Can You Drift With a FWD? How to Make It Work

Oct 17, 2023

A 4WD truck drifting

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Drifting is both an art and science. What began as men testing the limits of vehicles as an adrenaline rush is now an underground sport open to anyone who loves the thrill of burning rubber. 

How to Drift

Learning to drift is all about oversteering while maintaining control of the car. The back wheels fall into a slip angle and the front point in the direction opposite of your turn. The technique began in Japan before traveling to Europe and beyond. It’s best to practice in a flat, open area that allows you to keep yourself and others as safe as possible.

There are four key elements to drifting.

  • Angle: For a smooth and admired drift, you’ll want to take a large angle. However, it’s easier said than done. The larger the angle you take, the more the car will try to slow down. A skilled driver can use the correct speed and angle to maintain speed through the turn.
  • Speed: How fast you maintain your vehicle as you enter, exit and maneuver through the turns. You want to try and maintain the fluidity of the drift as you get through it, regardless of your needs. 
  • Line: The line is the path you take through your turn. If you enter a race, the judges will often suggest different lines to take. Often it’s suggested to get close to the wall or edge of the turn, but you shouldn’t attempt it unless you have plenty of experience and are confident you can safely perform the maneuver.
  • Style: Your style is your personal approach to the turn. Some people take a sharp turn while others prefer a smooth approach. 

A large part of your drifting ability depends on the vehicle you choose. 

Car approaching a turn on a track.

Drifting with a FWD Vehicle 

While a rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicle is typically preferred for drifting, it is possible to mimic it with a front-wheel drive (FWD) car. Instead of a drift, it is technically a lift-off oversteer, where you intentionally oversteer to make the rear wheels lose traction, while still maintaining control of the vehicle. 

There is an established technique to help you achieve a smooth drift with a FWD car. 

  1. The Feign Maneuver – Once you build up speed, you can accomplish this maneuver by turning the wheel five to ten degrees away from where you want to turn. It will cause the car to rock which will help you get into a smooth drift. 
  2. Turn Towards the Drift – You’ll then turn the wheel one-quarter to one-third of the way towards your turn direction. 
  3. Enter the Slide – Use the handbrake to break the rear wheel traction. The handbrake will control the length of your slide. 
  4. Navigate the Slide – Turn the wheel in the opposite direction as you work through and exit the drift. You can use the throttle to experiment with speed and distance. 

Practice the technique in a safe space until you are completely comfortable with the sequence. 

Achieving a Drift with FWD

Drifting is a fun but challenging driving technique that you can experiment with if you’re looking for a thrill or want to enter the sport. It is possible to drift with a FWD vehicle. With the right sequence of maneuvers and plenty of practice, you can perfect the technique.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.