Drift vs Grip

prizrak

Forum Addict
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
20,157
Location
No, sleep, till, BROOKLYN
Car(s)
11 Xterra Pro-4x, 12 'stang GT
So a friend of mine and I had a bit of an "argument" he states that any time on the tarmac grip will be faster than drift. I am in disagreement as I believe certain turns (such as hairpins) would be faster with drift than grip because you could have the car travel a much shorter distance. Also I believe that downhill would be faster since you are working with gravity rather than against, again in some turns. As my example I cited Sideways Ronnie, so what do you guys thing?
 

MattD1zzl3

2 Slow 2 Noisy
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,736
Location
Miamishire
Car(s)
1996 & 2003 Mazda Miatas, 1995 Chevy Camaro Z28
Sudden inertia changes and working against the intended direction of tire travel is almost never a good thing.

If auto racing is hockey, than drifting is figure skating. A related and cool-to-watch version that requires lots of skill, but is just for form rather than function.

There is always an exemption to any rule, but "grip" in general is faster than "drift", and initial d is not an automotive documentary. Good day.
 

73GMCSprint

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
916
Location
Southern UT, USA
Car(s)
1973 GMC Sprint, Buick 455/TH400; 1994 Jeep XJ 4.0
^^^X2

If drift were really faster, Michael Schumacher would be the drift king.
 

Labcoatguy

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Messages
13,757
Location
Boston, MA, USA
Car(s)
#Jaguar #XKR, #Saab #9-3, #Toyota #MR2 #2ZZ
The original poster raises an important point about very tight hairpins. In grip racing, the sequence of events would be as follows:

1) Brake enough to be able to maintain grip through out the turn.
2) Make the turn at optimal speed and steering angle.
3) Accelerate.

In drifting, the amount of braking in step 1 would be reduced and the car's speed through the turn (taking into account both entry speed and rotational speed during the drift) could be somewhat higher than with grip, BUT the recovery time at the end of the turn would be higher. All of this depends on the tightness of the turn, the braking and handling characteristics of the car, and driver skill. So the real answer is, it depends. Find a tight enough hairpin with the right car and drifting could, conceivably, be somewhat competitive. I agree with previous posters, though, that in 95% of racing situations, grip is hands-down superior. It's finding the other 5% that is tricky.
 

thedguy

rides with Rebecca Black.. in the back
Joined
Jun 18, 2004
Messages
9,006
Location
Orange California
Car(s)
(OO=[][]=OO)
The original poster raises an important point about very tight hairpins. In grip racing, the sequence of events would be as follows:

1) Brake enough to be able to maintain grip through out the turn.
2) Make the turn at optimal speed and steering angle.
3) Accelerate.

In drifting, the amount of braking in step 1 would be reduced and the car's speed through the turn (taking into account both entry speed and rotational speed during the drift) could be somewhat higher than with grip, BUT the recovery time at the end of the turn would be higher. All of this depends on the tightness of the turn, the braking and handling characteristics of the car, and driver skill. So the real answer is, it depends. Find a tight enough hairpin with the right car and drifting could, conceivably, be somewhat competitive. I agree with previous posters, though, that in 95% of racing situations, grip is hands-down superior. It's finding the other 5% that is tricky.
The problem with drifting, even a hairpin, is you scrub off speed by the end of the corner. One of the main rules or racing is "Slow in Fast out" not "fast in, hit the barrier, break an axle" :p
 

Ford Prefect

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2006
Messages
1,872
Location
Bavaria
Car(s)
MINI, E30, GT86
on a normal track drifting, or any sort of sliding for that matter, is always going to slow you down considerably, and should really only occur when the driver is trying to keep lost seconds to a minimum after screwing up....

But on really tight hairpins things should be a little bit different, depending on what you?re driving. There is a reason why rally cars tend to go around really tight corners sideways (still referring to tarmac here, loose surfaces are a different story altogether). The WRC cars are rather big, and I?m pretty sure the turning radius isn?t gonna be the best either due to the huge brakes and complicated suspensions (just guessing here). So if you already have to slow down considerably to achieve such a small turn radius, going sideways isn?t gonna cost you much speed (because there is none), and will get you around the turn faster. If you were driving something really small, like a classic mini for instance, you could be driving on a bigger radius, because the car doesn?t need that much room, making it possible to drive the same corner faster with a clean line...
 

Z102

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2005
Messages
513
Location
Valencia, Spain
Car(s)
'07 Ford Fiesta 1.6 Sport
Not to mention what a long, four-wheel drift can do to your tyres if you repeat it over and over again in the course of several laps. Usually, on tarmac, drifting is a bad idea, save in that 5% of occasions Labcotguy mentioned. On the other hand, in rallyes drifting seems to be much more common, but I suppose that's because on slippery surfaces like gravel or mud there's not much grip to begin with, so you have to stay on the road as best you can :)
 

Hatmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Messages
4,782
Location
La Jolla, California
Car(s)
'03 Civic Si
Tyres are very sensitive to heat. Drift heats them up. Continued drifting would be bad for your tyres and will slow you down through corners as they start getting fuxxored.

A little power oversteer (slight) out of a corner typically helps, though.
 

thedguy

rides with Rebecca Black.. in the back
Joined
Jun 18, 2004
Messages
9,006
Location
Orange California
Car(s)
(OO=[][]=OO)
Not to mention what a long, four-wheel drift can do to your tyres if you repeat it over and over again in the course of several laps. Usually, on tarmac, drifting is a bad idea, save in that 5% of occasions Labcotguy mentioned. On the other hand, in rallyes drifting seems to be much more common, but I suppose that's because on slippery surfaces like gravel or mud there's not much grip to begin with, so you have to stay on the road as best you can :)
Watched WRC lately? Even they hardly "drift". About the only time they do anything like that is a hand brake turn on the sharpest of hairpins.
 

Viper007Bond

Chicken Nugget Connoisseur
STAFF MEMBER
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
31,051
Location
Portland, Oregon
Car(s)
2008 Dodge Viper, 2006 MB CLS55 AMG
Watched WRC lately? Even they hardly "drift". About the only time they do anything like that is a hand brake turn on the sharpest of hairpins.
The exception is off-road where powersliding is actually a good thing as you don't have as much traction.
 

Karoug

Techno Viking
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
6,465
Location
Sweden
Car(s)
Scooter power!!
^Most ppl don't seem to know the difference between drifting and sliding..
 

NooDle

Ik ben niet alleen lekker met kaas!
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
9,630
Location
Belgium
Car(s)
VW eGolf
your friend is right

on tarmac, drift < grip
on gravel, ice or another low grip surface it's the other way around
 

prizrak

Forum Addict
Joined
Apr 2, 2007
Messages
20,157
Location
No, sleep, till, BROOKLYN
Car(s)
11 Xterra Pro-4x, 12 'stang GT
and initial d is not an automotive documentary.[/QUOTE
BLASPHEMY!!! :)

The question is actually not a 100% one. I understand that gripping through corners is faster in general. My point to him was more along the lines that there are SOME situations where on tarmac a drift would make more sense.

Umm, there's a difference? Besides the surface, I don't see one.
Drift generally refers to all 4 tires loosing traction. I think sliding in this case would be power sliding which would only break traction to the rears.
 
Last edited:

Ottobon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2005
Messages
3,311
Location
Detriot Metro Area
Car(s)
2 Rust buckets and a confused 1999 American.
Wheres Spectre? Hell, where is anybody who has actually done some proper racing in here? "Drifting" as its known today is of course not quicker, for pretty much all reasons stated before (particularly the exit speeds are ungodly slow) BUT, and this is a very big but, people don't usually realize that the fastest drivers have always been on the limit of slipping, and that, especially with race tires, something as high as a 7 degrees of slip is actually FASTER, and dear i say about the most fun you can have in a car, even if its only for a fleating moment. On a road car this works until the tires overheat (which can happen almost immediately on a car with soft suspensions and greasy tires.) Brands like Hoosier are made with this in mind and usually continue to work better with a tad of slip so long as you don't overdo the slide angle, in which case you'll waste momentum and rubber trying to find the right line again. Infact Whenever you hear a F1 commentator refering to left foot braking and "Transferring weight to the front tires" their talking about minute slides, if you watch closely you can actually see this, as well as in any type of racing, but it takes a trained eye. The key to working a slide properly is having just the right amount of brakes and steering on at the same time, and or basically whats known as "inertial drifting" or "drynamic drifting" if your a BMI fan, just to a very slender degree. After the slide is initiated the other big difference is that you then have to set the car up to exit completely parrallel to the outside of the corner, with a lesser and lesser degree of slide up until your going straight again. This works because when you accelerate in a corner your actually adding traction to the rear tires, too much and they'll break, just enough and you'll be going warp 8. To be honest i can't say exactly why it works, but i don't care because it feels like mini orgasm.

Loose surfaces on the other hand work with a certian degree of extra wheelspin to actually create more friction, so for example if you have loose snow and a car with studded tires you can probably imagine why you'd want to spin the tires up for more grip.
 

llpc60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2006
Messages
1,018
Location
LAND OF THE FREE (AHAHAHA)
Car(s)
93-NA . Mariner Blue
trail braking / slight oversteer on exit = faster than clean lines. aka what he said ^

But they are a bitch to do, because once you start trail braking, you became a passenger (to a point) so you better have started it right. just the right amount of slide on exit is also just as hard.
 

Cubits

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2004
Messages
149
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Car(s)
Peugeot 205 GTI Mi16 + JDM supercharged MR2
Drift vs grip is a silly argument, since really fast driving is on the verge of both. To maximise the ability of all four tyres you have to push the car into a slight yaw angle (determined by the peak slip angles/ratios of the tyres). The origin of drifting (in the classic, racing sense) spawned from this, in an era when "loose" bias-ply tyres were prevalent. A four wheel drift, a real one, is merely maximising the available grip.



If you think any car "handles like it's on rails", then you aren't near the limit.

Rally cars (especially 2WD's) typically drift on tarmac to keep the nose pointed in because oversteer is a hell of a lot safer than understeer! The more confident you are with a corner, the smaller the oversteer angle can be (and hence you'll be closer to the optimum slip angle/ratio), and the more grip you will have. Having the nose run wide is certain doom at race pace. Even at the top level, the cars will be "safe" by a few percent, but the extra yaw angle will be incredibly hard to see.

If i'm not 100% on the surface quality of a corner, i'll usually tap the brake to get the nose down and the tail out, or at least be firm with initial steering and a sharp lift.

On gravel/snow you get what is called a "berming effect", where the sidewalls of the tyres build a pile of surface material on the outside edges, creating the same effect as cornering on a small camber. This is more influential to grip than the loss associated with passing the peak slip values, and so the cars will drift.

Hairpins are all about late apexing to get the best drive away, so you rotate the car early to straighten the exit. A lot of rally hairpins are too tight to take with just the steering alone since WRC cars are limited by their front driveshafts. Old Group B rally cars (which didn't have decoupling centre diffs for the handbrake) were completely ponderous around them! :p

Trail-braking is about maximising the total grip available into an apex by gradually decreasing the braking as the lateral load builds. If you're left foot braking, you can then seamlessly merge into the throttle in the same manner (a little overlap is fine to keep stability).

Does that about cover it? :)
 
Last edited:

Steve Levin

Master of Disaster
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
1,483
Location
Sunnyvale, California
Car(s)
Spec Racer Ford!
Slip angles of 3-5 degrees are about optimal on modern tires.

That's not hugely noticeable from outside the car, though.

Drifting a car through a corner might be the fastest way through a particular corner (as measured from turn in to track out), but it won't be the method used by racers...because what racers care about is being fastest from corner turn in (entry) to the entry of the NEXT corner, and that means not sliding the car a lot.

As a racer, you want to be back on full power and accelerating as soon as possible. In a sense, you want to make the upcoming straightaway the longest it can possibly be. So you want a late turn in, and a late apex, so you can gas the heck out of the car.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_(racing)

sort of gets into more detail.

Steve
 
Top