Drifting History

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Drifting History

Post  s14 on Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:06 pm


Drifting is a high-skill, high-powered motorsport that calls for drivers to control a 200 to 600hp car while it slides sideways at high speed through a marked course. It is similar to rally racing, but is done on a closed course and judged on execution and style rather than who finishes the course fastest. Drifting takes all the thrilling moments of traditional motorsports and packs it together into non-stop competition.

Today’s U.S.-based Formula Drift takes the excitement one step further by being the only drifting competition that features aggressive side-by-side action as finalists burn up the course two-at-a-time often only inches apart. Drifting pros finesse their cars into spectacular powerslides around a series of corners of a set course as powerful engines roar and the tires bellow smoke. The driver controls engine power, shifts gears and feathers the brake pedal, while at the same time spinning the steering wheel in a precise fashion from left to right linking corners with pinpoint accuracy. The driver is controlling and maneuvering the car beyond the limits of the tires’ traction.

History of the Sport

Drifting started in Japan approximately 10 years ago. Today, the extreme motorsport is so accepted and popular in the country, that drivers have become recognized celebrities. In time, drifting evolved into an organized series called the D1 Grand Prix in which top Japanese professional drivers compete in a series of events to determine the best drifter. Amateur drifting events take place in Europe, Australia and in the U.S.

U.S.-based drifting has been an underground sport for the last 10 years but professional drifting has only taken off in the States recently. In Spring 2003, Irvine, Calif.-based Slipstream Global Marketing brought top professional Japanese drivers to the U.S. to participate in an exhibition competition to a sell out crowd at Southern California’s Irwindale Speedway. Within six months of the exhibition, which was nothing less than an electrifying debut, Slipstream Global Marketing, along with Yokohama Tire Corporation as title sponsor, brought the D1 Grand Prix All Star Invitational to the U.S. in its official debut appearance outside of Japan. The success of these events caused an explosion of interest in mainstream national media and further reinforced the interest and need for a North American competition, and in 2003 Formula Drift was founded by Slipstream to deliver sanctioned competitions of auto-crazed fans across the U.S.

Drifting Glossary

Terms & Techniques Commonly Used in Drifting

* Drift. Intentionallycausing a vehicle to exceed its tires’ limits of adhesion, exhibiting a lateral slip, resulting in an over steered condition.

* Choku-Dori. A side-to-side, swaying drift typically used on straight-aways.

* Counter Steer. Corrective steering used to balance and maintain an over steered condition. (Turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the turn once the vehicle starts to over steer).

* Donut. Allowing the rear wheels of a vehicle to burn rubber, causing the car to rotate around the front tires.

* Exhibition Drift. The purpose of drifting at the Drift Session is to cause maximum over steer in a vehicle while maintaining speed. Vehicles are not judged based on time trials or speed, but rather on the completion of clean and exaggerated drifts, that maintain a reasonable rate of speed. Exhibition Drifting also includes techniques such as one hand drifting, or trying to open the door while drifting. (Exhibition Drifting is motorsports showboating at its best).

* Hachiroku or AE86. Literally translated “eight-six,” but commonly used as the name for the AE86, 1984-1987 Toyota Corolla GTS, which uses the DOHC 4-AG motor, rear wheel drive with limited slip differential.

* Heel-Toe Shifting. A drifting technique in which the clutch is pressed with the left foot while the right foot presses the brake with the toes and the heel slides over to the accelerator to rev the engine up before downshifting the vehicle. This technique allows for smooth downshifting, without jolting the vehicle.

* Limited Slip Differential (LSD). Axle gearing that allows power to be transferred to the wheel with the most traction. Similar to posi traction, which allows both power wheels to “lock up” and spin at the same time.

* Off-Camber. "Off-Camber" describes the turns because the road slants away from the inside of the turn.

* Over Steer. Over rotating a car while cornering. This may cause a vehicle to be on the verge of spinning out.

* Powerslide. An American racing term for drifting that commonly refers to using excessive horsepower to cause a loss of traction resulting in a drift.

* Silvia. Japanese version of the Nissan 240SX. Q or K versions. K version comes with the SR20-DET motor, turbocharged and intercooled.

* Under Steer. A loss of traction in a vehicle’s front tires, caused by excessive speed in relation to a cornering angle, making a vehicle slide outwards during a turn.

Drift Techniques

* Kansei Drift is performed at race speeds when, upon entering a high speed corner, a driver lifts his foot off the throttle to induce a mild over steer and then balances the drift through steering and throttle motions. Note that the car used for this style of drift should be a neutral balanced car so that the over steer will induce itself. If the car plows through any turn the technique will not work.

* Braking drift is performed by tail braking into a corner, resulting in loss of grip and then balanced through steering and throttle motions. Note that this is mainly for medium to low speed corners.

* Faint Drift is performed by rocking the car towards the outside of a turn and then using the rebound of grip to throw the car into the normal cornering direction. This is a rally racing technique used to change vehicle attitudes during cornering, mainly on tight mountain corners.

* Clutch Kick is performed by depressing the clutch pedal on approach or during a mild drift, then popping the clutch to give a sudden jolt through the driveline to upset rear traction.

* Shift Lock is performed by letting the revs drop on downshift into a corner and then releasing the clutch to put stress on the driveline to slow the rear tires, inducing an over steer. This is similar to pulling the E-brake through a turn and should be performed on wet surfaces to minimize damage to the driveline.

* E-Brake Drift is a very basic technique in which the driver pulls the E-Brake (emergency-brake) to induce rear traction loss and balances the drift through steering and throttle play. Note that this can also be used to correct errors or fine tune drift angles.

* Dirt Drop Drift is performed by dropping the rear tires off the road into the dirt to maintain or gain drift angle without losing power or speed and to set up for the next turn. Note that this technique is very useful for low horsepower cars.

* Jump Drift is a technique in which the rear tire on the inside of a turn or apex is bounced over a curb to lose traction resulting in over steer.

* Long Slide Drift is performed by pulling the E-brake through a straight to start a high angle drift and to holding this to set up for the turn ahead. Note that this can only be done at high speed.

* Swaying Drift is a slow side-to-side, faint-like drift where the rear end sways back and forth down a straight.

* FF Drift or front wheel drive drift is a technique in which the E-brake as well as steering and braking techniques are used to balance the car through a corner. Note that the E-brake is the main technique used to balance the drift.

* Power Over is performed when entering a corner and using full throttle to produce heavy over steer.
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