Drifting is fun and expensive in equal measure, but what about doing it on a smaller scale? We take a look at the bonkers world of RC drifting.
Drifting a full size car is one of the most fun things you can do but to really enjoy it you need a dedicated drift car and a track to use it on, and that sure as hell rules it out for a lot of us.So what can you do if you love drifting but don’t have the time, money or space for a dedicated sideways smoker? Well, you still drift, but on a smaller scale; 1/10 scale.
While some people will dismiss the idea of RC drifting instantly as kids playing with toy cars in the street, the reality of it is very different, as not only do people of all ages drift at dedicated tracks, but RC drift cars also have an incredible amount of tuning and modification options open to them, and with the right setup and right driver, the actual drifting is incredibly realistic.
Another thing RC drifting is great for, especially for the younger readers yet to step in to the murky depths of drift car ownership, is to get a great idea of the basics, not only from a car control point of view, but perhaps most importantly, getting used to how various modifications and setups change how a car drifts. Granted these cars may be 1/10 scale and you’re not physically sitting in the things, but the way the cars behave, drive, and drift is remarkably comparable to real life 4WD and RWD drift cars. And gaining experience with them is a real head start in knowledge and ability over someone who’s totally new to the game.
RC cars they may be, but don’t expect to grab your old monster truck from the attic and start pulling some massive skids. While you can certainly convert an RC Touring Car chassis to drift spec, in reality, if you’re making a fresh start, and if you’re reading this you probably are, you’re better off buying a dedicated drift chassis. We will cover these further on in this feature.
So what cars can you actually get? Well, from a looks point of view, almost anything you like, as there’s a huge choice of bodyshells to fit on the top of a RC drift chassis, most easily interchangeable, so if you want to drift an RX-7 one day, and a Mustang the next, that’s no problem at all.
Yes, almost all RC cars are 4wd, and while drifting is associated with rear drive vehicles, people like Ken Block and the crazy folk at Gatebil prove that if you’ve got enough grunt, 4wd drift awesomely. With something as twitchy and powerful as an RC car too, having power to the front wheels helps prevent a spin, especially for a beginner.
For a complete beginner, the traditional RC 50:50 front:rear power split is fine, but while it’s great fun, adding more power to the rear wheels than the front is the way to go for the full drift experience, and to achieve this you need a CS setup.