Drifting on the Cheap: PVC Drift!
Drifting can be very expensive: first a manual transmission rear wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle must be purchased. From there a limited slip differential (LSD) is fitted so that both rear tires spin and stability control must be disabled or turned off. Finally, tires, tires, tires, tires, tires. One session of drifting on the track can burn through multiple sets of rear tires and even those using cheap tires can easily end up with a bill of a couple hundred dollars.
Costs of drifting can be even higher in Japan where bi-annual inspections and vehicle taxes even on compact cars are very expensive. Enter the front wheel drive (FWD) kei class car. These mini cars come with 660CC engines and can be bought for a couple hundred dollars. They are also cheap to insure and inspection cost and taxes are lower. In order to drift these underpowered FWD cars, Japanese drifters began fitting the rear tires with sections of PVC drift pipe. The PVC drift pipe, which is just a piece of cut sewage or aquarium PVC pipe, is placed over a deflated tire. Once in place, the tire is inflated to keep the PVC pipe in place. Hardcore PVC drifters will use studless winter tires in order to maximize the grip of the tire to the pipe, however it is not required and most drifters just use the tires that come with their used car.
The PVC rings themselves are about 5000 Yen ($50US) for a set of two if bought pre-cut, but are even cheaper if a long section of tube is purchased and cut by the drifter.
In order to increase the lifespan of the PVC pipe, care is taken not to drag the rear tires to prevent flat spots on the PVC. Also the use of the handbrake to initiate the drift is not used. Rather, the drift is initiated by counter steering. In order to increase the lifespan of the PVC pipe and to prevent splitting due to increased tire pressure from drifting, water sprayers are installed to reduce traction and heat.
Drift teams are using Kei PVC Drift cars as a super cheap way to hone proper drifting techniques and to practice close tandem drifting without banging up their expensive cars.
Teams are organizing sessions for their members at their local tracks exclusively for these cars so that they are not driving with larger more powerful vehicles. In stark contrast with RWD drift sessions, sessions for the kei PVC drift vehicles are super quiet due to the economic 660 engines, and lack of squealing tires makes for an almost silent drifting experience.
At the end of the day, for the racers with only one set of wheels and tires, the rings are removed from the tire and the cars are then driven home.
Japan Car Direct can source your dream drift car or your kei drift car from dealer auctions and used car dealers all over Japan and ship the vehicle to your country for a very reasonable price! Please contact us today if you are looking to import a JDM vehicle!