The Origins of Drift Racing

October 13, 2018
Drift Racing Car

For those familiar with the motorsport, everyone can thank Japan for giving us the drift racing. For the seemingly unknowing, drift racing is the opposite of grip driving (we will save the breakdown of grip driving for another time), drifting is a driving technique in which the driver purposely oversteers the vehicle, with a loss of traction in the rear wheels or even all tires, while the driver maintain control and drive the car through the entirety of turning into a corner.

The actual car drifting occurs when the rear slip angle is so much stronger than the front slip angle, that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction of the turn that the driver is going to turn. For example, if the car is turning left, wheels are going to point right and vice versa. Simply put, this is counter-steering.

Drift Racing

The fact that drifting originated in Japan, the majority of the cars used to drift are Japanese models which include the car manufacturing brands Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda. For the most part, drift cars are coupes or sedans with light-to-moderate weight rear-wheel-drive (RWD).

Kunimitsu Takahashi is credited for developing the drifting technique. He is a Japanese former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and racing driver. Unsure when the technic was precisely created, drift racing competitions began to become popular in the 1970’s.

And while Kunimitsu Takahashi is credited for creating drifting, Keiichi Tsuchiya receives the credit for making drift racing popular around the world. Using the Japanese mountain roads as his stage, he garnered the fanfare due to the challenging and dangerous roads he performed on.

The nickname “Drift King” was officially bestowed upon him for the popularity of drifting. This modality began to spread outside of Japan in the late 1990’s and has evolved into a competitive sport where drivers compete, not for speed like in NASCAR or IndyCar, but for points based on various categories.
The evolution of drifting continues on with R/C drifting. R/C stands for radio-controlled and refers to driving with a radio-controlled car. R/C cars are altered with low grip tires that are made of rubber compound and are usually four-wheel drive (4WD).

The best drift cars on RC Goliath are not only the best to drift with, but they are also some of the most affordable vehicles. After years of being the reigning champs of race car driving in the United States, NASCAR and IndyCar have both stalled in their popularity and growth. In addition, there is Formula 1, which happens to be the motor sport of the elite in the rest of the world, which has never really caught on here in the United States.

With the success of the Fast and the Furious franchise, a whole new group of fans was introduced to drift racing with one of the franchise’s installment, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift released in 2006. All of which leaves room for drift racing and its popularity to continue to soar.

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