or departure from the road. This is drifting.
So, drifting tricks:
- Using the handbrake. Before turning, the driver activates the handbrake and releases it immediately. At the same time, he turns the steering wheel in the opposite direction to the intended skid. The car starts to slide, and control over the transport is carried out by turning the steering wheel in the direction of skidding and using gas;
- Using the clutch. Reception is performed by pressing and abruptly releasing the clutch pedal. The effect is similar to the previous one;
- Drift with all wheels. To do this, the driver only slightly applies the brake. Each wheel loses traction and is then controlled by the gas pedal;
- Rocking. Another method that allows you to move the rear of the car in different directions. It requires high speed and S-shaped turns to perform;
- Braking. This style involves firmly pressing the brake pedal just before entering a corner. This is how the driver rips the rear wheels off the road and lets them slide;
- Dynamic reception. Before entering a bend, the drifter suddenly throws the gas, and the turn is controlled by frequent pressing on the brake and turning the steering wheel;
- Power utilization. This method is suitable for powerful drift cars. Before turning, the driver sharply presses the accelerator pedal to the floor, thereby tearing off the rear wheels (by the way, it is easier to send a rear-wheel drive car into a skid, although a real pro will effectively drive any car). By turning the steering wheel, he directs the stern in the right direction, before he will try to go back, as when turning. To prevent the car from turning, the steering wheel is turned towards the skid. To exit the drift, the driver periodically presses and drops the gas pedal;
- Side drift. After the rear part has lost grip, the driver directs the vehicle to the side, but by pressing the gas pedal and turning the steering wheel, he does not allow the car to turn around completely;
- Rocking. The car is turned sharply in one direction or the other in order to rip all wheels off the track;
- "Bagel" or "donut". It's drifting in one place. The front of the car is at one point, and the stern rotates around.
Here is a short video tutorial on the application of these techniques from the "King of the Drift":
When it comes to a drifting car, this is not just a powerful car built for racing. The fact is that many sports cars are extremely difficult to send into a skid. For example, they use a quality rear differential to prevent spinning of the unloaded wheel. Learn more about the mechanism. here.
The drift racing car has been redesigned so that its rear wheels come off the road very easily. To perform a trick well, the car must be:
- Lightweight as much as possible so as not to press too much against the road;
- Powerful, making the car fast. This will make it possible to sufficiently accelerate at the start, and on a bend not just slide, but use the rear wheels;
- Rear wheel drive;
- With mechanical transmission;
- The front and rear tires must be suitable for this riding style.
In order for the car to be able to drift, it is tuned, and often visually.
What tires are needed for drift
A drift tire should have maximum durability, as it constantly slides on the asphalt (from which the trick is accompanied by a lot of smoke). In addition to this parameter, it should combine an excellent coefficient of traction, as well as slide easily when the road is lost.
Preference should be given to slick or semi-slick rubber. It is a tire with a high grip coefficient and a smooth tread. One of the great drift rubber options is the low profile version. She gets off the road perfectly without losing speed.
To train, it is best to use smooth tires. It will be easy for a beginner to send even an ordinary car at low speed.
An important factor for the spectacular drift is abundant puffs of smoke. The audience also draws attention to him, but often the judges, determining the beauty of the drifter's performance.
Famous Drift Racers
Among the drifting stars are the following professionals:
- Keiichi Tsuchiya - no matter how professional, he will always be in second place after this master. He rightfully bears the title "DK" (drift king). Perhaps it was in his honor that the title of king in the famous "Tokyo Drift" was named;
- Masato Kawabata is a Japanese drifter who took the title of the first world championship. He also owns several records, including the fastest drift;
- Georgy Chivchyan is a Russian professional who took the title of Russian champion three times, and in 2018 he became the winner of the FIA;
- Sergey Kabargin is another Russian racer performing in this style, whose performances are always accompanied by skill and entertainment.
Here is a short video of one of the races of Kabargin (nicknamed Kaba):