Driving a go-kart is an exhilarating experience. You must learn how to go kart drift by applying the basic principles of car control to a smaller, lighter vehicle. This can be both challenging and fun!
First, though, you need to know how to operate a go-kart safely and how to maintain one. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself going into walls or spinning out of control rather than drifting! Let’s get started on this exciting adventure!
7 Easy to Follow Tips to Go-Kart Drifting
Before you go mad and start drifting your go-kart, there are many factors that come into play. I’m going to teach you how to drift like a pro – it’s not as challenging or difficult as you think. All you need is to understand the basics and follow these steps. And don’t forget – practice makes perfect! Good luck!
1. Always Wear the Proper Safety Gear
Wearing safety gear is important when go-karting and attempting to drift.
A few weekends ago, I was out with my friends because we wanted to have more fun than we could have at our local haunts. We tried go-karting and drifting when no one else was around.
We didn’t want to get hurt, so we wore helmets and the proper safety gear. Go-karting is a lot of fun but it’s also dangerous. You can get hurt if you don’t wear the right safety gear.
There were a couple of times when I was in a go-kart that I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t because I wore the right helmet. If you don’t wear the right helmet, you could get hurt.
Drifting is also dangerous. No matter how good of a driver you are, there’s always the possibility that you could hit something or lose control of your vehicle. That’s why it’s important to wear the right safety gear even when drifting. Drifting looks cool, but it’s actually really dangerous!
2. Drift the Right Time
Do you like go-kart drifting? Can’t get enough of it? Ever thought about doing it yourself?
Don’t. You’re not ready.
Okay, maybe you’re thinking I’m being a little dramatic, and while I’m not saying that you’ll never be ready to try go-kart drifting yourself, I will say that it is a dangerous sport, and the right conditions must be in place before you attempt it.
Let’s think about what those conditions are.
First, there needs to be adequate space. If you’re on a racetrack or in an actual go-kart course, this is obviously not a problem—but if you’re just trying to do some drifting in your own neighborhood, you’re going to need somewhere with a lot of room.
Trees are a big no-no unless they are spaced out far enough for you to weave around them without hitting them—and because we’re talking about drifting here, that’s definitely something to avoid.
Then there’s the issue of speed: ideally, your Go Kart should be going at least 30mph before drifting can really be attempted. Slow Go-Karts can still drift—it will just take longer—but a higher speed will allow you to drift easier.
3. Approach the Corner From the Outside
If you’re a go-kart drifter, you know that turning your wheel into the apex is a move that can make or break you.
We’ve been studying the art of go-kart drifting for years, and we’ve finally come up with some tips and tricks to help you master this technique. Here are three moves to try in your next drift.
1. Turn the kart wheel into the apex really quickly by pulling back on it gradually and smoothly as you approach it—it’s important not to yank on it like a dog on a leash or else you might lose control of your kart entirely.
2. Wait until the go-kart swings outward before going into the turn. The goal is to maintain control over the rear end of the kart while still hitting that corner at the perfect angle—and just like in real drifting, it’s all about the timing.
3. Lean outward a little bit with the kart as you enter the turn. To get the drift started, you have to give it a little push; otherwise, it’ll be stalling out on you, and you’ll never get around that corner.
4. Don’t Slam The Brake Pedal
If you’re looking to get into go-kart drifting, one of the biggest questions you might have is: how do I brake?
A lot of people think that when you approach a corner and slow down to drift, you should slam on your brakes.
The idea behind this method is that slamming on the brakes will help you keep your go-kart from oversteering as you turn.
Unfortunately, though, slamming on the brakes will cause you to slow down too much to drift. You’ll just end up understeering or going too slowly to make it all the way around the corner.
So what should you do? Instead of slamming on your brakes, gradually ease off your speed by pumping the brakes.
What does that mean? Pumping is when you grab a handful of brake and then release it a few times in quick succession. By doing this, you can control how quickly—or slowly—you come to a stop in a corner.
As soon as your tires start to squeal, let go of the brake completely and let yourself coast through the corner on inertia alone. You should be able to hold your drifting angle for several seconds before hitting the gas again.
5. Make Tiny Necessary Adjustments
If you’ve ever watched a professional go-kart driver drift in competition, you might have noticed that they’re doing something very different from the typical back-and-forth swerving we all do when we’re trying to avoid a crash.
Blame it on physics: A rear-drive go-kart will tend to begin rotating in the direction of its slide when it has no lateral force acting upon it. Basically, once your kart is sliding sideways and you let off the throttle, your kart will continue to slide in that direction unless you steer into the slide and apply some counterforce. It’s just like how an unbalanced bicycle wheel will start to wobble if you let go of the handlebars.
That’s why drifting is such an art form—it’s an incredibly subtle balance of steering, acceleration, and countersteering. If your front wheels are pointed in the wrong direction, you’ll keep sliding and never be able to fully correct your course.
Getting that front wheel to follow your lead takes a delicate touch. When you’re learning to drift, countering the forces of inertia and gravity can seem like an impossible task, especially if you’re just getting started with this whole drifting thing.
The art of countersteering is arguably the most difficult technique to learn when it comes to drifting. Ideally, you need to countersteer just the right amount, in order to keep your front wheels pointed in the optimal direction.
In order to do so, you need a certain degree of finesse.
6. Maintain The Speed Momentum
When you’re drifting around a corner in a go-kart, it can be tempting to just hit the gas as hard as you can
But if you do that, you’ll lose all your speed—and you’ll probably end up flying off the road and into a ditch
A better strategy is to manage your momentum and speed to prevent yourself from drifting out of the corner.
Of course, this isn’t the case if you’re going around a very long turn with no other racers around. If there’s no chance of bumping into anyone else while you drift, go ahead and slam on the gas pedal!
7. Align Back The Go-Kart
Ok, so you’ve got everything set up and are drifting. You’re ready to achieve maximum drift!
You had your fun, but now you want to align back with the straight section, which is the final stage of the drift.
The first step is to make sure your tires are at a speed that allows you to turn sharply without getting stuck in the corner. You want a reasonable amount of traction on the road.
Now, look at where you started your drift from. If you were drifting right, look towards the left; if you were drifting left, look towards the right.
Find something straight and use it as a reference point. You’ll be using this point for all your turns until you can seamlessly drift around corners without needing it anymore.
When you follow this reference point and align back with it correctly, you’ll have gone full circle and can finally finish your drift!
Fishtailing occurs when the back tires spin wildly and are unable to grip the surface of the track. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as lack of traction or high speeds, and can easily be avoided with proper steering techniques.
This how-to guide was born from a passion for go-kart drifting and the desire to share our knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. We hope that you have found this information useful in your quest to learn how to drift in a go-kart!
If you are interested, we also offer how-to guides on other aspects of driving such as how to drive at night or how racing lines can improve your performance. Let us know if there is any way we could be of assistance!