The Top 5 Best First Drift Car Modifications For New Drifters — Performance Alloys
Just bought your first drift car and wondering what the best first modifications to make are? Here’s the best first drift car mods every new drifter should make!
If you’re starting out in drifting and you’ve just bought your first drift car, it won’t take long for you to start wanting to upgrade it. But with so many different parts and setup options available, where do you start?
To help drift beginners make sense of it all, we spoke to Ben Brady from the Forces Drift Series, a unique drift series specifically set up for veterans, reservists and dependents of the Armed Forces and Emergency Services.
Ben’s advice? Forget about power, at least for now, and instead focus on handling, safety and reliability. From welding your differential to upgrading to better brakes, below we list Ben’s suggestions for the best first drift car modifications every up-and-coming drifter should get:
The easiest, and likely the cheapest, way to turn any rear-wheel drive banger into a hella dope skid machine is to weld its differential. A welded differential ensures that your two rear wheels are essentially locked together, meaning they’ll spin at the same speed and consequently make epic oversteer that much easier to accomplish.
However, we would recommend taking your car to a professional if you’re unsure of how to weld a diff by yourself. Weak welds can shatter inside the differential housing under stress, chewing up the internal components and leaving you with a car that’s useless until you can replace the diff.
Also be wary of the fact that welding your differential is a permanent modification and will have a big effect on the way your car drives. If you take your drift car on the street, you’ll need to either be extra careful and extra patient with its handling, or simply invest in a good quality limited-slip differential for better driveability.
If you’re just starting out, then simply giving a good yank on your existing handbrake might be all you need to initiate a healthy dose of oversteer, but as you progress and look to further upgrade your car it’s worthwhile investing in a good hydraulic handbrake.
This is a totally separate system to your regular handbrake that works using hydraulic fluid and often uses a separate rear brake caliper and secondary brake cylinder instead of relying on drum brake shoes and a cable like OEM handbrakes.
The advantage is that you can yank on the hydro with much more force, more easily and more reliably than you could with the standard handbrake. For anyone looking to advance their drifting skills and more easily initiate drifts in tight corners, this one is a must.
Ask any pro drifter what the key to a great drift car is and they won’t say it’s power: it’s all about the suspension. A good set of adjustable coilovers will work absolute wonders for your drift missile and is among the smartest investments you can make when it comes to drifting.
Along with ride height, adjustable coilovers will also let you control aspects of your car’s handling like spring stiffness and damper rebound rates, while more advanced setups will also allow you to dial in camber, toe and caster adjustments to really tweak and tailor your setup to different tracks and different drifting styles.
The result will be a drift car that has the ability to be better balanced, more controllable mid-drift and easier to initiate drifts in.
Proper braking is critical to any form of motorsport, and drifting is no different. For any good drift car, you’ll want to make sure you have a set of good brakes, however outright stopping power is just the start of it.
Compared to cars that are used for circuit racing or time attack events, drift car braking setups focus less on aggressive deceleration. Instead of being used to rapidly slow the car, the brakes are instead used to gently coax and control the car when it’s in the middle of a drift, similar to how rally drivers use their brakes almost like a ship’s rudder to ‘steer’ the car through a slide.
While your exact setup will likely depend heavily on your vehicle and your own personal preferences, it’s important to invest in the best brakes you can afford given that the abnormal loads that drift car chassis are subjected to can warp, flex and outright break lesser brake rotors and calipers.
A WELL SERVICED CAR
Alright, so it mightn’t necessarily count as a modification, but having the know-how and the right equipment to keep your drift car in good nick is key to reducing the number of things that can go wrong when you’re on track — and as any drifter will tell you, things do go wrong.
At the very least you’ll want to keep up with regular track car maintenance like fluid and filter changes, and making sure your brakes are properly seated and working correctly. You’ll also want to build up a basic tool kit full of everything you’ll need to adjust and fix your car over the duration of a practice session including a socket set, tyre pressure gauge and a torque wrench to ensure everything’s tightened down as it should be.
Not only will this help extend the life of your car and improve its performance, perhaps most importantly keeping on top of maintenance is key to maximising your seat time. At the end of the day, you can have the best drift car in the world but it’s of no use unless you can practice driving it!
Special thanks goes out to Ben Brady and Forces Drift Series for their contribution to this article. If you’d like to know more about the Forces Drift Series, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.