So you’ve had your taster session, got a car with a seat and some sort of diff, you’ve watched Tokyo Drift and played far too much Xbox in anticipation. You’re now ready to book your first drift day. There are a few venues up and down the country, ideally you want to look for one with just a big open space and some cones. Drifting on a track is great, and looks better but it can be a really steep gravel/Armco based learning curve. Cones don’t do a whole lot of damage and the experience will never allow you to look at roadworks the same way again. So you book your day (probably at Santa Pod). What should you take? Probably time for another list.
1. Oil change, brake check, fluid check and general car health check
It’s obviously good to keep your car in excellent condition for road driving but this drift day is going to put all sorts of strain on the car and the engine. Fresh oil from Halfords is £30 and takes 20 mins to change yourself. The memory of my first drift day will still start with my friend doing an oil change at 5:30am in the snow - mental but worth it.
2. Driving Licence and Ticket
E-tickets are probably more common these days but still, don’t forget it. Most (if not all) locations will require you to present your licence when you sign on.
3. Toolbox with at minimum 8mm – 14mm spanners/sockets + Cable ties + more cable ties + a few more cable ties
..And duct tape. Not to be negative but there is a high chance that something will break or come loose. Or someone who hasn’t bought tools will need some and it will be your ticket to a new friendship.
4. Jack and Spider wrench/wheel gun/wheel removal tool
I haven’t stated this explicitly before but you will burn through tyres on a dry day, and you can’t drive home when the wire is sticking out of your tyres. There is the tiniest of chance that if its wet and you didn’t do much drifting you can drive home on the same tyres but it’s not ideal. CHECK YOUR WHEEL NUTS BEFORE YOU GO OUT…EVERY TIME. We’ve all seen videos and laugh at it happening but seriously, no one has ever said ‘I wish I didn’t spend 30 seconds checking the wheel nuts’.
5. Spare wheels with tyres
Check with the event as they usually have tyre changing facilities (for a cost) but it may be more simple when you’re driving an MX5 with its distinct lack of storage space. I would say bare minimum two spare wheels but more if you can. If it’s wet and you have some decent tread on the tyre, you may last the whole day. If it’s really hot, dry, your right foot is made out of lead and you are loving donuts then be prepared to change your tyres after less than 20 minutes. You shouldn’t need to change the fronts but don’t rely on that!
6. Waterproofs (weather dependent)
If you’ve ever been to a race track you know that they are one of the windiest unprotected places known to man. Wrap up.
Not all venues require you to wear a helmet, but I assume it will become more common in the future. They don’t have to be FIA approved and a lot of places will accept motorcycle helmets too. If you happen to be driving something with a roll cage I’d recommend wearing a helmet anyway as banging your head against a cage is not enjoyable.
8. Water and food
I can assume you’re waking up at the crack of dawn to get to this event, you’ll get hungry by the time you hit the track and the café isn’t always open. Also be conscious that you are spinning around in circles all day, you don’t want to see your food again.
My first drift day I took over 200 photos, my second drift day I took about 5. What did I learn? Stop wasting time taking photos and drive, seat time is key. Still, I have kept all of those photos and they are nice to have and look back on (and laugh at) so take a half decent camera.
Dry day uses less fuel than a wet day because the revs are probably lower. You shouldn’t do more than a tank on the day but make sure you fill up first or take along a couple of jerry cans, petrol isn’t always available on site.
Thank you for all the comments and shares on CT and on Facebook and Instagram from my last couple of posts. Next week I’m going to talk about actual drifting not just preparing for it. As always if you think I’ve missed anything off the list comment below.
Any questions or topics you want me to cover in this blog just let me know!
I’d had the bodywork tape (I don’t remember the name though) which comes in handy if you don’t want the typical tire rubber marks on your car. Those can take a long time to get rid of. Also, I’d add the alignement plate (again, dont know the name). I saw it on Tuerck’d i think. Anyway, he said it was good to make any adjustment quickly. I guess it is for the more advanced drifter though.
Is that the sort of clear wrap stuff? It’s a good point tyre de-lamination can cause all sorts of damage.
Well written post! :)
My mates are waiting for me to take mine to a track… I imagine it will be 5mins me driving, 6hrs them hogging the wheel.
Yeah nah, tell em to get stuffed!!
Have you drifted in assetto corsa? If so how close is it to real life?