What Is Drifting?

April 8, 2023

With its origins on the mountain roads of Japan, Drifting is one of the newest – and most eye-catching – forms of motorsport.


Having now achieved massive global appeal, the discipline has largely switched to race circuits and similarly dedicated venues. Here drivers use the throttle, brakes and steering wheel to intentionally brake traction at the back axle and slide their cars in dramatic, oversteering sideways ‘drifts’ from turn-to-turn. With smoke billowing from the rear tyres, this may not be the fastest way around a racetrack, but it’s certainly one of the most fun and most theatrical!


A rear-wheel drive car is essential while a limited-slip differential, sturdy clutch, supportive race seat and manual transmission are all recommended for more serious participants. Competitors are given a pre-defined course and are judged on their ability to stick to these sanctioned lines as well as on their speed and, most importantly, their style. The fastest, and most sideways, always rack-up the most points.


After solo qualification runs, drivers are paired against each other for head-to-head, battles in a knockout format. Providing dazzling entertainment, the chasing driver shadows the lead driver as closely as possible – without making contact – as the two cars slide sideways, door-to-door at considerable speeds. It is every bit as skilful as spectacular!


– For events run under Motorsport UK permits, as a bare minimum competitors must hold a Motorsport UK RS Clubmans licence, for which there is no charge.

– There are a number of drift training academies in the UK open both to rookies and for the more experienced looking to perfect their skills.



Watch this and more on Motorsport UK TV, available at www.motorsportuk.tv, a dedicated internet video portal providing a single destination for the UK motorsport community and fans to access a huge variety of video content to enhance enjoyment of the sport. Motorsport UK TV brings you national competition livestreams, highlight videos, ‘how-to’ videos, circuit guides, behind the scenes content and the best of British motorsport together in one place.