Drifting is a driving style in which the driver uses throttle, brakes, clutch, gear shifting and steering input to keep the car in a condition of oversteer while manoeuvring from turn to turn. Drifters emphasize 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 and maintaining extreme slip angles.
The story of drifting goes way back to the 1960s on winding Japanese mountain roads. A bunch of likeminded racers set out to beat their A to B times by exceeding the grip limit of their tires when taking sharp corners. It didn't do much to help their racing times but instead evolved into an entirely different discipline.
Drifting was born, and by the year 1970 it was featured in the prestigious All Japan Touring Car Championship. Each rider took it further than the last, resulting in some awesome feats redefining driver control. It took 20 years for the international motorsports scene to take on drifting. Countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and China made drifting a fully-fledged sport.
Track traditionalists are often quick to point out that drifting is not the fastest way around a racetrack – and they’re right. But so what? When drifters drive on the racetrack or on a twisty mountain road, what usually matters the most is having fun! There is something inherently exciting about driving on a road course, negotiating turns with the car completely sideways to the course, quickly counter-steering in the direction of the slide while delicately modulating pressure on the throttle to balance the car. Not enough throttle and the car will lose momentum, too much and the car will spin.
So what does Drifting look like?