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Making the Most of Drifting Events

 

So youíve finally worked up the courage to actually attend your first drifting event as a driver rather than a spectator. Now, how do you make the best use of these events? Here are a few suggestions...


Go for a ride.
By riding along with different drivers you can get a better feel for how different cars react and how different drivers perform. By riding with good drivers, you can see some of the techniques they use and get a feel for their vehicle positioning and angle on the track. Find a driver that you aspire to be like and pay close attention to the speeds theyíre reaching, the angles they use, the line they follow, etc.


By riding with bad drivers you can be thinking of the mistakes theyíre making and what you would do to correct those mistakes. When youíre behind the wheel of your own car, things happen so fast that you barely have enough time to react to your car, much less anticipate and think about things. By riding along with someone else, your brain will be free to think more and decide on changes you need to make to your driving style.

 

Hopefully you have at least a few friends that you know who are already driving so you can start by asking them for rides. If you don't know anyone at all, try to make friends quickly and see if a ride along is possible. Be polite and don't impose on people though; they're at the track to drive, not necessarily to be your mentor. 

 

If one or more drivers are nice enough to allow you to ride along, respect their space and their vehicle. Thank them for the opportunity and keep your comments to yourself (before, during, and after the ride along). Badmouthing other drivers' abilities is a fast way to get yourself on peoples' s#!t lists. 

 



Take people for rides.
We encourage all drivers to take as many passengers along as possible. Itís a great way for people to learn to understand our sport. If you want to get better at drifting, try taking along different drivers and see what they have to say about your driving.


When taking a mentor along for a ride, just drive normally. Youíre trying to improve your overall driving skills so you should try to drive the same as you always do. Tell them of the problems you think youíre having with your driving skills and / or your vehicle setup before you hit the track. Giving them a heads up to your problem areas will allow them to pay closer attention to those things. When youíre done driving, ask them what they think and if they have any suggestions to improve your driving. Have a few specific questions ready about your problem areas, otherwise youíll just get a generic response and no definite suggestions for improvement.

 



Go to empty circuits.
Keep an eye on the activity at different circuits and experiment with different areas of particular circuits. If things are slow in one section, go there to practice. The more time you spend in line, the less time youíre running. Running on a section of track that isn't busy may also help you to loosen up. If you donít feel like people are watching you, that might put you at ease behind the wheel and allow you to get in more quality practice time.

 



Donít waste time.
As a beginner, you should be spending as much time as possible actually driving on active courses. Have your spare rims & tires prepped in advance so you can change them quickly when necessary. Donít stop for a half an hour lunch break if you can eat a granola bar or two while waiting to hit the track. Shake once at the urinal instead of twice; whatever you can do to shorten your off-track time adds to your on-track time. Try to keep things moving smoothly, but donít be unsafe either. You can be hasty without being careless.

 



Film your driving.
How your driving looks while youíre in the car and how your driving looks from the outside of your car are two different things. Get someone to film your driving from various spots on the track. Make sure they check with the event staff to find out which areas are safe to film from first. Getting your driving on video will give you an unbiased 3rd person perspective on your driving. Take note of your speed, placement on the track, turn in point, drift angle, etc. Knowing these things can give you the information you need to mold your driving into the way you want it to be. Try to review your track footage as the day goes by so you can correct problems while you're at the track instead of reviewing at home and then having to wait for the next event to make corrections.

 



Be consistent.
Try to drive as consistently as possible. Use the same shift points, turn in points, and keep an eye on your speed. Only by being consistent will you be able to track down any problems youíre having. Check with your events director to see if you can mark a turn in point for a given corner. If you can't get a flag or a cone out on the track for a turn in point, maybe they'll let you put a small piece of tape on the guardrail or mark the asphalt with some chalk.


In racing, you should be making one change at a time and then testing. Problems with your car and your driving need to be broken down through process of elimination. Start in the area where you think the problem exists and then make a single change. Test your change on the track and note the difference. Keep making changes one at a time until you find your problem.

 



Stop and think.

ďWinners never quit and quitters never win, but those who never win and never quit are idiots.Ē


In racing, thereís a key principle that drivers should never make the same mistake twice. If you crash, itís supposed to make you a better driver because the shock should put it into your brain to never do that again. If you find yourself making the same mistakes again and again, itís time to reevaluate your situation. It could be that youíre spending too much time driving with your brain off and not spending enough time thinking about what youíre doing. Slow things down. Run it through your head first before trying it on the track. Your body will follow what your mind has already told it to do.

 



Enter drift competitions that are within your means.
Competition is the only real measure of your skills. You need to be able to come through under pressure, no matter how good you normally are. Thatís why the Super Bowl is decided in a single game and heavyweight fights arenít best out of three. Regardless of how good (or bad) you think you are, competition builds character and strengthens nerves. Competition is good for your mental training in driving and will help you to focus more under pressure.


Even if you think you donít have a chance at winning, if you donít enter competition, the best will only continue to get better while you remain stationary in your progress. If youíre looking to gain experience, competition is the only thing that counts. Nobody cares how many practice laps youíve taken. Give it a shot. Who knows? Here are some choices for competition in America: Formula D and the D1 Grand Prix.

 



Remember, pride only hurts. It never helps.

Don't let your pride stand in the way of your driving development. If you need help, ask.

 

DRIFTING LINKS

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COOL LINKS

VIP Style Cars

Two Beer Queers

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Garage BOSO

Junction Produce

iPhilms

Speedhunters

Ask Men.com


 

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