I assume that most of you are at least somewhat familiar with drifting as a popular motorsport. Perhaps you saw the MythBusters episode about drifting or heard Adam talk about his drift-related run-in with the cops. If none of the above apply to you, then I can summarize drifting by telling you that it is a form of driving where the car is rarely moving in the direction it is pointed.
Much like traditional auto racing, drifting requires a car with plenty of horsepower and a skilled driver. Beyond that, the similarities begin to fade. Whereas a race car driver may view a turn in the track as an obstacle that must be negotiated as efficiently as possible, a drift car driver is likely to view that same turn as a blank canvas where he or she can flaunt their skill and artistry behind the wheel. If you've ever doubted that roaring exhaust, tire smoke and burned rubber are artistic mediums, watching a skilled drift driver will probably convince you otherwise.
I began this project knowing absolutely nothing about RC drifting. I did a little research into how drift competitions are run. From what I've read, they are usually judged events. Driving skill is very important, but it isn't really about crossing the finish line first. Drifting style, consistency, and precision are the attributes that will gain you more points from the judges and a trip to the winner's circle.
After my first few attempts at drift driving, it was pretty clear that I needed some pointers. A quick web search landed me at DriftMission.com, which has a lot of helpful info. I also reached out to the staff at Drift Mission to get a better idea of what RC drifting is all about. Here's what they had to say:
What are the different classes of RC drift competition?
Drift Mission: There are different types of RC Drifting: 50/50, Countersteer, and Rear Wheel Drive. 50/50 implies that 50 percent of the power is driven to the front and 50 percent to the back. Countersteer is a method to overspin the rear end to enhance the drifting experience, so instead of 50/50 it could be 40/60, 30/70, 20/80…etc.
Rear wheel drive is the new hotness and the scene is slowly heading this direction. It makes the RC drifting look more realistic and provides more lock [where the front wheels are fully turned in the direction of the drift] during drifting. There is also usually a concours contest to show off the best bodies with the most detail.