Drifting a car might not get you better lap times but it's a great skill to have for fun as well as to improve your car control. Read our guide on the secrets to successful, smooth drifting on track. So the question is: How do you drift?
1. Initiate the drift through a load change
Contrary to popular belief, just planting the throttle and spinning the wheels is not the best way to introduce a drift. Instead, the drift should be initiated under braking.
By braking, you shift the car's weight to the front as shown
by the bigger friction circles in the graphic. Once you combine this with turning in aggressively, the rear tyres simply cannot give you the needed grip anymore.
Bingo: You have initiated a drift and now simply need to keep spinning the wheels whilst countersteering.
2. How to transition through a direction change?
Once the car is sideways, it is all about keeping the angle. How do you then transition the drift smoothly from one corner to the next?
After keeping the initial drift going by spinning the wheels and counter steering, you need to give the car a strong nudge in the other direction. This can be achieved by counter steering more and by aggressively coming off the throttle which will throw the back end around like a pendulum.
Aim for the apex of a turn to maximise the space available to you.
3. How to keep the drift going throughout the next corner?
Once the back end does change direction, you need to react quickly and counter steer immediately to avoid a spin. Furthermore, come back on the throttle gently to keep your speed up and to spin the wheels; otherwise you will kill the drift. Adjust the amount of throttle and steering input according to the corner radius and keep your eyes focused on the exit.
Done: You finished the perfect drift 💪
Does this work in simracing and in real life?
Absolutely. Each game has different physics but vehicle dynamics fundamentals apply to most racing games out there. Drifting tends to get harder with race cars as their suspension is much stiffer and they rely partly on aerodynamic grip.
Whether you are playing iRacing, Forza Motorsport, Assetto Corsa, Gran Turismo or Project Cars, try to apply our tips on how to drift and let us know how it goes!