Yep, we’re going to prise open this can of worms. It might seem like drifting and powersliding are the same thing and can be used interchangeably, but there is a small but distinct difference between the two. Let’s have this discussion, and then you can tell us which is your favourite in the comments: powerslides or drifts.
Let’s start with powersliding, and the clue here is in the name. It’s the act of using nothing but power to overwhelm the rear tyres and get the wheels spinning. If you’re cornering hard enough, the natural momentum of the car will result in the back swinging out. Due to the fact you need that natural momentum, powersliding can only commence after turn in, with the bulk of the sideways action happening beyond the apex.
You can powerslide for giggles, but you can also use it as a way of changing the angle of your car on the exit of a corner to straighten you up, dancing just beyond the levels of lateral grip to give you a faster exit. The video below explains this really well, and I highly recommend you watch the whole thing.
The key is that powersliding can only happen after turn-in. Drifting, on the other hand, is about getting sideways as early as possible and sustaining as big an angle as possible. Powersliding is all about using your speed to your advantage, whereas drifting focuses on the actual act of sliding.
The main differences, though, are that a drift begins well before a corner begins, and requires a number of techniques to be employed to hold the slide. There’s braking to initiate the slide, ‘Scandinavian Flick’ weight shifting, yanking the handbrake, clutch kicking, modulating the throttle, and steering into the slide. All of these actions are intended to initiate and/or hold the slide for as long and as fast as possible, from before the corner begins to well after it’s ended.
So to summarise, powersliding happens after turn-in, and is caused by using nothing more than your momentum and power to get the back out. Drifting begins well before the corner even begins, and requires a number of techniques to be combined with the sole intention of keeping the car in the drift. Hit the comments and tell us where you agree and disagree, as this subject’s certainly a contentious one…