This page breaks down some of the basic things all you first time drifters might encounter, at your first event. Preparation, is the key to a fun day without problems.
Okay, so you've been bitten by the drift bug and finally decided to try your hand at drifting. Now what? This article was written with the intention of giving you beginners a few insights and tips to get you into our sport as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Also check out our "Do's and Dont's" list for other basic considerations at the Drift Session here.
The gates to any drifting event usually open early in the day. If you arrive early, chances are you can avoid the line to get into the track and you'll also get first pick of your pit area in the raceway. Arriving early also allows you to setup and prep your vehicle in a leisurely fashion. I don't know about you, but rushing to setup your vehicle while your friends are already driving isn't fun; so set up your pit area early.
Bring Exact Change:
You want to help the entry line at the main gate move faster? Here's a few things you can do to help with the process: Pre-register and pre-pay for any drifting events, but if that's not possible, give the gate staff exact change to cover your entry fee and your passengers. If you're driving also make sure that you and any of your crew sign all necessary safety waivers right away.
Depending on how much time you'll be spending drifting, you'll need to ration your tires accordingly. Many of our more advanced drivers purchase 1 - 2 new sets of tires for each drifting lapping event. A new set (with an additional pair or rear tires) is just about enough for them to run conservatively all day and then drive home afterwards. For beginner drivers you should bring at least 1 pair of additional rear rims and tires. Snagging used tires from throw away bins is okay when you're first starting out, but not recommended because you'll be spending so much time changing tires and getting used to different tires, you won't be concentrating on your drifting.
What To Bring:
If you have it, bring a pop up shelter (aka EZ Up Tent) for shade and some tie straps / rope to tie it down. It can get windy at the racetrack so please make sure your tent doesn't go flying away. A few folding chairs is also good so you can rest between sessions. Also bring a small set of tools for working on your car, a jack, spare tires / wheels, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Usually the basic required attire for drivers and passengers are helmet, long pants, covered shoes, and a shirt that covers the shoulders, but double-check with the event organizers at the drifting event you're participating in to be sure.
After bringing all of those things to the track, also make sure that you take them all out of your car before you start drifting. Loose items in a vehicle cabin can be very dangerous so make sure a friend is watching your stuff back in your pit area.
Attend The Driver's Meeting:
At most drifting events a driver's meeting is held first thing in the morning. The meeting is necessary to get new drivers oriented with the track and event procedure. Make sure you attend and pay attention. Even if you're not driving, you should attend this meeting just for your own personal knowledge.
Practice, Practice, Practice:
In order to get better in this sport you'll need to spend time behind the wheel. The pace at which you improve in this sport is directly proportionate to the amount of time you spend driving. The guys that are the best now were the ones that spent the most time in their vehicles 2 - 3 seasons ago. In time, you'll get better too; we promise. Also don't be intimidated by the amount of good drifters out on the track. They were all beginners once too and know what it's like to start drifting. Spinning out, crashing, and understeering are all part of the learning process. If you want to impress people, show them that you're here to stick with this sport and jump through the hoops that everyone else had to. The new drivers that earn respect are the ones willing to try new things and keep at them for as long as it takes. The track should fear you; not the other way around. For a list of basic drift techniques and how to execute them, click here.
As drifting increases in popularity, so will the number of drivers on the track at events across the country. Move to your staging areas and lines quickly to keep the process moving smoothly. If you spin or crash, quickly get your vehicle back on track and keep moving as a courtesy to the other drivers waiting to run.