Drifting is one of the more specialist areas of RC cars, and if you don’t know much about it, then it can be a little confusing. But, it doesn’t have to be.
If you’re considering getting into RC cars but you don’t know where to start, then drifting is one of the most fun (in my opinion) aspects of remote controlled cars. With a drift car, you still get the option of driving it as a normal car, but normally you’re just not going to get the performance as with a touring car. But, you can still have fun with it, both driving regularly and drifting.
Without previous knowledge of RC cars, drifters can be a little bit daunting. This is mainly because most people that buy drift cars usually want to modify and upgrade them, which is where RC cars can get a bit confusing. Here, we’ll look through some of the best RC drift cars available right now.
Best RC Drift Cars
Redcat Racing Lightning
Top Speed – 30+mph
- Features aluminum Capped oil filled shocks and adjustable independent suspension
- 2.4GHz radio system provides reliable control for weaving in and out of lap traffic
- Waterproof with 4 wheel Drive
For drifting, the Racing Lightning is one of the best examples of a drift car. Depending on who you ask, you’re generally going to get a minimum of 30mph as a maximum speed, but when I’ve spoken to one of my friends who owns one of these bad boys they say that it can get up to 40mph at a push. It has a powerful engine for a small RC car, which competes with RC cars of a much higher price.
As with any car you’re going to use for drifting, you are going to run through tires relatively quick with this one, so it might be worth picking up some spares. For it’s price, this is going to be one of the best options if you’re looking for a decent drift car. It’s easy to control, even for beginners.
Jada Nissan Skyline
Top Speed – 10mph
- High performance drifting action
- Turbo button
- Pistol grip controller
Not everyone is going to want to spend hundreds of dollars on an RC car, and if that’s you, then maybe you should opt for something like this Jada Skyline. It’s based on the real Skyline that Paul Walker drove in The Fast and Furious franchise, and to be fair, they’ve done the Skyline model justice.
Whilst this model doesn’t match the higher end drift cars in any way, if you’re looking for something on a budget or as a gift for kids, this would make a decent choice. It uses a decent enough pistol grip controller and it’s easy to charge via USB, which is one of the benefits of this model. It also includes an extra set of tires which is great for a drift car, as you’re likely going to need them at some point.
Redcar Racing EPX Drift Car
Top Speed – 25mph
- 19T RC550 brushed motor with 40A brushed waterproof ESC
- Shaft driven 4WD helps maintain control while drifting and the lightweight plastic chassis makes recovery easy
- 7.2V 2000mAh NiMH and charger included
Whilst Traxxas generally make the fastest RC cars, the majority of drift cars tend to come from their closest competitors, Redcar. They make some of the best drift cars going, and the EPX is an example of that.
For the relatively low price (considering it’s power), the EPX makes a great first car if you’re looking to get into drifting. Why? Well, because you’ll get a ton if customization options with it. And no matter what you think – initially, you might think you’ll be happy with it straight out of the box forever – generally later down the line you’re going to want to upgrade. The EPX is easy to get different aluminium upgrades for, which make it a lot better than the original plastic that comes with it stock.
This is a good option for complete beginners, primarily because of the pretty low price. This makes it a really good choice, as a car with these specs would probably cost you double if you bought in in store.
Top Speed – 25-30 mph
- Four wheel drive system
- Excellent front/rear camber and toe-in setup
- Powerful RC 540 motor
The Driftstar might be the perfect entry level drifting car, due to it’s low price and easy to use four wheel drive system.
For a drift car, it’s surprisingly resilient and durable, which isn’t the norm for drift cars, as usually they tend to be quite fragile. This doesn’t mean that you can go bumping into anything and everything, but light knocks should have too much of an effect on it. It’s also better on other terrains than most drift cars, mainly because the chassis is slightly further off the floor. If you want an RC car that drives well and looks cool, this might make a good choice.
Kyosho Mazda RX-7
- Fully factory assembled - only AAA-batteries are required
- Fully-detailed, factory licensed body for excellent realism.
- Fully proportional radio controls deliver a true driving experience.
The Mazda RX-7 is an awesome replica of the real thing, made by Kyosho, who are one of the biggest brands in RC cars. They’re based in Japan (as you might expect), and with 50 years in the business they’ve earned a lot of prestige, especially in making replicas of real cars.
Although this isn’t the cheapest drift car, it’s ideal for beginners and those completely new to drifting. It’s extremely simple to control, and it comes with a cool designed pistol grip remote control. These models tend to sell out pretty quickly, so make sure you check the prices out online to ensure that you’re not purchasing at a premium from a reseller.
HPI Racing Subaru BRZ
Top Speed – 15mph
- FEATURES: Chassis: Drive: Fully enclosed four wheel shaft Radio: HPI 2.4GHz Motor: HPI 15T Firebolt Electronic Speed Control: Waterproof SC-3SWP2 Diff
- INCLUDES: HPI RS4 Sport 3 On-Road Car with Subaru BRZ Body, Radio, ESC, Motor and Instructions
- INCLUDES: HPI RS4 Sport 3 On-Road Car with Subaru BRZ Body, Radio, ESC, Motor and Instructions
Another example of an RC replica is the Subaru BRZ, which is made by HPI racing. HPI have an established name, especially in the UK, although the brand itself are from the United States (HPI stands for Hobby Products International).
Like you might expect, this would make the perfect gift for any Subie addict or admirer. It isn’t particularly fast, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be for a drift car. It’s more than fast enough to get up to some good speeds for drifting. One of the main problems with this model is that although it’s a drift car, it has no camber/toe adjustments. This will be a major flaw for a lot of RC drifters, as most want to adjust the camber positively or negatively. But still, it makes a good gift for any Subaru lover.
Top Speed – 35mph
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Drift cars work best with a low center of gravity and having the chassis as close to the ground as possible. And whilst this makes it horrific for other types of terrain, on flat surfaces the Maddrift is awesome.
It can do almost 40mph stock, and like any good drift car, you get tons of opportunity to mod it to your own specifications. It’s great out of the box if you’re going to take it to a race course, but it’s not ideal for the street. So, you might want to pick up some rubber tires with it that would make it more suitable for the street, as the stock tires are ideal for racing but not other surfaces. But overall, this is a high performing drift car.
Why get a Drift car?
- You’ll want to upgrade and modify your car at some point – Of the different cars, drifters are the most fun. You can modify everything from the tyres to the suspension to even the numberplate. If you’re the type of person that’s going to want to upgrade your car a lot, then a drift car might be for you.
- It’s more fun – Sure, there’s a certain satisfaction if you beat someone in an RC race, or if you manage to blast through all sorts of horrific terrain in a big off road RC car. But is there anything sweeter than pulling off the perfect RC drift?
- You know you want a drift car – One of the most common phrases amongst RC drifters is that you can make any touring car into a drifter, but you can’t make a drifter into a racing car. So if you’re going to opt for a drift car, you need to be sure it’s what you want.
Things to Consider before purchasing
Before you purchase a RC car for drifting, there are definitely some things you’ll want to take into account beforehand. By considering these different factors, you’ll ensure that you get the right RC car for you.
- Price – One of the main things you’ll have to take into account with any RC car is the price. But, this is especially important when considering drift cars. Why? Well, the likelihood is that in the long run they are going to cost you a little extra. If you’re full on drifting, then you’re going to burn through tires like nobodies business, so it could be worth picking up some extra sets as well.
- Speed – For a drift car, speed isn’t as important as with a racing car. However, it’s still undoubtedly something you’ll want to consider, because you do need to be going fast enough to drift. So, ensuring you get at least decent speed is also something you’ll need to think about.
- Fundamental differences – It’s important to recognise the fundamental differences between drift cars and touring cars. The main differences generally come with the tyres of course, which are made to suit drifting. There are also some differences with suspension, battery placement and motor placement too, so these are all things worth thinking about.
Overall, a drift car can be a good decision if you’re looking for something a little more exciting than regular racing. Drift cars can be expensive, but they’re undoubtedly worth their investment over the long term. They’re not a cheap hobby by any means, but there’s a reason why RC drifting is so popular nowadays.
Getting a decent drift car is relatively straightforward, as long as you’re willing to make the investment and spend time learning what brands are best. They don’t necessarily need modding out of the box, but of all the different types of RC, drift cars are usually the most fun to modify. Adding new tyres on a drift car is a necessity, and there’s also a variety of other cool stuff that you can do to your car too. So, it’s undoubtedly worth thinking about some of these models if you want an RC for drifting.
Last update on 2021-08-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API