If you’ve ever watched movies with a theme of speed or racing, such as the “Fast and Furious” series, you’ve probably heard the term “Drift.”
So is it applicable to RC cars? How to drift an RC car? We will tackle these questions together in this article. Also, don’t worry if you don’t know what a “drift” is because we’ll cover it too.
What Is Drifting?
Drifting a car is a technique the driver uses to oversteer one car overtly. It will cause its front tires to lose traction. Then, the car will start sliding around while the driver starts steering to get the desired control of the vehicle.
In the RC vehicle world, players use this technique mostly in indoor racing tracks, which are sometimes made explicitly for drifting.
These players will attempt various controlled slides, allowing their RC cars to go through a track much faster than when they do it the normal way.
The drifting technique was not discovered with RC vehicles but instead a real car. Many people agree that it was found in the Japanese motorsport scene.
A racer named Keiichi Tsuchiya, one of the pioneers of the drift technique, has started experimenting with RWD cars in the mountains in Japan.
Drifting ultimately became a world-renowned sport, with competitions occurring in almost every major country around the globe. RC drivers also finally began drifting with their little machines!
Things Needed to Make Your RC Car Drift
Depending on your chosen RC vehicle, you may or may not effectively drift. Here’s what you need to prepare when trying to achieve this skill.
The kind of RC vehicle you use is also a factor that creates a significant difference in drifting. Use an RC model that’s specifically produced for drifting.
Those RC cars should feature less ground clearance compared to your typical buggy, and their suspension setup is typically stiffer than usual. Moreover, these models are electrically powered.
Generally, these models are pretty affordable, especially compared to other RC vehicles like buggies or monster trucks.
But it does not definitely mean that investing in a drift car is your only way to do this technique. It is okay to drift with a buggy, but it will not be as effective as an RC model specifically designed for drifting.
In addition, if you want to make an RC vehicle drift, it should be a 2WD model.
If not, you probably will not make it. A 4WD model often features too much grip for doing drift, and it probably will not be able to slide around at the curves.
When talking about drifting one RC vehicle, the kind of terrain also needs attention because it is as important as choosing the type of RC.
Ideally, you should practice drifting your RC on a special indoor track made for RC cars drifting. However, not everyone can access or own such a track.
Don’t worry; you can do a Google search to identify such tracks. Those tracks are usually open for free or for a small fee, accessible to anyone.
Assuming you cannot access such tracks, you can find alternate terrains that are as smooth as possible.
Indoor floors and smooth pavement can be considered great for drifting, but you need to be aware that there is a risk of drifting cars damaging the floor.
Also, it is okay to make your own track. A modern RC vehicle track is usually made from rubber, the perfect material for drifting cars.
Yet, building it might be quite expensive and requires a lot of space and time to complete. But it is worth it if you really want an excellent surface to drift.
The tires also play an essential role. Having a clean set of slicks on your chosen car is best. Otherwise, you will have a hard time trying to achieve this technique.
Knobby tires are inappropriate, and the same goes for all things that feature too much groove, as they may not grip the track too well, really.
If you cannot buy slick tires, it is okay to try drifting your RC car with tires with light thread. But note that they probably will not drift great as slick tires. Some RC racers can reduce their tires’ tread depth by making their tires burn out.
In addition, various RC car drifters prefer to apply several products to the tires to make them more slippery. It might be helpful if you can’t buy slicks.
How to Drift an RC Car?
Let’s start by preparing everything, including buying good drift tires and looking for a proper track to drift. Ideally, choose a model designed for drift, but it is okay to use any model that has RWD.
Regarding the tires, slick tires would be the best choice as they will break traction with ease. However, if finding these tires is impossible, using normal ones is alright, but don’t expect your car to drift very well.
Choosing a proper track will also make a significant difference. Try to find an indoor track nearby that has a drift area.
But if you can’t reach something like that, you can use other surfaces, such as your driveway or wood flooring. Also, you should avoid surfaces like rough pavement, gravel, or soil.
After preparing everything, it is time to accelerate into one corner. If your car is not on a track, you can make a makeshift curve with some rocks.
In addition, ensure that your car is not entering that corner too quickly. If not, it will end up outside of your track.
After the RC car is at the curve’s apex, you’re going oversteering while controlling the throttle simultaneously. If you accelerate too much, your car will probably spin out.
If you are accelerating poorly, your RC will not clear the curve when drifting. It is essential to manage your throttle to keep your RC going through a curve.
It is also crucial to precisely control the steering so that your car will clear the corner. If you steer so much, your RC car will be spined, and you will lose control. If you understeer, your car won’t lose traction, meaning you will fail in doing the drift.
Once you have cleared the corner, there are two things you can do:
- You can keep drifting in the opposite direction right after you come off a curve if there is another corner.
- You can steer the RC car forward if there is a straight way.
If you want to do the former option, just steer the RC car in the opposite direction sharply and slightly increase the throttle same as when you do with the first corner. If you perform it correctly, your RC will quickly change directions. You can repeat this with other corners.
Above are the basic steps to drifting the RC car. Everything will be easier if you watch the following video:
Things to Keep In Mind When Trying to Drift
Here are a few things you must know before trying to drift your RC car.
If you can’t perform this skill, it could be due to a few reasons, some of which we will mention down below:
Ensure That Your Surface Is Slippery Enough
If you cannot make the RC car drift, the surface probably isn’t slippery enough.
As I mentioned above, the best area to drift is one indoor track, which tends to be produced from special materials. Moreover, with the help of slick tires, drifting will be easy.
If you cannot find such an indoor track, you have many other alternatives, such as varnished wooden floors or varnished surfaces. The pavement is too rough for drifting, making it less than ideal for drifting an RC car.
If You Cannot Gain Slick Tires, Make Your Own!
The ideal RC tires for drifting are slick tires, which don’t have tread. If you cannot get these tires, there is always the option of creating them yourself!
There are some players that know how to create those tires from scratch, watch the video to see more:
Ensure Your RC Car Spins Its Rear Wheels Only
You can drift a 4WD RC car in many ways, but it will be significantly more difficult than a 2WD one.
The 4WD RC cars will have a more effortless time gripping the track, as their front tires will spin alongside their back ones, reducing the chances of starting spinning.
Moreover, the 4WD RC car is heavier than the 2WD one, improving the traction, and it is what you do not want.
So if you hold a 4WD RC car, we recommend gaining something that only spins its rear wheels.
The Bottom Line
Above is all you need to know about how to drift an RC car. Drifting is an exciting technique but not easy to implement.
For extra help, you can seek advice from drivers at your local RC club. Other hobbyists who have mastered drifting will be happy to offer advice and support. You can learn a lot from their experience.