kir 101 on drifting
Welcome to the Keep it Reet guide to drifting, whether you're curious about how it all works or looking to get into the sport at any level, we have written this guide to help you make the right choices that should not only save you money but lead you down the best path to getting out on the track and on door ASAP!
Keep it Reet has a wealth of experience under our belts in the Australian drift community from when we first started out on our P's on the streets, heading to the track for the first time, competing in National Events around the country, holding our own events and even heading over seas to the beloved birth place of drift; Japan.
What is drifting?
Drifting is a driving technique where the driver will intentionally oversteer their vehicle at speed into a corner forcing the rear of the vehicle to "kick out", once the the car has come to a desired angle, the driver will maintain throttle control and counter-steer around the corner to maintain a "drift" motion, the process can be repeated to link together multiple corners while also utilizing other components such as brakes, clutch and gear shifting to adjust the speed and angle of the vehicle.
One of the beauties of drifting around the world are the different driver styles which will often range from super aggressive to stylish and smooth.
Drifting took flight in Japan in the 1980s with the likes of Keiichi Tsuchiya honing his skills on the mountain roads of Japan and gaining himself a large following of fans, once the public caught sight of these antics, multiple magazine companies in Japan agreed to produce a Video called "Pluspy" to showcase Tsuchiyas skills which inspired many of the best drivers we have today.
Keiichi Tsuchiya also went on to create guides that set the path for many drifters around the world.
What do I need to Start Drifting?
All you need to start out drifting is a rear wheel drive car with a limited slip or welded differential, Of course there are a few quality of life ingredients that will help you along the way, a manual gearbox and good clutch is preferred, working handbrake, firm or coilover suspension and a good quality bucket seat to keep you in place will go a long way when honing those skills to becoming the next DK.
KEEP IT SIMPLE! We cannot stress this enough! We constantly see people buy cars that are either modified way above their skill level with angle kits they do not understand how to utilize or fill those shopping carts online with mods that are just going to put them back two steps befor they take their first.
What cars make good drift cars?
Most rear wheel drive cars are capable of drifting but some excel at the sport more than others, keep in mind an essential for drifting is either a good Limited Slip or Welded Differential so that both the rear wheels turn at the same speed when you apply throttle.
The cars we suggest for drifting that are most affordable entry level cars in the current climate are;
Ford - Falcon
Holden - Commodore
BMW - E36/E46
Nissan - R31/350/370z
If you do happen to have the budget for the more commonly used Japanese cars available on the market we suggest;
Nissan - Silvia/Skyline
Toyota - Chaser/Cresta/MarkII/Supra/Corolla/BRZ
Mazda - MX5
Remember - These are just our suggestions! There are plenty more vehicles out there that are more than capable of sending it sideways!
Once again, we cannot stress this enough! KEEP THAT ASS SIMPLE!
Coilovers / Good firm suspension
Welded / Limited Slip Differential
Manual Gearbox + Clutch that is in good condition and capable of handling some degree of abuse
Mounted Fire Extinguisher (Generally a great safety addition for all cars, also a requirement for any track day in Australia)
Cheap Tyres, we suggest brands such as; Jinyu / APlus / Sailun / Maxtrek / Goodride
Quality of Life Mods
Bucket Seat / Steering Wheel
Video - Keep it Reet Drift School AU Build
Learning the basics
One word! YOUTUBE! The greatest thing about learning to drift today is the amount of content on youtube, content creators around the globe have uploaded content to help you learn the basics but we have some of our own suggestions that we think are the best methods.
Understanding Oversteer and Counter-steering
Oversteering occurs when you take a turn or corner too fast, which can cause the rear wheels to essentially turn faster than the front wheels. That can lead you to lose control of the vehicle, drifters take advantage of this by Counter-steering once the rear has stepped out therefore controlling the oversteer into a "Drift", it is important to understand these two principles as it is an essential part of drifting.
Step One: Power Over
Powering over is the method of driving through the corner at speed, mid corner the driver will accelerate forcing the rear to enter drift followed immediately by counter steering,continuing to accelerate and following through with the corner. This method can be used to work out the feel of how your car will react to the rear drifting out and allow the driver gain a grasp of counter-steering. We believe Powering over is a very valuable lesson to learn first.
Step Two: Clutch Kicking
With much the same principles of Powering Over, Clutch kicking is a much less delayed method of kicking the rear of the vehicle out if combined with turning into a corner, once the driver has began to enter the corner, using the inertia of the vehicle the driver will "Kick" the clutch whilst applying a reasonable amount of throttle to disengage and re-engage the gearbox, this in-turn will spin up the rear wheels at a faster pace than befor, causing the rear to enter "Drift" followed by the driver maintaining throttle and applying counter-steer.
Step Three: Handbrake
Handbrake or some may call it "E-brake" is used a tool for multiple reasons such as initiating drift, adjusting/correcting the drift or washing speed as the driver is in drift.
Initiating the drift with the Handbrake is done by entering the corner at speed, turning in, clutching in and handbraking all in the same motion, once the car has entered drift, applying throttle, releasing the handbrake and clutch in the same motion, counter-steering and maintaining throttle.
Utilising the handbrake to adjust/correct the drift is often used when the vehicle is either coming up too short and running the risk of cutting the corner or overshooting the corner, the driver will apply handbrake to force the car to take a wider line around the corner or wash off speed and correct the vehicle to the desired line/angle.
Step Four: Combine the Steps and Transitions!
You can combine these steps as tools to achieve the ultimate dorifto! The best situations for learning when you first start often dont actually include corners, we suggest donuts in a wide open space to get an idea of how your car behaves once at angle in drift.
Once you have perfected consistent donuts you can then step up to figure 8s, this will allow you to learn transitions where you go from drifting right to left or vise-versa, transitions are often regarded as the hardest step to learn when starting out drifting as performing them requires a combination of releasing throttle, allowing the cars weight to change direction whilst re-applying throttle and steering input at the same time to initiate the drift in the opposite direction, repeating this process will perform a figure 8 motion, a valuable lesson to learn.
Recommended Tutorial Videos
Below is a great multi-part youtube guide for beginners from Professional Drifter Chelsea DeNofa that we believe a great starting point for anyone looking to get into drifting, his guides include the in and outs how to master all the tools for drifting and even a first car and setup guides!
Got your car, done your research, whats next!?
Well, You're in the right hands!
The most important part of the entire guide! seat time! even if you are struggling to grasp the concept of putting all the tools of drift together to make it happen, seat time is key! get as much as you possibly can.
We suggest skid pans and open areas with experienced instructors that sit in the passenger seat with you and guide you along the way.
Keep it Reet hosts our very own Drift School that is available to all new comers with our amazing hand selected instructors that will graduate drivers from the Drift School to the main track once they think you are ready to tackle some corners on your own!
We conduct these Drift School days at Calder Park Raceway, 40 minutes north of Melbournes CBD, You can also hire our KIR AU Drift Falcon that comes with an instructor for a timed session at the Drift School.
For more info on these days head to: DRIFT SCHOOL