I’m going to throw this at you once more about safety. If you are learning to drift, do not take a passenger in the car. You will need to focus on what you are doing and you do not need the distraction or pressure of having someone in the car with you. The only person should be a drift coach. Other than that, you should be learning on your own. This is best for everyone.
And remember to wear a good helmet and if you have one, a harness.
Let’s talk about Oversteer
Oversteer is one of the most common occurrences when you are learning to drift. Sometimes people understeer but most of us at some point have oversteered. The risk is that the back end will end up off the road.
Some of the common causes of oversteer include entering the corner too fast (which all of us have done whether we are trying to drift or not), accelerating into the corner too aggressively or too early, braking when you are in the turn or midway through the turn and easing off the throttle when you’re midway through the turn.
I talked about this in a previous post where you want to be entering the turn in second gear around 3000 rpms. This will ensure that you are not entering the turn too quickly but still will be able to give it enough power to get through the turn and manage a drift.
One of the things you have to get yourself used to is keeping your foot on the throttle while you are in the turn. You don’t want to slow down by taking your foot off the gas. This can upset the balance of the car and leave you struggling to maintain control.
And much like taking your foot off the throttle mid turn, you never want to hit the breaks during a turn. Smoothly and gently, if you need to do it at all.
A great way to get a feel for drifting is to try a donut. If you have never seen this, then I pity you. You just haven’t lived. Most of us have been in a car performing a donut or have done one ourselves. I think it’s a right of passage for most teens. Most of us have done a tight donut where the car just spins in a tight circle. Others do looser donuts where they spin circles around a barrel or other obstacle. Either way, they are a blast to try. This will give you a good sense of how much power is needed to get your vehicle around. Tight donuts need lots of throttle and loose donuts need a lot less throttle. Try both to get a feel for the power of your car.
A great way to get your first drift is by practicing Figure 8s around a couple of barrels. Try it first on dry pavement. When you get a good feel for that, then wet the ground. Yup, soak it. It is such a different experience when the friction is a lot lower. You will slide more easily and see how your car handles so much differently on the wet than dry road. It will also help a lot when road conditions aren’t the most ideal. This will make you a more confident and better driver all the way around, not just on a closed course.
When you are first starting off, you are going to want to go crazy on the throttle and hit the road with all the HP your car has. Don’t. Learn to take your time and get a feel for your car.
Here’s more info on drifting techniques.
Be safe, have fun.