Aside from the age-old ‘import vs muscle’ debate, the argument over front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive is probably the biggest cause of comment warfare. Whenever a rapid new hot hatch comes along, for example, naysayers write it off due to its ‘wrong-wheel drive’ layout.
But there are some situations where we’re all agreed. Out on the drift circuit, it’s all about rear-wheel drive and big power. Unless your name is Conor and you own a front-wheel drive Honda Prelude drift car, however. Here’s how it works…
“There are two types of drifts that I can use: handbrake and left foot braking. Lift-off oversteer won’t work in my car, so I tend to use the handbrake. I just turn in hard, yank the handbrake and bring the back around. I can also use left-foot braking when entering a corner at high speed to use the shift in weight to get the car rotating.”
Once in a slide, it’s all about steering into the drift, as you would in a rear-wheel drive car. But unlike RWD, the secret is to plant your foot on the throttle and use the power to pull the car out of the slide. Since you don’t have the ability to adjust your slide mid-corner, a lot of it comes down to carrying the right amount of speed and knowing how much to flick without losing control.
Conor’s set up isn’t in any way complicated; it’s down to a barrel-load of skill and guts that he can keep up with the sideways Skylines and Silvias. “I have a stiffer rear sway bar, and the rear shocks are near their stiffest setting. Having a stiff rear-end makes the car step out easier - I tuned the rear to its stiffest setting but it swung out too enthusiastically, so this is a decent compromise.”
Aside from tweaked suspension, Conor’s fitted a cold air intake and aftermarket muffler, as well as stripping the interior and fitting a bucket seat. The only thing helping him get sideways is tyre combinations. With grippy tyres on the front and bargain basement rubber on the rear, he can snap the back around through violent turn-ins thanks to a decent level of initial slip and controlled grip in the drift.
If all of this front-wheel drive drifting sounds like nonsense, then here’s a little something to prove that Conor’s claims are legit.
Aside from the fact that this Prelude is an unlikely drift weapon, one of the most impressive things about it is that the engine has clocked over 200,000 miles and is still pulling strong. Conor’s next drift project is another controversial one. He’d like to work on a Civic drift car, which we can’t wait to see.
All images courtesy of Team Red Stage