To be great at something, you have to WORK. This is the way it has been since the dawn of time, and it will be until the end. There are no shortcuts in life. No one miraculously wakes up and becomes the next LeBron James. Greatness takes perspiration, dedication, some shedding of blood, and definitely LOTS and LOTS of time and practice.
Great! Thanks for that pep talk! But what if you want to become great at drifting? It’s not the easiest thing to just pick up and do. You can’t exactly start by practicing outside your parents’ house, breaking traffic laws, while endangering your car, your well being, and everyone/everything else around you. You’d serve several lifetime’s worth of jail sentences before you can even come close to the skill-set of a Tanner Foust, Vaughn Gittin Jr., or Ken Block.
Lucky for you, there are groups like ReadySetDrift who’s more than willing to provide you with a venue and a welcoming atmosphere. This is the PERFECT place and community for an aspiring drifter to hone their skills. All you need is to build yourself a Drift Missile (a cheap rear-wheel drive platform), extra tires, and pay a reasonably small entry fee.
Recently I attended their 2017 season opener at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Aside of mother nature’s April Fools’ joke of a blistering cold day, the event was a fun filled, laid-back session with 26 drifters. And I’m willing to wager a bet that most of those people have spent an average of less than $10,000 for their drift ready equipment. While that may sound like a lot of cash to anyone, it’s relatively minuscule in the motorsport world.
So here’s a very dumbed-down list for what you need to get into the world of drifting:
- Get yourself a Drift Missile. Buy an early model Nissan 350Z, 240SX, or E36 Bimmer. Check eBay, Craigslist, or even Copart (for wrecked/salvaged versions). There are some great deals, if you look hard enough, and don’t mind sacrificing a little to a lot of elbow grease to mend it into excellence.
- Go cheap on tires and buy LOTS of them. This is where your investment will go up in smoke, literally. Depending on the weather, the track conditions, and how much track time you get, you’ll most likely go through a few sets of rear tires. Chances are your drift event will have a tire mounting machine on standby for you to mount fresh tires. An alternative to this would be to carry spare wheels & tires so you can swap as needed.
- Find yourself a trailer. Better yet, find some friends willing to haul your gear. You’ll need a jack, wrenches, breaker bars, and probably extra lug nuts. Your drift car’s reliability will tell you how jam packed your toolbox needs to be.
- Go to a drift event! Practice, practice, practice! This is the first day of the rest of your life! Go out there and make friends! Be social, you butterfly, you! You want to get good at something? This is where you go out and do it. This is the safe place where you can execute your clutch-kicking and handbrake techniques. Just look out for curbs and fences in the course.
- When you’re ready for more, upgrade the bare necessities. Do the basic performance upgrades like a high-flow cat-back exhaust system and a better intake. If you have some coin to spare at this point, invest in some quality suspension components.
In case you feel intimidated with your less than beginner set of skills, there’s more than enough approachable drifters at the event who’s more than willing to give you some good advice. Thanks to places like ReadySetDrift, now you have absolutely no reason why you can’t get into this exhilarating motorsport.
Do you think we’re wrong about the list above? Let us know in the comments below! What other cars should be included in the list? What kind of upgrades should DEFINITELY be done? We’d love to hear your tips and advice.