We are many engine crazy that we look for some discipline that allows us to have fun at the wheel without ruining us in the attempt. Some go out to buy some cars, prepare it to their liking and go to track days, while others (for the moment) make numbers and look for the way to enjoy our hobby without leaving us life in it.
After a guild-companion told me the bug started to look for affordable cars to unleash my right foot, off the road, now I find myself browsing classified pages, looking for some bargain with a few years on me Serve to get me started on drifting. Drifting? Why? Well let’s see it.
Among the different disciplines to which we can aspire to amateur level, drift is perhaps one of the most affordable and undoubtedly one of the most fun. It is not going to be easy to start, but there is nothing as rewarding as linking curves one after another without the car going straight in any moment.
What is drift?
It is neither more nor less than one of the many modes of competition that exist in the world of the engine. It was born in the seventies, in Japan, and since then it has evolved to become a great attraction for thousands of pilots and fans.
The drift or drifting emerged in the narrow mountain roads Japanese and consists of skidding, skidding and skidding. Basically, it is about going as far as possible as long as possible, with the best angle and the highest speed, linking one curve after another. We could define it as “controlling the car while it is out of control”. There are many techniques to make drift (many ways to cause the skid and keep it), although we will not enter them now.
During the last decades the drifting has extended a lot, being a very important discipline not only in Japan, but also in the United States. In Europe it also has some relevance, especially in northern countries, although it is more minority.
What do I need?
Well the first thing you need if you are thinking of getting started on something like drifting are keen and mood enough not to throw the towel at the first change. No one has said that it will be easy, so it will take time to find the desired result. Does someone find it too hard to sit in a car and try (or get) skidding for hours? Not me.
If we have the desire, which is the important thing, we will also need some money. The world of the engine is quite expensive for someone who wants to engage in some discipline as an amateur. Karting, touring cars, trackdays … In the end from the most basic to the most prestigious, it costs your money, although the drift is probably the most affordable.
Why? Because for a start we do not need a big budget. We do not need a new car, neither very powerful, nor very prepared, nor a circuit “of the big ones” (with a little one we use to learn). We only need a propulsion car (rear), which second hand we can find below 1,000 dollars without problem, and a couple of modifications that will not cost too much money.
If, for example, we have or bought a BMW Series 3 from twenty years ago, a Japanese sports car in the nineties or any other propulsion car, we just have to do a couple of things to get it ready for drifting. The fundamental thing is a self- locking differential, which is very likely not to be equipped as standard. If it is too expensive to buy a self-locking, we can weld the differential that leads (we have to find someone to do it, even free, because it does not have much complication).
The car becomes a danger with the soldered differential (permanently blocked), especially in wet, but if we just want it for circuit, it is not a problem. However, if we are clear that we like this discipline, it is worth buying a self-locking (new or used), which later we can use for other cars in the future. In addition, with the self-locking we make sure that we will arrive safely at the circuit, if we intend to take the car by road.
Having a propulsion car and a differential that is blocked, or blocked, we only need a good “backet” type seat that will keep us on our site. We can find them both new and second hand from about 200/300 dollars, although there are much more expensive. With these two modifications we would be ready to prove this of drifting although, yes, the possibilities are endless.
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If we really have money or want to create a true drift machine, regardless of having no idea of the subject, we can improve the suspension, install a hydraulic handbrake, change the gearbox sequentially, improve the engine, modify The ECU and take a myriad of measures to be a king of this discipline. The level of cars that is seen in certain circuits, where this mode is taken a lot, is amazing.
Still, let’s go little by little. At the moment we are looking for a used car, or the one that has our uncle dusting in the garage. What cars are used to skid? Do I need something special? What do you recommend me? The idea is cheap, sturdy with plenty of spare parts available and easy to repair. Keep in mind that the drift causes great wear on the vehicle and we may have to repair some surprise breakdown, so it would not hurt to have a small budget for repairs.
What car did I buy to get started?
As we have already said, we only need a propulsion vehicle, i.e. a car whose rear wheels propel it. From then on, there are better and worse options, more expensive and cheaper. Everything depends on what we want, what we like and what budget we have, of course.
As we speak of initiation, we will leave aside the Japanese preparations, the Nissan Skyline and the models taken from Fast & Furious. Let’s see what real options, affordable and suitable for this modality we find second-hand. These are the most recommended …
- BMW 3 Series E30 / E36: Actually we use any BMW of propulsion, and any Series 3, although these two boxes are the cheapest to acquire, the easiest to maintain and repair (without electronics and there are many spare parts). Of course, we will need a motorization “of the fat”, without reaching the M3. It would be a 325i, 192 PS. The 320i is possible that, with 150 CV, is something short. We can find some below 1,000 dollars. We can also opt for larger models, such as Series 5 and Series 7, with larger and more powerful engines, although they are heavier and less agile, and are not the best option to learn.
- Nissan Silvia (S13 / S14): It is one of the Japanese models par excellence to start. Today they are perhaps somewhat expensive second hand (2000/3000 dollars minimum) but are very well considered for this modality, with sufficient power and a wide margin of preparation at the mechanical level.
- Ford Sierra: The Cosworth variant is very expensive second-hand, although there are some “normal” engines with enough power to move the lightweight Sierra without too much trouble. That’s right, its engines may not be as reliable as the six-cylinder BMW.
- Mazda RX-7: A very special Japanese car, with rotary or wankel engine and of course propulsion. You can find models from the nineties from about 4,000 dollars. It is a much appreciated car for this modality. The more modern RX-8 could also serve us, although it is a little more “cheesy” to drive and is somewhat more expensive.
- Toyota MR2: It is another Japanese sports car, although this one has the peculiarity that its motor is mounted in central position. We can find it with different engines, although its price does not fall from the 4,000 / 5,000 dollars, approximately.
- Volvo 340: It is cheap and, although not very powerful, loses traction with ease. It is a very important option to keep in mind if we have a tight budget. If any acquaintance keeps this, or any other Volvo propulsion in your garage, you know. Convince him to sell it to you!
- Lexus IS: Also Japanese, but more luxurious than sporty, the Lexus IS is a propulsion saloon that we can find today second hand from 4000 dollars. Its IS 200 version of 155 hp should be enough to skid without problem.
- Nissan 350 Z: It is probably an option that goes out of our budget, since it is expensive, but it is propulsion and has a powerful enough engine to be even more than we need to get started on this drifting.
- Toyota Corolla Coupe AE86: A Japanese jewel for lightness and agility. It is one of the best cars to start in the drift, but it is hard to find and its price is high. None of those that I could find on occasion fall below 12,000 dollars.
- Toyota Supra: Also expensive, and not exactly easy to find in good condition, it is quite powerful. The Supra is a good choice for drifting. And the one who does not believe it, ask Javier Costas.
- Mercedes-Benz 190E: This Mercedes also has its niche among drift lovers. It is propulsion, in the offer at the time there were engines powerful enough without going to 2.5 16V and can be found second-hand even for less than 1,000 dollars, although the most careful and powerful come out somewhat more expensive.
- Mazda MX-5: Last but not least, the Mazda small roadster, the MX-5, is also a car that we can use to skid. It is lightweight, easy to drive, propulsion, relatively easy to find, affordable and small engines. Perhaps in this sense there is some version that is short, but it is a matter of trying. We can find units in good condition for about 4,000 dollars, although the most modern are around 10,000 dollars.
Although there are probably more options, these are the most commonly recommended, the most affordable and the easiest to find. Forgive me if I have forgotten your favorite car.
Where do I go?
There are different circuits that offer courses of drift and that have tracks that are either designed specifically for this discipline or perfectly serve to carry out this type of driving.
The conventional trackdays organized by motorist clubs or other organizations are also a good place to unleash our propulsion machine, although it is true that, according to the event or batch, it is better to inform before, since neither me nor the owner of a classic jewel that walks along the track, we would like to meet in the same round. Therefore, drift only when the track is prepared, the organization allows it or the other drivers do the same.
In addition, according to which places they allow you to save the vehicle, acquire used tires at very low prices (to burn them on the track, so it does not matter, at least at the amateur level) or even try their own cars (usually BMW E36) Discover if this drift is ours.