RC Cars and Trucks

RC Drifting

Information on RC Drifting

Guide to getting started in the fun and exciting craze of rc car drifting. In Japan, car drifting is very popular. And now this popularity has spilled over to rc cars.

If you have ever watched rc cars drifting, you will be instantly hooked. So let's get started in building an rc drift car.

Building an RC Drift Car

For drifting, electric rc cars are better than nitro models. It is easier to control the throttle of an electric car during a drift. Nitro rc cars would probably burn out the clutch and overheat the engines if used for drifting.

RC Drift Cars
The Tamiya TL-01 as an rc drift car. Shaft, 4-wheel drive transmission with drifting tires and high torque motor. 

It is recommended that you use a shaft drive rc car rather than a belt driven transmission for your drifter. The shaft drive provides good throttle response, whereas the belt drive cars might give some backlash due to the belt design. 

Good news is a lot of people use belt drive cars for drifting without problems. But if you are starting from scratch, shaft drive cars may be the best drifters.

Also, use a 4 wheel drive machine if you want to go drifting. 4x4 is easier to control and drift.

For motors, you need high torque. The standard Mabuchi 540 works fine, and a lot of people also use 19 turn motors. Also gear your car for acceleration rather than top speed.

Drift Tires

The only item you need to convert your touring car into a drift car is to change the tires. RC drift cars use tires that are made out of PVC pipes. Other alternatives are ABS pipes (slightly softer than PVC material), or rubber tires wrapped in electrical tape.

Making Drift Tires
To make your own set of PVC tires, you can buy a 10 feet long, 2 inch diameter PVC pipe from most hardware stores. Just make sure you buy PVC pipes that are as round as possible, as some shops sell pipes that have deformed slightly to an oval shape.

Also note that even if you ask for 2 inch diameter PVC pipes, not are all exactly 2 inches in diameter. Some PVC pipes will fit exactly onto your touring car wheels or rims, while some pipes inner diameter are slightly larger.

For pipes that are slightly larger than the wheel diameter, simply wrap duck tape, 3 to 4 times, around the rim. This should provide a snug fit to the PVC pipe.

Here is a good illustration and step by step guide (with photos) on how to make drift tires.

You can also buy specially made drift tires made by Yokomo. These are rubber tires with grooves onto which you mount the Yokomo made drift rings.

Yokomo Drift Tires
Photo credit: Yokomo USA website.

Another cheap way of building drift tires is to use the plastic cap found on spray paint cans. These would usually fit perfectly onto a regular touring car rubber tire. And it's much easier than cutting and making PVC tires.


Making rc drifting tires using old plastic caps of spray paint cans, cut and glued over rubber tires.

RC Drifting Guide

Keep in mind that a lot of dust is generated from the PVC tires scraping against the cement or asphalt surface. Your rc vehicle will be covered with fine dust after drifting. So make sure your transmission is well sealed against small dust particles.

Also, some rc tracks do not like or allow drift cars to run. This is because the drift tires create a lot of dust which is left on the track. Be sure to check your local track if they allow drift cars to run.

The rc drift car shown above is the Tamiya Ford F150 TL-01. You can buy it online. Buy the Tamiya Ford F150 TL-01

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