Have you ever seen sports cars drifting in movies or on TV? if you are anything like me, you immediately say, "I want to learn to do that!"
I drive a pickup truck, so I certainly can't learn to drift in that type of vehicle. However, I can learn and practice my drifting skills with an RC drift car without breaking my bank account or my daily driver.
This article will provide an overview of how to drift RC cars, how to get started, and a few pointers about what to look for when shopping for your first RC drift car. Let's dive in and start drifting!
What is RC drifting?
RC car drifting is a driving style where you break the back end of the car loose and slide through turns. The term "breaking loose" means that the rear tires will lose their grip and start to slide. When the car drifts, you must control the car by increasing or decreasing the throttle and counter steering.
Learning to drift your RC car takes practice. Drifting your RC car takes finesse and feel, and you must learn to anticipate how your car will react to more or less throttle and how much steering input you need to keep the car in a drifting state.
Coming out of the drift also takes practice. As you drift through the corner, at some point, you need to straighten the car up, power through the straight sections of the track, and prepare for the next drifting turn.
RC drift cars come in many different price ranges. Beginner RC drift cars can cost about 150 dollars, while hobby grade RC drift cars can cost over $1000. We have a post about how much different RC drift cars cost.
How to counter steer an RC Car?
Counter steering the car can be confusing at first because you will turn the steering wheels in the opposite direction to the turn you are entering. Counter steering may not seem intuitive, but a proper counter steer is how you keep the car drifting through the turn.
In other words, when you counter steer, you turn the car's wheels in the opposite direction your car is sliding.
For example, if you are entering a right-hand turn and your RC car is drifting through the turn, you will need to counter steer to the left to keep the car from spinning out.
Counter steering will help keep your car from doing a 180-degree or even a 360-degree spin-out.
This video is a great way to visualize and learn about counter steering, even though it is for a full-size car!
Practice throttle control to drift your RC car
Practicing throttle control is a skill that will help you keep your car under control when learning how to drift.
Throttle control means you can increase or decrease the throttle by small increments to keep your car moving in the direction you want. Many beginners may smash the throttle down to cause the rear wheels to spin. Or, they will completely stop adding throttle input once the back end has broken loose too much.
When learning to drift, you must be patient and learn that drifting isn't about speed. RC car drifting is about finesse and throttle control, and combining your throttle skills with counter steering is the name of the game.
Can any RC Car Drift?
Not every type of RC car is made for drifting. One of my favorite RC cars is a Traxxas Slash, which will never be a drift car. The Slash is made for rough terrain, bashing, and hitting jumps.
So when you are shopping for an RC drift car, make sure to do your research. If you don't own an RC drift car yet, you may want to check out our post covering the best cheap RC drift cars.
RC Drift cars are generally:
- have hard plastic wheels
- have low profile chassis (just like a real-life drift car)
- rear-wheel drive (although four-wheel drive cars can drift too)
Two Wheel Drive Vs. Four Wheel Drive Drift Cars
The surface you are driving on determines whether you want to run a two-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive setup. Generally, a two-wheel drive drift car will perform better if the surface is slick (like a garage floor). The all-wheel drive setup may perform better if the driving surface is rougher (like a parking lot).
In my opinion, two-wheel drive drift cars are easier to learn for beginners. That's because beginners will most likely be driving at their homes with plenty of slick surfaces. I suggest heading to your local hobby shop and talking to other RC drift car owners. It's always better to be patient when trying to pick your first RC drift car.
Check out our post comparing 2wd and 4wd RC drift cars.
brushed vs brushless RC drift cars
Brushless motors are generally the best type of motor in any RC car.
The same rule-of-thumb goes for drift RC cars.
Brushless motors produce more power, are more efficient, last longer, and won't overheat as quickly as a brushed motor.
When drifting your car, the motor is almost always in a high RPM state. A brushless motor will handle the higher RPMs needed to drift your car around the track.
While buying a car with a brushless motor isn't necessary, most people will recommend spending the extra money and going with a brushless motor.
Brushless Sensored Motor and Programmable Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
Brushless motors can be "sensored," meaning that the ESC can change different motor parameters automatically. Sensor Motors and ESCs are very technical pieces of equipment, and the key takeaway about a sensored motor is that the electronics will help control the motor to get the best performance out of your drift car.
A programmable ESC and sensored brushless motor can adjust parameters such as:
- Adjustable throttle function
- Adjustable braking functions
- Boost timing control
- Motor brake timing control
- Turbo timing control
As a beginner, you probably won't need this type of technology onboard your car. But, if you are a serious RC drifter, you should check out some of the sensored brushless motors and ESC combos. They can greatly improve the performance of your car!
How To Drift RC Cars Conclusion
Remote control drifting is an excellent hobby for those that want to get into RC car ownership. Entry-level RC drift cars are small and affordable, and they are the perfect vehicle to introduce you to the world of RC cars. RC drifting will teach you how to control your car with finesse and precision, and you can take your drift skills to other cars and drive with confidence.
If you are shopping for an RC drift car, make sure you research
- Where you will drive the car
- What is your budget is
- If you want a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive car
If you can figure out those three points, you will surely pick the right car! Happy driving!