Yoke steering wheels? “All you’d do is injure yourself” says Formula D racer Dan Brockett.
Tesla has one. Toyota is teasing one. K.I.T.T. from “Nightrider” had one. But yoke steering wheels are “stupid,” says Brockett, a professional drift car racer and stunt driver for movies and TV shows.
Yoke “steering wheels,” look like something you’d see in a fighter jet instead of a car. Tesla’s Model S Plaid has one, and it’s been controversial. Now, Toyota is teasing one in its new electric SUV and new Lexus cars. Even BMW is exploring the idea.
You need the whole steering wheel to drift
“A yoke? I think they’re fantastic if you’re driving an F1 car, and since so many people are driving F1 cars these days it makes sense on a daily driver,” Brockett told MotorBiscuit. “Drift-wise all you’d do is injure yourself.”
Brockett is a former Formula D (for drift) driver, who competed in 2014 and 2015 and today is stunt driver for TV shows and films. He’s the driver behind car chases in the “Get Shorty” TV series, “Better Call Saul,” and the opening Humvee scene from the new “Army of the Dead” movie.
And he thinks yokes are dumb
Brockett gained fame as a stunt and driver in a video for Icon motorcycle gear. The video currently has 21 million views. In that video he played Officer Dan driving a specially-prepped Ford Mustang drift car, and the moniker that stuck.
In that video you can see him using all of the steering wheel to manhandle the Mustang around mountain roads.
Brockett’s viral video lead to stunt driving work
“All of that was like college tuition for what I’m doing now,” he says. Brockett has traveled all over the world competing in drift events and still competes in local drift challenges.
Brockett uses the whole wheel
In the video above you can see that Brockett uses the entire wheel in a drift competition, using the entire wheel for leverage.
“In an emergency situation, now all of a sudden you’ve broke your thumb,” Brockett said. “When a car counter steers, now you’re fighting the car and fighting the wheel. You’d be trying to grasp at something that wasn’t there and crash harder,” Brockett said.
“Those yokes, you have to turn like a normal steering wheel. Even pulling out of a parking space you now have two gaps,” he said. “I’ve tried to use one in the simulator for drifting and it’s absolutely horrible and next to impossible.”
You can see in the video above that Brockett uses the whole steering wheel. You can’t do that with a yoke.
Toyota is following Tesla’s lead
The new Toyota bZ4x SUV has a yoke. So will the upcoming Lexus RZ 350e. The Toyota yoke in the bZ4x uses a steer-by-wire system that the company says speeds up steering a slower speeds so that you don’t need to constantly turn the wheel in a parking lot. It’s a controversial move, but you don’t have to get it in the bZ4x. It’s an option that can be ordered on the new all-electric SUV.
The Tesla yoke, however, is mandatory on the Model S Plaid. In some videos, and in other reviews where people have done three-point turns and in regular driving, the yoke works.