When one thinks of automobile racing, usually the first thing that pops into mind is quarter mile drag racing or road course racing. Where everything is all about being the fastest; cars modified for high horsepower and trying all methods to get the most traction. There is always a specific winner for those races and the losers need either more power or more traction next time to win. Among the various types of automobile racing though, there is a flock of enthusiasts that prefer to drive their cars a little differently than the norm… Disregarding everything that the manufacturers intended the cars to do and engage in a driving style that is a bit more involving.
Drifting. Drifting is a driving style where the driver purposely loses traction at the rear wheels, to maintain a slide from the entry of a corner to the exit of the corner. The driver has to use the throttle, brakes, clutch, gear shifting and steering input to keep the car in a controlled state of oversteer throughout a turn.
To put it in less technical terms, think of it as maintaining exactly how much control of the car is lost. Drifting a car is somewhat of a system. There are many inputs to it, how the car reacts are the outputs. The entire system has to work with one another to keep everything balanced.
Too little throttle might cause understeer, or not enough drift angle.
Whereas too much throttle might cause the driver to spin out.
Its not uncommon to see a car do a complete 360 in the middle of a turn when too much throttle is applied. Some tracks prefer a complete 360 wipeout though, because the only other option is to slide too much and go off course into the grass and possibly hit a concrete barrier or a wall of tires. Grass is like ice, especially when wet. Drivers do whatever they have to do to stay on pavement.
When a driver perfectly balances out the inputs of driving the car though, it results in the car engaging in a beautiful motion.
For these reasons, I think drifting should not be considered racing.
Drifting is something else. Drifting is a form of automotive art.
Its not about being the fastest, looking the best, or popularity.
Its about expressing yourself though driving, and most of all; having fun.
Screeching tires, screaming exhaust that echo’s for miles and painting the sky with a cloud of white smoke trailing behind the car as it slides at high speeds around the track. This is automotive art. And it is all about having fun.
I’ve been to various racing events and parking lot events, I have never seen as many smiles and people having as much fun as a drifting event.
There’s something so satisfying about kicking the rear end out and sliding through corners.
Whether you’re a beginner or an amateur, drifting will always be a visually appealing thing to bystanders.
As you have probably noticed, the driving isn’t the only thing that is a tad bit different from the norm, the styling of the cars is definitely unique as well.
I have noticed in the drifting scene, everything you can do to a car can be seen as acceptable. This carefree and accepting mindset is an aspect that seems to be missing in other parts of the automotive culture.
Crazy custom exhausts, huge wings, bodykits, they’re all acceptable at a drift track. Hangout around certain car shows or pull up next to someone that hasn’t been exposed to this culture and they might laugh at you or make fun of your car despite possibly being a fellow car enthusiast for the modifications on the car.
Expressing your car goes in hand with expressing your driving. Mostly everything on these cars is custom or done to the owners imagination of how they want their car to look. Instead of modifying their car for how other people want it to look.
Cars from an 80’s corolla
To new edge Mustangs. You’ll see a lot of variety at a drift event.
No matter the car though, everyone is having a ball behind the wheel of their vehicles.
This is where driving meets fun and style.
Below you will find a video from a driver named David on the track, with his Nissan S14. He was kind enough to let me use his video to aid with my explanation of drifting. Notice the movement of the car from right turns to left turns and pay attention to the engine sound notifying when he’s on the throttle, you can witness how the driver inputs the actions and the car responds with its movement, the car and the driver have to communicate with each other and when it is balanced out, a perfect drift ensues.
Thank you for reading! Below you will find a full gallery of images from the event that I did not use above.