for the First Time Drifter
Okay, so you've been
bitten by the drift bug and finally decided to try your hand at
drifting. Now what? This article was written with the intention of
giving you beginners a few insights and tips to get you into our
sport as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Also check out
our "Do's & Don'ts" list for other basic
considerations at the Drift Session here.
The gates to any drifting event usually open early in the day. If
you arrive early, chances are you can avoid the line to get into the
track and you'll also get first pick of your pit area in the
raceway. Arriving early also allows you to setup and prep your
vehicle in a leisurely fashion. I don't know about you, but rushing
to setup your vehicle while your friends are already driving isn't
fun; so set up your pit area early.
You want to help the entry line at the main gate move faster? Here's
a few things you can do to help with the process: Pre-register and
pre-pay for any drifting events, but if that's not possible, give the gate staff exact change to cover your entry fee
and your passengers. If you're driving also make sure that you and
any of your crew sign all necessary safety waivers right away.
Depending on how much time you'll be spending drifting, you'll need
to ration your tires accordingly. Many of our more advanced drivers purchase
1 - 2 new sets of tires for each drifting lapping
event. A new set (with an additional pair or rear tires) is just about enough for them to run
conservatively all day and
then drive home afterwards. For beginner drivers you should
bring at least 1 pair of additional rear rims and tires. Snagging
used tires from throw away bins is okay when you're first starting
out, but not recommended because you'll be spending so much time
changing tires and getting used to different tires, you won't be
concentrating on your drifting.
What to Bring:
If you have it, bring a pop up shelter (aka EZ Up
Tent) for shade and
some tie straps / rope to tie it down. It can get windy at the
so please make sure your tent doesn't go flying away. A few folding
chairs is also good so you can rest between sessions. Also bring a small set of tools for
working on your car, a jack, spare tires / wheels, sunglasses, and
sunscreen. Usually the basic required attire for drivers and passengers are
helmet, long pants, covered shoes, and a shirt that covers the
shoulders, but double-check with the event organizers at the drifting event
you're participating in to be sure.
bringing all of those things to the track, also make sure that you take them
all out of your car before you start drifting. Loose items in a vehicle
cabin can be very dangerous so make sure a friend is watching your stuff
back in your pit area.
At most drifting events a driver's meeting is held first thing in the morning.
The meeting is necessary to get new
drivers oriented with the track and event procedure. Make sure you
attend and pay attention. Even if you're not driving, you should
attend this meeting just for your own personal knowledge.
You'll be able to tell who the more advanced drivers are by just
keeping your eyes open. If you need any advise about drifting or the
event setup / format, just ask. BUT, don't waste their time with
off-topic questions like how they got started, what kind of food
they like to eat, or what kind of paint they have on their car.
Those kind of questions take away from driving time and can get annoying
after a while. Maybe you can get away with those questions if you're
a hot import model or something, but not if you're a 15 year old
Learn the Track:
Not just the actual roadway on which you'll be drifting upon, but
learn the layout of the entire Motorsports Center itself. Find the
spectator areas as well as the driver pit areas and try to get a
general sense of direction in the facility. Watch the other drivers
and staff and get a feel for the rhythm of activity at the Drift
Session or any other drifting event you happen to be attending.
In order to get better in this sport you'll need to spend time
behind the wheel. The pace at which you improve in this sport is
directly proportionate to the amount of time you spend driving. The
guys that are the best now were the ones that spent the most time in
their vehicles 2 - 3 seasons ago. In time, you'll get better too; we
promise. Also don't be intimidated by the amount of good drifters
out on the track. They were all beginners once too and know what
it's like to start drifting. Spinning out, crashing, and
understeering are all part of the learning process. If you want to
impress people, show them that you're here to stick with this sport
and jump through the hoops that everyone else had to.
The new drivers that earn respect are the ones willing to try new
things and keep at them for as long as it takes. The track should
fear you; not the other way around. For a list of basic drift
techniques and how to execute them, click here.
As drifting increases in popularity, so will the number of drivers
on the track at events across the country. Move to your staging areas and lines quickly to keep
the process moving smoothly. If you spin or crash, quickly get your
vehicle back on track and keep moving as a courtesy to the other
drivers waiting to run.