Brakes will certainly take a pounding and
should be upgraded. As a minimum ensure you have race or fast road spec
pads all round. Change the brake fluid or better still swap it for completely
synthetic brake fluid. Adding braided brake hoses will further ensure
that braking disasters are minimised. If you are spending money on the
brakes also consider upgrading to bigger brake disks which are vented,
drilled and groved.
Control is key, so a soft suspension setup will cause all manner of problems
and create a stodgy ride. Obviously the optimum suspension set up varies from
car to car and also driver preference plays a large part. It is worth getting
suspension you can modify yourself so look for ones that permit custom ride
height, stiffness and electronic adjustment to the dampers. At least you can
play around until you find your optimum set up and you can switch back to a
more road friendly setting for the journey home.
Suspension can be supplemented with strut braces for
rigidity and also by switching rubber bushes for polyeurothane to aid
stiffness. Set the front for negative Camber to give the front more grip
and help with oversteer. The rears should be set with very little negative
camber (virtually vertical) to reduce grip in corners.
Ensure that your steering rack is in good condition, has no play and that the
wheels are straight when the steering wheel is in its default rotation. A quick
lock to lock steering rack is nice to have. Small steering wheels are actually
worse to use so get an ‘old bus’ steering wheel rather than trying
to look cool.
This takes a real pounding. For drifting get the heaviest duty clutch you can
fit. Double and Triple plate clutches are good as are ceramic, brass button
clutches but these are not always available for all cars. Various compounds
are available. If you get a heavy clutch and your car has a cable clutch
pedal make sure that the cable is heavy duty enough. (I got through 4 cables
because the plastic retaining clip kept breaking, why they use plastic I
will never know.)
You will crash and spin off. Impact with other vehicles and barriers is also
typical especially as you are starting out. In pro drift championships the
bumpers are secured with cable ties so when the inevitable happens the bumper
rips off breaking the cable tie and suffers little damage itself.
Have you noticed that the main sponsors of drift
championships are tyre companies (call me synical). You will get through
more tyres than anything else. You’ll often overhear drifters
talking about how many Tyres Per Mile they get through.
If you are starting out stick with cheap part worn tyres. (Don’t
be tempted to go for remoulds.) Some drivers stretch small tyres on a
large rim to aid stability. Some drives have different sizes (height and
width) on the front to the rear. Look for low profile tyres as these are
less inclined to roll off the rims under heavy sliding. Tyre pattern is
a matter of individual choice I suggest that you chat with other drivers
and see what they are using. Typically hard compound on the back and the
rear tyres are what you will use more of. Tyre pressures also can make
a big difference - experiment with different pressures to see how handling
is affected as this varies greatly from car to car.
Need we say this Helmet, Harness, Fire Extinguisher, Roll Cage etc..