How to Drift like a Pro. A Beginners Guide

Drifting  Mastering the art and science of the controlled slide and glide

Picture the scene: you transition into one controlled slide after another. Your car's tail glides effortlessly from side to side as if it's performing a graceful, eloquent dance. You complete a neat pirouette around the final cone, coming to a halt in a cloud of tire smoke, and exit the vehicle to the applause and cheers of the appreciative crowd.

Well, for most of us, life probably isn't like that. But learning how to drift like a pro is a skill that will impress friends, family, and may even improve your romantic prospects. No, seriously.

Drifting is both a science and an art

But it's not easy to learn and even harder to master. Time, effort and practice are required, not to mention the layers of smouldering rubber. But no worries. Help is at hand. Drifting isn't just all the rage in America, as this video shows. The UK also has a couple of 'edgy' driving schools who are more than happy to help you 'get the drift.' (Okay, I said it. Shoot me, already.)

Learn2Drift is one of them. Boasting three drivers/instructors, each at a different level of the British Drift Championship series, Learn2Drift holds training sessions at venues throughout the country, including Donington Park Race Circuit, Rockingham, Birmingham Raceway, Aldershot Raceway and Northampton Raceway.

Another hot contender for the title of Leading UK Drifter is Trackdays. The Braintree-based driving experts offer a whole range of training and experience opportunities, for both cars and motorbikes, on and off track. In fact, Trackdays are so keen on the whole drifting philosophy they've posted this excellent 'how-to' guide on their website.


Drifting basics

According to the guide, drifting requires four main components: a vehicle with a rear wheel drive, a manual transmission, and the ability to disable stability and traction. You also need a lot of power.

Once you have met all four of these requirements, the next thing is to 'unsettle the rear of the car.' For most standard cars, this will be a problem because they simply don't have the aforementioned levels of power. To drift then, you have to drive into a corner at speed. And then brake. Hard. The front of the car will dip and the rear end will lift. A sharp flick of the steering wheel will cause the tail to break free and start to slide.

Sounds easy enough

You think? This is just the first in a four-step process. Sure, you've got yourself into a drift, now all you have to do is maintain the drift, transition the drift, and then exit the drift. And do it all safely.

The only good drift is a safe drift

When it comes to safe drifting, all of the experts agree. You should never try to drift on a public road. Instead, hire a stretch of redundant runway at a local airfield, a private carpark, or some other venue where there's lots of space. That way, you, your vehicle, and everyone else stays safe.

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