We’ve all seen those RC drift cars in the movies, but what is it like to drive them ourselves? Whether you are looking to start a a new hobby or just want to have some fun with friends and family, RC drift cars might be perfect for you. So what exactly is an RC drift car, and how fast do they actually go?
Entry-level drift cars can attain speeds of between 10 to 20mph, but models for more experienced competitors can attain speeds of between 40 to 70mph. Drift racing is not, however, an activity that requires extreme speed but rather skill and control in negotiating bends and corners while drifting.
The world of RC cars has seen a huge surge in popularity over recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. These scale model RC cars have come leaps and bounds from their original design- they can be customized with different bodies, paint schemes, tires, engines, suspension, and more. A type of RC car that has gained much popularity since the Need For Speed series of movies is the “Drift Car.” We will look at these cars in a little more detail so you can decide if you want to give it a go to operate one of these RC cars.
What Are RC Drift Cars?
One thing that sets Drift Cars apart from other types of RC cars is that they’re designed specifically for sliding around corners on pavement or dirt tracks. They have wide rubber tires so they don’t slip off the track as easily, tons of power so they’re fast enough to keep up with any competition on the track (which makes them perfect for racing), tight suspension to make sure they hold the track well, and a thrill to drive!
RC drift cars are designed to emulate the motion and feel of an actual racing car. Drift RC cars have been around for over 10 years, but only recently have they started to really gain in popularity.
Drifting is a driving technique where oversteering is done intentionally going into a corner which results in the back of the car sliding into and through the corner. The technique allows for faster cornering and positions the nose of the car for a faster exit from the corner. It takes significant skill and control to maintain the drift through the corner by a combination of counter-steering and oversteering the vehicle.
In RC drift cars, the cars are set up with specialized suspension, powerful engines, special tires, and steering control mechanisms to emulate the drifting driving technique of real-life cars. Because of the additional power required by the electric motors for drifting, RC cars that are made for drifting are often kitted out with more powerful, longer-lasting batteries.
Drift RC cars are often scale models of real-life cars to enhance the realism when driving these RC vehicles.
One of the attractions of drift RC car racing is that it does not require tracks with long straights but rather short straights and tight bends and corners. This makes it possible to race these cars indoors on smaller tracks which is something that makes this type of RC racing attractive to many people.
They can easily build their own drift track in a spare room or in the basement of their home.
Drift RC Car Scale
The most popular scale for RC drift cars is 1:10, but there are also some models on the market that are scaled at 1:24, which is quite a small scale.
The 1:10 scale is the most popular because they provide a good power to weight ratio to enable drift driving more easily, and there are more drift tires available for this scale of car than for the other scales.
Most of the larger-scale cars will have rechargeable batteries, but the smaller-scale cars generally rely on sets of AA or AAA batteries to power the vehicles.
Check out my article: 9 Ways To Make An RC Car Drift Better
How Fast Are RC Drift Cars?
Drift cars need powerful engines to power the car into a slide through the corner. They also need specialized suspension setups and tires.
Many of these specifications do not translate into speed since speed is not the object of these RC cars. The object is to race on tracks with tight bends and curves which are not conducive to high speeds. The ability of the operator of the car to negotiate the corners fast by drifting will give them a faster time around the track and get ahead of their competitors.
Thus, drift RC cars are not the fastest RC cars available, but that being said, they are not deficient in the speed department either.
RC Drift cars are very interesting because they have a lot of power, with motors that deliver a good deal of torque to the wheels. Even though RC drift cars are not necessarily built with speed in mind, they can get speeds of 40-70mph!
While this is not as fast as the fastest RC cars, which are marketed as being able to exceed 100mph, it is nonetheless still a very respectable speed.
The speed of the RC drift car varies depending on the kind you buy. Entry-level drift cars typically can get to speeds somewhere between 10-20 miles per hour (16-32 km/h). While this may not seem very fast, it is plenty fast for drifting purposes, especially if you are a beginner to drift RC car driving. Once you get the hang of one of these cars, you will be able to get it to drift around corners just like the real thing.
Once you have mastered the technique on an entry-level car, you can step up your game and move on to the faster models of RC drift cars.
It is also really cool that these RC drift cars are sometimes equipped with nitro engines which makes them faster than the electric version motors in RC cars. However, the nitro models are generally more for outdoor use rather than for indoor drift tracks.
Examples Of Drift RC Cars
Pretty much any RC car with any engine can be converted quite easily into a drift car, provided you can find drift tires in the right size. Nitro-powered cars can be converted to drift cars, but the power of these engines often makes them more difficult to control in a drift.
For this reason, the most popular drift cars are ones with electric motors. If you prefer a drift RC car with a little more speed, a brushless motor would be a good choice as the drive motor for a drift car.
Here are some examples of 1:10 scale cars that are suitable for getting going with driving a drift RC car.
1. HSP Racing RC Car
This 1:10 scale four-wheel-drive car is a great option because it comes with a set of speed tires for normal racing and a set of 4 drift specialized tires for drift racing. The suspension is fully adjustable with oil-filled shock absorbers so that you can tweak the performance of the car to your driving style.
It has an upgraded 540 Race motor which is brushless and will give the car speeds of between 21 to 30mph
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2. Super GT RC High-Speed Racing Drift Car
This is a 1:16 scale drift car, which is slightly smaller and does great for an indoor track. Even though the scale is smaller, this car can still get up to speeds close to 20mph. It is also a four-wheel-drive car and comes ready to run with 4 drift tires.
It is controlled with a pistol grip style 2.4G remote control unit. The only downside is that you will need extra batteries since the car will only run for 10 to 15 minutes on a single battery charge.
Check out the Super GT here on Amazon
Can Any RC Car Be A Drift Car?
Essentially, any RC car can be converted to a drift car, and you can easily perform the conversion yourself.
The main component that you will need to change on your RC car to get it to operate as a drift car would be the tires.
Conventional RC car tires are made from foam or rubber, which are not suitable for drifting, as they have too much grip to allow the cars to drift effectively.
The RC drift car tires are made from ABS plastics, which allow the cars to drift much easier on the track. These tires are hard wearing and will not need to be changed as frequently as standard RC car tires will need to be.
Drifting tires are not suitable to be used when you race your car on other tracks or for racing that requires speed on long straights. They do not have enough traction to produce the fast speeds required for straight-line racing.
RC drift cars are not cars that are designed specifically for speed. The design, tweaking, and adjusting is intended to improve the car’s ability to drift through corners and turns. This is not usually related to blasting around a track that has long straights.
Racing drift cars is more a test of technique and control of the car and the mastery of the driver of the drifting technique. This does not mean that drift cars are slow but rather means that speed is less critical in the race than skill in mastering the drift around corners.