The Ultimate Guide to RC Car Drifting

Are you curious about the whole RC car drifting phenomenon or ready to dive right into it? In either case, we’ve got all the information you need.

RC Car Drifting: an Overview

In motorsports, drifting occurs when a driver deliberately causes a tire – or even all four tires – to lose traction when entering or exiting a turn while still maintaining control of the vehicle. This is basically done by taking a turn too fast, which causes the rear tires to lose some of their grip on the road. The result is that the rear tires over-rotate in the direction of the turn, which sends them spinning. When the driver stays in control of the car by maintaining a constant balance between the amount of traction lost and the speed and slide of the wheel, that is drifting.

Of course, doing this in real car racing is both exciting and extremely dangerous, not to mention quite expensive, particularly when it doesn’t go well. But the lure is so great that people are always searching for a way to replicate the experience in a safer, less expensive manner. It’s how online drifting games and VR sim racing developed. But as much fun as they might be, they still lack the excitement of controlling an actual 3-dimensional vehicle. Although remote control drifting is on a much smaller scale, you are still manually dealing with the exact same parts as a full-sized vehicle. And that’s where the fun is.

What do you need to get started?

The most important thing you need to get started with RC drifting, of course, is the car. And, just like buying a car in real life, there will be a lot of decisions you will have to make to determine which one you should buy. Here are some of the most important factors you’ll need to consider.

  • Power: Electric will be much easier for beginners than nitro.
  • Motors: Drifting is all about traction, so control is more important than speed. Beginners may want to check out the lowest end of motors with Adjustable Timing.
  • Mounts: Drivers usually develop a preference for low, high or rear-mounted motors over time, but the difference probably won’t be noticeable to beginners.
  • Radio: You will likely change your chassis more often than your radio, and this is your single connection to your car. Although you should choose carefully, there are entry-level models that should work for you.
  • Servos: Your choice is between slow, quick and programmable in a wide range of prices. The slow ones reduce your car’s shaking and twitching, which beginners may prefer.
  • Gyros: The mid-range ones aren’t much more expensive than the entry-level ones, but they have End Point Adjustment, which allows you to choose where it will stop.
  • ESC: Electronic Speed Control isn’t absolutely necessary for complete novices, but most drivers start wanting one within their first month of drifting. If you’re going to get one, you may as well get one with Boost and Turbo, at least 60 amps and a good capacitor.

Learning the basics of RC drift driving

Once you’ve got all your equipment, you’re probably going to want to start driving as soon as possible, so we’ll cover the very basics of drift driving. But one thing you have to remember is that, just like any other sport, individuals will develop their own styles and techniques. So you should learn the basics, then practice techniques. Eventually, your own style will develop.

Turns

The main thing you need to know about turns is that there are areas where you will want to get as close as you can to the rail or wall when drifting.

You will want to keep the rear end of your car close to large sweeping curves for as long as possible. For sharper curves, you will want to keep the front end of your car as close as possible to the apex, or “clipping point.” This is the highest point of the curve or turn, but it is not always found at the centre of the curve.

Lines and Angles

A track has scoring zones, so you have to follow a line that hits all of them. But as you hit each one, you have to set up for the next one, so you have to plan the right entry and exit angles. Steering will play an important role in this.

Oversteering: This is when the rear end of your car wants to overtake its front end. This can cause you to either spin out or hit an inside wall before the apex.

Understeering: This is when your car is following too straight of a line through a curve, often referred to as “straight-lining a drift.” The result is a too-shallow angle that can send you into the wall.

Practice

One of the absolute best types of practice for drifting is doing figure 8s. They will help you to develop all of the basics:

  • Line consistency
  • Steering and countersteering
  • Throttle control
  • Switching from right to left

Join a local competition or event to test your skills against other RC car drifters

Once you’ve mastered the art of drifting your RC car, you will be ready to take on the ultimate challenge: drifting with another car on the track. You will either be trying to catch up to a car in front of you or pull away from the one behind you. In addition to displaying the skills you’ve developed, it will also be a test of nerves. If the drivers happen to have completely different drifting styles, the challenge will be even greater.

However, the one thing you can be sure of is that the entire experience will be filled with excitement. So you should check to see where there are events and competitions in your area, and attend as many as you can. The more you do, the better you’ll get.

If there aren’t as many competitions and events nearby as you’d like, you may want to see if any of your friends might be interested in RC car drifting as well. That way, if there are any local outdoor places with smooth, friction-free ground or indoor spaces with tiled or laminate floors, you could create your own practice drifting tracks. It’s a great sport for people of many different ages to enjoy.

The Ultimate Guide to RC Car Drifting

Are you curious about the whole RC car drifting phenomenon or ready to dive right into it? In either case, we’ve got all the information you need.

RC Car Drifting: an Overview

In motorsports, drifting occurs when a driver deliberately causes a tire – or even all four tires – to lose traction when entering or exiting a turn while still maintaining control of the vehicle. This is basically done by taking a turn too fast, which causes the rear tires to lose some of their grip on the road. The result is that the rear tires over-rotate in the direction of the turn, which sends them spinning. When the driver stays in control of the car by maintaining a constant balance between the amount of traction lost and the speed and slide of the wheel, that is drifting.

Of course, doing this in real car racing is both exciting and extremely dangerous, not to mention quite expensive, particularly when it doesn’t go well. But the lure is so great that people are always searching for a way to replicate the experience in a safer, less expensive manner. It’s how online drifting games and VR sim racing developed. But as much fun as they might be, they still lack the excitement of controlling an actual 3-dimensional vehicle. Although remote control drifting is on a much smaller scale, you are still manually dealing with the exact same parts as a full-sized vehicle. And that’s where the fun is.

What do you need to get started?

The most important thing you need to get started with RC drifting, of course, is the car. And, just like buying a car in real life, there will be a lot of decisions you will have to make to determine which one you should buy. Here are some of the most important factors you’ll need to consider.

  • Power: Electric will be much easier for beginners than nitro.
  • Motors: Drifting is all about traction, so control is more important than speed. Beginners may want to check out the lowest end of motors with Adjustable Timing.
  • Mounts: Drivers usually develop a preference for low, high or rear-mounted motors over time, but the difference probably won’t be noticeable to beginners.
  • Radio: You will likely change your chassis more often than your radio, and this is your single connection to your car. Although you should choose carefully, there are entry-level models that should work for you.
  • Servos: Your choice is between slow, quick and programmable in a wide range of prices. The slow ones reduce your car’s shaking and twitching, which beginners may prefer.
  • Gyros: The mid-range ones aren’t much more expensive than the entry-level ones, but they have End Point Adjustment, which allows you to choose where it will stop.
  • ESC: Electronic Speed Control isn’t absolutely necessary for complete novices, but most drivers start wanting one within their first month of drifting. If you’re going to get one, you may as well get one with Boost and Turbo, at least 60 amps and a good capacitor.

Learning the basics of RC drift driving

Once you’ve got all your equipment, you’re probably going to want to start driving as soon as possible, so we’ll cover the very basics of drift driving. But one thing you have to remember is that, just like any other sport, individuals will develop their own styles and techniques. So you should learn the basics, then practice techniques. Eventually, your own style will develop.

Turns

The main thing you need to know about turns is that there are areas where you will want to get as close as you can to the rail or wall when drifting.

You will want to keep the rear end of your car close to large sweeping curves for as long as possible. For sharper curves, you will want to keep the front end of your car as close as possible to the apex, or “clipping point.” This is the highest point of the curve or turn, but it is not always found at the centre of the curve.

Lines and Angles

A track has scoring zones, so you have to follow a line that hits all of them. But as you hit each one, you have to set up for the next one, so you have to plan the right entry and exit angles. Steering will play an important role in this.

Oversteering: This is when the rear end of your car wants to overtake its front end. This can cause you to either spin out or hit an inside wall before the apex.

Understeering: This is when your car is following too straight of a line through a curve, often referred to as “straight-lining a drift.” The result is a too-shallow angle that can send you into the wall.

Practice

One of the absolute best types of practice for drifting is doing figure 8s. They will help you to develop all of the basics:

  • Line consistency
  • Steering and countersteering
  • Throttle control
  • Switching from right to left

Join a local competition or event to test your skills against other RC car drifters

Once you’ve mastered the art of drifting your RC car, you will be ready to take on the ultimate challenge: drifting with another car on the track. You will either be trying to catch up to a car in front of you or pull away from the one behind you. In addition to displaying the skills you’ve developed, it will also be a test of nerves. If the drivers happen to have completely different drifting styles, the challenge will be even greater.

However, the one thing you can be sure of is that the entire experience will be filled with excitement. So you should check to see where there are events and competitions in your area, and attend as many as you can. The more you do, the better you’ll get.

If there aren’t as many competitions and events nearby as you’d like, you may want to see if any of your friends might be interested in RC car drifting as well. That way, if there are any local outdoor places with smooth, friction-free ground or indoor spaces with tiled or laminate floors, you could create your own practice drifting tracks. It’s a great sport for people of many different ages to enjoy.

By Simon Rossitto

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