So, what is RC drifting?

Well, first let’s talk about the 1:1 (i.e. full size cars) motorsport of drifting.  Drifting is a bit unique in the world of motorsports, as not only does it involve speed and skill – it also involves style.  Drivers powerslide their cars around a winding course, trying to combine speed and precision, all while hanging the rear end of the car out as far as they can!  Drifters do not race against the clock – they are scored by judges.

S15 Drift
Nissan Silvia Drifter

One of the most exciting parts of drifting is “tandem” competition.  One driver starts behind the other and together they set off down the course.  As the lead car drifts around the course, the second car follows as closely as possible, trying to mimic every move the lead car makes.  The lead driver tries to open up the gap, and drive lines so difficult that the second driver can’t match them.  Afterward, the lead and following cars are awarded points based on their peformance.  Then, the drivers switch from lead to follower, and vice versa.  Then they run again, and are awarded points again.  The driver with the highest combined scores from the two rounds is the winner.

Tandem Drift
Tandem Drifting Action

So far, the type of drifting we’ve talked about is the sanctioned motorsport.  It is worth remembering though, that drifting has its origins on public roads – specifically the mountain switchbacks of Japan.

initial d
Drifting in the Mountains of Japan

All of these themes are reflected in the world of RC drift!  Some RCers create a look that mimics the competition drifters, while others prefer to make their car look like a street machine.

RC drift tires have a large plastic content that makes them much harder and more slippery than rubber tires.  These tires allows the car to slide, or drift, over a variety of surfaces, such as pavement, tile, or concrete, and even carpet.

RC drifters usually have very detailed, realistic bodies, often with LED lights.  Scale realism and detail is very important in the world of RC drifting!

There are a number of RC manufacturers that make drift cars.  Some manufacturers make many types of RC, including drifters, while other manufacturers focus almost exclusively on drifters.  A few are listed below:

Nissan Skyline GT-R R33 Drift Car (Kit) from Tamiya
HPI Drifter
Vaughn Gittin Jr. Monster Energy Ford Mustang (RTR) from HPI Racing

Nowadays there are several different chassis configurations for RC drift cars:

  1. 50/50 – These drift cars are 4wd cars, with a 50/50 torque/speed split.
  2. “Countersteer” (CS) -These cars are also 4wd – however, rather than a 50/50 torque split, the rear wheels are driven faster than the front.  This makes the car drive with more of a “tail-out” attitude than a 50/50 car.  This is why these cars were dubbed “countersteer”.
  3. Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) – As a rule, real (full size) drift cars are RWD.  Although one might think that RWD would be the obvious choice for an RC drift chassis, in reality these types of cars are very tricky to drive, and aren’t for everyone.

Each type of chassis configuration has pros and cons, so there is really no “best” choice – it comes down to personal preference.  People run all three types of chassis in the local drift scene in HRM.

Indoor Drift Session put on by Halifax RC Drifters (HRCD)

Check out these great RC drift videos: