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Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?
I often find myself thinking of the good old days when I used to attend drift events almost every other weekend. I still plan on returning to the sport in one way or another. And I'd like to help those that are interested in making the first step towards drifting. Today, you'll get to learn a few basic tips to get on the right path.

Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?

Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?Drifting 101: Where Do I Start?
When discussing drifting, I've often had people ask me: Where do I start? There is a short answer and a long answer to that question. The short answer is seat time! I've said it before and I'll say it again: seat time! You need to get behind the wheel of an RWD vehicle and you need to drive until the wheels fall off and then some more. Of course, you shouldn't be doing that on public roads! And on another note, not all RWD cars will be able to handle the job.Start before you're ready
If you're looking for the right drift car for you, you might want to look into the subject before pulling the trigger on one. But even if you don't have an RWD vehicle yet, you can still make your first step towards the sport. You just need to find the closest drift school to your home! Most schools should have their own fleet of vehicles, so you can arrive and drive.

But more importantly, their instructors are going to make the learning process a whole lot easier. Needless to say, you should be capable of operating a car with a manual gearbox before signing up for those courses. You would also need to be pretty comfortable with driving in general. Going sideways implies breaking traction on the rear wheels, and it's at that point that most people feel that they're about to crash.

But you should be able to maintain your calm and operate the controls in a manner in which you can control the slide. If there's one crucial piece of advice that I would give you when sliding around, it's to always look towards where you want to go next. If you're going through a left-hand corner, your car will be sliding towards the right side of the road. But you should keep looking towards your left side.I drift not because it is a quicker way around a corner but it is the most exciting way
More often than not, pro drifters won't even look through the windscreen but through the driver or passenger windows instead. I'm not even going to start talking about the pros that can perform backward entries. But your drift school instructor can tell you all about these things. If you've got prior driving experience, you can learn how to go sideways after just a few hours of driving.

It took me about five hours in total to drift an entire layout, made out of 6 or 7 corners in total, with a maximum initiation speed of about 50 mph (81 kph). Initiating the drift is a crucial first step into the game. There are several ways of doing this and I can wholeheartedly recommend Keiichi Tsuchiya's "Drift Bible" for more information. Most people start off by using the E-Brake, but you can also initiate by using a combination of steering and throttle control.

In drifting, you'll notice that you have to let go of the steering wheel for a fraction of a second after initiation. That can be mentally challenging, but you'll get the hang of it after a short while. Your hands will be in close proximity to the steering wheel, ready to catch it when you feel that the sliding angle is good enough. If you go beyond a certain degree, you will just spin out, so pay attention to the movement of the car.Don't practice until you get it right; practice until you can't get it wrong
Of course, this is going to vary from vehicle to vehicle. Once again, you need to get as much seat time as possible. That way, you will get connected to the car you're driving. You need to know its limits, so don't be afraid to spin out a couple of times. A large, open pad is great for learning because that way, you can minimize the risk of crashing.

If you'll look at Ebisu Circuit in Japan, it has a special area for beginner drivers where they can practice. I've seen people taking up drifting and becoming really good after about 12 months of intense practice. It's not going to happen overnight! Get to know some experience drifters and don't be afraid to ask for tips! When you do finally get your own car, I'd suggest starting off by fitting used tires on the rear.

If you really want to make progress, always remember to have fun! Drifting can be physically and mentally stressful, but if you're having fun, it's going to be a whole lot easier. Remember that pro drifters can go through 10, 20, or more sets of tires in a single weekend. So give yourself time to grow. After you've mastered controlling the car in single runs, you can move on to tandem battles.

You should be prepared for your car to suffer extensive damage while doing this, but it's all normal! Pro drifters can total multiple cars as years go by, it's just part of the sport. After all, you know what they say: "No pain, no gain!" When you feel ready for it, try hitting up your local grassroots drifting competition. That's a great way to become better at going sideways. If you're still having fun and if you can handle the financial stress, you can get up to Formula Drift level in 1 or 2 years since your first drift day.

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