Introduction to Drifting
One of the most exciting race classes in the RC world is drifting. It basically involves drivers adjusting their throttle, steering and throttle to keep their cars in an oversteering position when cornering, so that they appear to be on the verge of losing control, while still maintaining an accurate manoeuvre. Obviously, this sounds like a dangerous game to play, but serious drift racers spend the time and money required to maintain and prepare their cars for this.
Drift racing is actually an expensive venture and involves expert skills in controlling the cars while practically sliding around corners with little to no traction. To be successful in this venture, you will need a high quality car as well as a budget for repairs and change of parts, without having to sell your soul. There are some affordable and high value cars that you can choose from, depending on your budget, and needs and preferences. Here, we have highlighted our favourite picks to help you get started in this exhilarating adventure. The whole point of drifting is trying to manage tight manoeuvres in the smallest space possible, so you do not need to have access to a track or large space. Also, the more blinged out and chromed up your car, the better. Drifting is not just about technique, it’s also about looking better than the competition!
How to select the best Drift Car
One of the main factors you need to consider when shopping for a drift car is when, how and how often you will be driving it. These factors will play into selecting the features and components you will need in your drift RC car. Your budget is another important aspect, as is your level of expertise and whether you intend to go all out racing, or just some drift practising. Shop around and check out the models you are interested in and their current market price, so that when you are ready, you’ll know how much to budget for. Cars that come Ready-To-Run and include everything in the box might e a great deal, but compare different retailers’ prices first before making a decision.
Steer clear of expensive cars with plastic parts and not much included in the package. Some features you definitely want in your RC drift car include;
- Polycarbonate frames
- Solid aluminium parts
- Adjustable shocks
- Reliable, strong and durable chassis and heavy frames
- Batteries, tools and remotes included in the box
So below is our list of favourite Drift RC cars.
Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Drift RC Car
Redcat have outdone themselves with the Racing Lightning EPX Drift RC car. This car makes gliding dangerously around corners look easy. This on-road electric brushed 4×4 car is shaft driven and set on a lightweight plastic chassis. Some of its features include:
- A forward and reverse ESC, so you can easily get it out of trouble and get back to drifting.
- 2.4GHz radio system for reliable control and easy manoeuvring around multiple corners.
- Oil filled shocks and adjustable suspension which allows you to tune your car
- 7.2V 2000mAh NiMh battery pack and wall charger
- Electric brushed 27T 550-motor
- Body – comes in either red, blue, yellow, green, orange, orange-yellow, or clear with decal sheet
- Costs $189.99
This car is perfect for adults and children, experts and beginners. You will only need to buy 8 AA batteries for the receiver and transmitter to get you started. The battery pack takes 8 hours to fully charge, which is a bit of a drag but well worth the effort. This car looks great on the road, which is just as important to drift racers as performance.
The biggest negative on this machine is that the battery pack will likely only give you 15minutes run time, which is a real bummer because by that time you’ve really gotten into the rhythm and are enjoying your drifting manoeuvres.
Similar to this is its counterpart Lightning EPX PRO Drift RC Car with a brushless motor.
Now this is one powerful machine. The EPX PRO comes set on a plastic chassis, much like the EPX. However, its brushless motor gives out 3300KV and includes a much more powerful 3500mAh LiPo battery.
- It comes with adjustable suspension and oil filled shocks, similar to those found on race cars, enabling you to fully tune this car to your liking.
- A 2.4GHz radio system just like the EPX.
- Waterproof electrical components cover to ensure that you never have to worry about the weather when racing.
- Body comes in metallic blue or red
- Costs $269.99
If you are just getting into drift racing, we think either of these will make for a great first car. You can select either the EPPX or the EPX PRO depending on your budget, and your power requirements. Either way, this car will drift beautifully around corners, albeit for a short time before battery runs out. We are not sure about the durability of the plastic chassis though.
HPI Racing Sprint 2-drift Camaro
The latest Ready-to-Run Sprint 2 Drift is a cool, easy to maintain and drive pre-assembled drift car that is sure load adventure into your races. It comes fitted with the updated Chevrolet Camaro body shell that gives the car its tough good looks. This is a great car for beginners because it is very easy to run and great for practise. Some of its features include;
- Waterproof encased 2.4GHz receiver, SS-20WR water resistant steering servo and SC-3SWP2 waterproof electronic speed controller, so you can enjoy your machine regardless of the weather.
- Falken Azenis RT-615 drift tyres that come pre-mounted on licences replicas of the renowned Rays Volk TE37 wheels.
- Shiny gold and black trimmed polycarbonate body. You can purchase any of their selection of different body colours and decals to customise your car.
- 4WD transmission that is easy to manage, and provides a variety of tuning options and features. Ride height, camber, toe-in, and a wide variety of shock oils and springs.
- Reinforced nylon chassis that can take a beating well. Big foam front bumper, durable shock towers, full ball bearings and a dual belt, capable of handling high power motors.
- Lightweight HPI 2.4GHz radio system with pistol grip, a steering wheel, braking and reversing, steering and throttle trim adjustments and the latest Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum. FHSS allows the radio system to change frequencies in case of interference. The system comes with a failsafe that ensures a controlled and safe stop for your car, should you lose signal or battery power.
- 4 AA batteries, 7.2v 2000 mAh NiMH battery with standard plug and battery charger are included in the box. For a longer run time, you can switch to a 5000mAh battery.
- Costs $328.04
This car handles really well, with its flexibility and overall great design. And you can drive this machine on just about any surface and still maintain reasonable traction. Orange anodised aluminium parts, coupled with amazing body work give this car a fantastic look, great for the track. Most of the parts are interchangeable and easily available in the market. This means that you can customise your car, pick and choose which parts to upgrade and create your own version of a super HPI Sprint 2 Drift car.
The main challenge with this vehicle is that you run the risk of debris and rocks tearing up the belt and ruining your differentials, unless you run it on a very clean track.
Exceed Drift star Car
The Exceed RC Electric Drift Star model comes in a 1/10 scale. It has specially designed compound drift tyres that are mounted on high performance wheels. It is great for both indoor and outdoor drifting. This design is based on our popular on road electric race car versions.
The Drift Star model is easy to drive and can perform well on virtually any surface. It is 4 wheel drive, offering consistent drift action, regardless of the terrain or weather. You have freedom to adjust any of the features as required; camber, toe-in, suspension etc.
Some of its features include;
- Four wheel drive system
- Excellent front/rear camber and toe-in setup
- Powerful RC 540 motor
- Anodized aluminum centre long drive shaft
- High performance front/rear differentials
- Stable suspension arms and solid front/rear shock tower
- Precise steering fitting delivers quick response
- High precision SP03018 electric speed control ESC
- Complete ball bearings for a smooth and an efficient drive
- High performance anti-skid drift tires, chromes plated spoke rims and pre-mound drift wheels
- 7.2V 1800maH Ni-MH battery power
- Extra large front bumper foam provides protection against sudden impacts
- Costs $157.50
What we didn’t like about it is that there’s not a lot of information on it online, and therefore not much customer support. It also has a small battery so not much run time. However, as most parts can be adjusted, you can probably change the battery to a big one, even if it means creatively rigging it on the side.
What we absolutely love is that this car is beautiful! It drifts beautifully and will steal the attention of your competitors with its graceful glide. It is also quite easy to run, perfect for a beginner.
HPI Racing E10 Mustang Monster Energy– different bodies
The HPI Racing E10 Ford Mustang comes with a very sleek and modern, clean cut design, with a massive spoiler to allow for maximum air flow and to maintain stability while drifting. It also gives the car this handsome tough-guy look. It is the perfect entry-level car for the beginner who wants to look like a veteran.
Some of our favourite features of the HPI Racing E10 Ford Mustang include;
- A low maintenance HPI 27T 540 motor will provide ample power. It doesn’t take 3S LiPo batteries though
- Radio system with two channel remote control
- SC-15WP electronic speed control that has throttle, brakes and reverse
- 7.2V NiMh stick battery with Dean’s connector battery charger
- Full time 4WD belt drive that provides utmost control while drifting
- Hard drift tyres that perform well on paved surfaces and maintain a straight line and maximum drift angle while keeping stable
- Independent suspension that can be adjusted as needed
- Pre-assembled chassis that only requires charging and it is ready to go
- Large bumper that protects car from damage
- Enclosed drivetrain that keeps the gears dirt and dust free
- 2.4GHz radio system that is interference free. You can drift in large numbers and not have to worry about signal interference because the radio will simply switch to a different frequency
- Motor and radio equipment can be repositioned for maximum balance and efficiency while drifting
- Everything is including the pack, including AA batteries for the transmitter and receiver
Most customers love this car’s body and frame, as well as driveability. You can buy lots of different body shapes and colours that fit the chassis perfectly, from Lexus, Corvette, Porsche, Nissan Skyline and even Dodge. It performs very well in small spaces and on paved terrain.
The only drawback we found with this car was the drive belts which will need to be replaced as they tear quite easily. However, this car comes highly recommended and is a competitive choice when it comes to finding the right ride for a beginner.
Traxxas Ford GT
The Traxxas Ford GT has the best body and shape in our list of best drift cars. It comes with a unique, sexy, aerodynamic shape, and is a stunning 1/10 replica of beautiful and functional style of the full size Ford GT. All the details are included, including the exhaust tips and taillights, making the Traxxas Ford GT a super drift car with both the looks and efficiency to make it a winner. For $309.99, you get the following features and more;
The Titan 12-T 550 (12 turn) motor has been modified to include an internal cooling fan. Fixed gear mesh enables you to select from 11 gear positions.
This drift car is set on the new Traxxas 4-Tec 2.0 AWD chassis that combines modern design with precision engineering, creating Traxxas’ most adjustable chassis ever. It is built for convenience and functionality. Its smooth bottom cuts through the air and provides maximum acceleration.
This car’s 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine packs a powerful punch. It makes a historic return after 50 years to win the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, making it the most innovative engine in a drift car.
Traxxas Stability Management
Traxxas TSM system enables you to maintain maximum control of the car and avoid spinouts and keep the car from careening off the road.
2.4GHz TQi radio system with Traxxas Link enables you to control virtually all aspects of the car while driving, through an app that can be downloaded from iPhone App Store and Google Play store. It comes with an impressive telemetry-enabled 5-channel micro receiver and a multifunctional knob you can control and record data for throttle and steering.
Body and Wheels
This replica body captures the Ford GT’s renowned buttresses, taillights and injection moulded exhaust tips. It comes with sticky street tyres that will provide great traction on any surface, including snow and ice. Patents for the replica wheels with lug nut details are still ending. Replica brake discs come with standard 12mm hexes and red brake callipers for that gorgeous, sleek, authentic look.
Oil filled ultra shocks that are fully tuneable and include pressure bladders for oil/air separation. They come with a wide variety of oils, springs and pistons for a fully customisable experience.
Waterproof receiver box – to protect the micro-receiver from the harsh elements of the real world.
High-performance waterproof XL-5 Electronic Speed Control
The Traxxas Ford GT’s speed control comes packaged in I waterproof design, with three drive profiles; Sport Mode with forward/brake/reverse, Race Mode with forward/brake, and Training Mode with 50% forward/brake and 50% reverse (patented).
It also comes with a one-button EZ start up and is compatible with both LiPo and NiMh batteries.
The Traxxas Ford GT is arguably the best and most popular drifting car on our list. Most customers love that it handles on road challenges very well, and has a powerful motor and battery options that will give you a longer run time. Its solid, durable chassis and elegant sleek design has won many heart. Even for its high price point, it delivers on the drifting experience and you will be sure to enjoy it. Maybe just don’t invest in this piece unless you really know your way around drift racing as a sport.