Over the past couple of decades, drifting has been widely accepted as a full-fledged motorsport, thanks to sanctioned events and famous drivers like Ken Block. To some, drifting is considered an art form as it takes lots of practice to get it just right since rear-drive cars can be tough to handle. But what about front-wheel-drive (FWD) cars, are they able to drift around corners just as well? Let’s find out.
What is drifting?
For those not in the know, drifting is a driving technique where the driver aggressively steers a car into a turn in order to break traction to the rear wheels but remaining in control of the car for the duration of the turn.
This is obviously easier with rear- and all-wheel-drive cars because power is sent to rear wheels in both applications. However, for a front-wheel-drive car, it’s a little harder, but it is possible.
There are different techniques in performing a front-wheel-drive drift. The driver just needs to understand the importance of transferring the car’s weight depending on where they are at in the turn. These different drifting techniques are different ways to make a FWD car lose traction and perform a drift maneuver.
The feign technique
The feign technique is when the driver enters a corner at a high rate of speed and turns the steering wheel about five degrees in the opposite direction to transfer the weight of the car. After the feign, the driver turns the wheel a quarter-turn in the same direction of the turn and pulls the handbrake to break traction to the rear wheels.
Upon doing this, the rear end will “rotate” more around the apex (middle) of the turn and the driver will complete the drift by releasing the hand brake.
The lift-off oversteer technique is done when the driver “lifts off,” or takes their foot off, the accelerator in order to transfer weight to the front of the car. At the same time, they will need to steer and counter-steer the car in the middle of the turn to get it to drift.
The braking drift is just like the feign drift with the exception of using the handbrake. The driver will brake hard upon entering the turn to shift the weight to the front of the car and cause it to “dive.” When the car dives, the driver must counter steer and then steer into the turn and then complete the drift.
Do not try this at home
While we like to educate everyone we can about everything automotive, we DO NOT condone using these techniques on your car on the public or private roads. There are sanctioned and legal events in which you can learn how to drift your car safely and legally.
Now that we know it is possible to drift a front-wheel-drive car, can any FWD car do it? Technically, yes, because it’s all about speed, technique, and timing. However, the more power the car has to get up to higher speed, the better. Just remember to drive safely.