Drifting is a driving style in which the driver uses the throttle, brakes, clutch, gear shifting and steering input to keep the car in a state of oversteer while maneuvering from turn to turn. Drifters emphasise car control by coordinating the amount of counter-steer (or opposite lock) with the simultaneous modulation of the throttle and brakes to shift the weight balance of the car back and forth through the turns. Furthermore, they strive to achieve this while adhering to the standard racing lines (or designated “clipping points” if drifting in competition) and maintaining extreme slip angles.
How do I start?
First of all, join a Motorsport SA Club and take out a Drifting competition licence, which is done via the MSA online licence portal www.msaonline.co.za
If you want to be a Drifting participant, you will need to be at least 14 years of age.
It is also advisable to go along to events and talk to organisers and competitors to find out more as they can share their experience and advice.
What kind of car do I need?
This is a question we get asked a lot, and the answer is a very simple one. You will need a rear wheel drive car, preferably with a limited slip differential or a welded differential – these are the only ingredients you need to get started. A car with a manual gearbox and resilient clutch, a functioning handbrake, coilover suspension and a supportive bucket seat will make things much easier again, allowing you to attack the turns with more vigor and confidence.
You can compensate for not having a lot of power by increasing the pressure in the rear tyres. It’s a myth that drift cars need to run poor quality rear tyres in order to drift successfully – drift cars need as much lateral grip as a regular track car (if not more) in order to attain the huge speeds and massive angles that are often achieved at competition level. However, when you’re learning the basics at a grassroots practice day, cheap and/or part-worn tyres are perfectly suitable for learning the basics.
What Sort of Cars Make Good Drift Cars?
Essentially any rear wheel drive car is capable of drifting, especially if it’s fitted with a limited slip or welded differential. However, some cars represent much better value for money than others while having readily available upgrade parts, along with easy access to spares. Starter cars to look for include:
Nissan 200SXs/Silvias (S13, S14, S15 etc.) Nissan Skylines (GTS variants are rear wheel drive) BMW 3 Series Toyota Supras Ford Sierras
Alternatively, it is possible to convert 4WD cars to rear wheel drive simply by locking the centre differential and removing the drive to the front wheels, but bear in mind this will put a lot more stress on components that would normally only be dealing with a fraction of the power. Any FW vehicle that can be or has been converted to rear wheel drive can be used as well.
For further guidance and advice about the technical aspects, including your kit and vehicle, please click on the link below to download the Drifting Regulations.
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