Melons' Guide to Better Driving #1: Scandi Flick & Handbrake Turns

Hey guys!

So, as I .mentioned before, I have decided to begin to pass on my knowledge of advanced driving techniques with tangible, practicable techniques that you can also utilize depending on your interests.

I’ll start with something that I don’t honestly believe anyone on CarThrottle has mastered, not even myself entirely (though I practice every day I can!)

It’s called the Scandinavian flick. It combines really nicely with handbrake turns. Yes, this will [possibly] irritate any fathers of teenage girls, because yes, their 17 year old daughters may soon after swoon over you! Have your “ladies, control your enthusiasm” memes ready! Hahaha.

Anyways, without further delay:

Step 1: Preparation:

This is the most important part. If you wish to practice this, you need to have a sporty car (not an SUV, truck, or anything which is likely to tip over, like a FIAT Panda, Reliant Robin or other econobox which is narrow and tall), an empty parking lot free of obstacles and dangers, and pylons. Yeah. Every one of my driving lessons involves pylons. I believe in the church of pylons. They are love, they are life, they are god.

Set the pylons up, so that they form a hairpin turn. Don’t make them too tight together. Give yourself a nice, wide, arcing corner. You’re not ready for the Col de Turini/Transfagarasan style hairpins yet! But you will be, soon enough, with practice.

Check this hairpin for bumps, hazards or anything which could ruin your day (curbs etc.) Make sure that you aren’t bothering anyone with your presence. Do security guards come out and tell you to leave? Then gather your pylons and leave! Find another spot. A nice, safe, quiet, peaceful place… This is as much for your dignity (in case you spin more than you would like) as it is for liability and safety.

Disclaimer: Melons is a fruit. Fruit cannot be held liable in any court of laws in the world. Attempt at your own risk.

Step 2: The Approach:

Long before yanking any handbrake levers, you must understand how to drive the car towards the point where you will yank the handbrake lever.

Let’s imagine that the hairpin that you have created is a left hander hairpin, at the end of a straightaway. Seems simple, right? Wrong. You should never stop turning. You must line up, headed towards the left side of the road. Just before you are at the left edge of the road you have created with those pylons, you must begin braking very hard, and then turn towards the right once the nose is angled down and the weight has transferred onto the front tires. The car will head to the right now. Now, turn in to the left, while still braking (but while easing off of the brakes!!)

Without yanking the handbrake, you may get a little sideways here. If you get very sideways, and you get too much oversteer, you have turned right and left too quickly. You have upset the car too much. Try again. This is why you gave yourself lots of space for run off room!!

Once you feel like you can confidently perform the run up towards the hairpin and your car is just getting a bit unstable while doing it without spinning or skidding too much, try to work it in a way that the car now turns into the hairpin and does not slide much. You just want to make it around the hairpin. Once complete, you’re ready for the next step.

Step 3: The Proper Scandinavian Flick:

At this point, you now understand the theory behind the Scandi Flick. But, you cannot get around those pylons while sideways! Not yet.

Depending on your drivetrain, the next advice will differ greatly. Front drivers, you are lucky. You have it easy! You can yank the handbrake at any time without destroying your center differential or worrying about your clutch and throttle pedal.
RWD guys, you just have to worry about the clutch. AWD guys, you guys have to worry about your center differential and clutch. If you have AWD, open a new tab and read about your system. Some AWD systems will destroy the center differentials if the rear wheels stop turning while the front wheels turn. You know, because the gears in the differential will grind, because one set is turning while the others are stopped. Guess whose car just became front wheel drive?! Woooooo! Let’s avoid this, Audi, Volkswagen and others with the Haldex AWD system. Subaru guys, I love you guys, so I took the liberty of researching and telling you that your car’s AWD system behaves as RWD when clutch pedal is depressed. Follow the RWD advice below…

RWD guys… Your engine could stall if you stop the rear wheels while the clutch is engaged and the rear wheels stop turning… Like pulling up to a red light without putting the clutch in, but with the front wheels still turning freely. Looks embarrassing, and does not make 17 year olds drop their panties… Keep the engine running, please. Put the clutch in before yanking the handbrake.

Now that you know how to pull handbrake without ruining your differential or stalling, read on.

The next part is the proper Scandinavian Flick. Follow the above steps to approach the hairpin you set up. As you approach, try to find the right speed and the right timing for the right turn, and then the left turn, so that minimal steering correction is required. You should experience a nice, smooth slide. Depending on your drivetrain, a varying level of countersteer may be required, which is fine. But, the driver who turns his steering wheel the least will look coolest and be fastest.

I find that the way to do this is merely to practice. Again, pylons. The worst thing to hit is just pylons. For safety. Worst thing that could happen? You might hit a pylon. Oops. Pick it back up and try again.

Step 4: The Handbrake:

Now, make the hairpin a little tighter. The corner should be sharper. You should not be able to drift around it any more without the handbrake.

Follow the same procedure as above. But, after you set the car up to turn right, and as it begins to turn left, yank the handbrake. The car should rotate around a lot… A big drift! You will need a bit of counter steer and a lot of throttle! You will be going slowly, so you have to regain speed.

Once everything works, your handbrake turns should be like Loëb in the Rallye Monte Carlo… Or maybe even Ogier!

Good luck!



What if the Subaru isn’t a WRX or STi? Does the whole “behaves as RWD” thing still apply? Very nice article BTW

11/22/2015 - 03:34 |
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In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

If it is still a manual, yes. The automatics are inherently different due to a lack of clutch and a different center differential.

Subaru front and rear differentials on all turbo models from 1992-2007 are pretty much the same.. Except that STi gets upgraded systems… And a DCCD. 2008 WRX gets an open rear diff with the same front diff and 5 speed, with just a few changes. All the way until 2015, WRX is open rear differential. But, still a similar type of center differential behaviour, “clutch-to-drift” system.

11/22/2015 - 03:39 |
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The hoonigan

Instructions unclear :Attempted to Scandinavian flick in my 2015 golf tsi and became tanner foust in the golf gti commercial…..

11/22/2015 - 05:04 |
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Then the instructions likely were actually clear… Link to video, please?

11/22/2015 - 05:39 |
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Wow. Ken Block’s videos with a fully-prepped car really blow all factory cars out of the water. With that said, nice driving!

11/22/2015 - 05:51 |
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The hoonigan

they did not even pay me very well for the driving ! they just put him in the car for all the in car shots

11/22/2015 - 05:44 |
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The Stan

Unfortunately I can’t find a safe field of Tarmac to do this, but I’ve been doing lots of handbrake turns with my civic (rip) on fine dirt. And yes of course I’ve already played around with my Z3.
My question: how big is the difference between fine dirt vs Tarmac over steering?

11/22/2015 - 06:31 |
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Depends on speed and “ferocity” more than the actual surface. You must shift the weight more on grippy surfaces, and your handbrake must be up to snuff on tarmac. That’s really the only difference.

Tarmac (dry) makes it harder because of the speed required in the approach, but it is possible.

11/22/2015 - 14:48 |
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The Stigographer

Special note to everyone with a Haldex AWD system… Don’t break your center diff. It is a royal pain in the @$$ to get at it to repair anything .

11/22/2015 - 06:48 |
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But what if you want a FWD (insert car with haldex center diff here)?

11/22/2015 - 09:02 |
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I love scandinavian flicks! Must be one of the first things i’ve learned after i’ve got my licence. But i also had a lot of flick practice on my bikes before so i hardley knew the physiks and how it should work.

11/22/2015 - 07:49 |
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for pulling the handbrake in a wrx with a regular manual tranny I always heard that this will wear out the viscous center diff so you really shouldn’t be doing it that frequently or it will lead to part failure.

11/22/2015 - 08:22 |
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Yes. Clutching in will limit this. I have done it several times, no wear on center diff to report. And, if it does, STi center diffs are cheap (relatively) and swap in easily.

11/22/2015 - 14:50 |
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“Disclaimer: Melons is a fruit. Fruit cannot be held liable in any court of laws in the world. Attempt at your own risk.”

This is why I like CT.

11/22/2015 - 09:00 |
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In reply to by Caro


11/22/2015 - 14:48 |
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i once did a scandi flick in the Polo. got followed home and questioned by the police. (serious) lol

11/22/2015 - 10:08 |
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In reply to by Gabz

Public road, parking lot, or abandoned parking lot in the middle of nowhere?

I’m a bit blessed to be in Canada. 35,000,000 people living in 9,000,000km^2 means that if I want to disappear from people, I only have to drive like 10 km., in order to be somewhere uninhabited. Completely isolated, making for all of the drifts with none of the police concern.

I went out to that area just last night. I dodged more deer than I did police, by a ratio of 10:0. :P Ten deer, 0 police.

11/22/2015 - 14:46 |
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