Drifting is the fastest-growing motorsport in the world. And because of that, a lot of newcomers are heading into the sport, with little guidance on what to do to develop their skills or to progress. You can go about it in a lot of different ways, but here’s a quick six-point guide to getting started in this crazy sport from us at the BDC.
Step 1: Go to an academy day
Trust us, jumping in with both feet and spending thousands building a car is a terrible idea if you’ve never experienced the sport. It’s worth it to book on for a day at a drift school to decide if you actually enjoy the sport and want to progress with it. Going to see our buddies at RDX Drift Academy and having a bash at drifting one of their 350Z practice cars will help you get a feel for the requirements of the sport and if it’s something you’ll enjoy doing. Once you’ve got that ticked off, you can look at the next step!
Step 2: Get a drift car
Looking at the prices of some of the legendary drift cars, it can feel daunting. But fear not! We’ve put together a list of ten drift cars you can still buy and make ready to skid for cheaper than a bag of golf clubs! Check that out HERE!
Step 3: Mod your drift car
To make your life easier when learning, it’s a wise idea to upgrade some of the components on your car. We’ve written a staged guide of required parts and modifications to help you out HERE. Stick to stage one for now, as you’ll end up very quickly dumping a lot of money into spec, when seat time is more advantageous.
Step 4: Go to a practice day
This is the moment of truth. All your hard work modding the car will be tested now. A practice day tends to have different areas depending on skill levels. Head to one of the novice areas and practice with the car, getting your eye in. Every chassis is different to drift so it might take a bit of adjustment. As soon as you feel comfortable and confident that you are able to control the car, move on to running one of the courses. Doing donuts and figure-eights is a great way to start, but learning the basics of transitions, weight transfer, and negotiating different corners are important to progress.
Step 5: Learn the basics of car setup
Not everyone has the same car setup, because different things work for different people. Spend some time to study how people have set their cars up, and experiment with different settings. Camber, caster and toe settings are controversial among drifters, and asking ten different people about it will yield ten different answers. In addition, playing around with the stiffness of your coilovers, your anti-roll bars, and your tyre pressures can make a massive difference. We will cover all of these settings later, so don’t worry if this is daunting. Just know that trial and error is to be expected here!
Step 6: Progress at your own pace
There is no timeline on drifting. Just march to the beat of your own drum. Whatever your end goal is, whether you just want to throw down with your buddies or take out Duane McKeever in the DMEC finals, it’s important to keep practicing and continue to refine and tune your car!
So that’s all there is to it! Don’t forget, at one point, James Deane was a novice in a Ford Sierra estate with cut springs and a welded diff. Everyone has to start somewhere!