Chris Forsberg sits down with Eric Rogell from the Discovery Channel to talk “drift”. Here’s what the Seibon Carbon sponsored driver had to say about drifting and what it takes to be a good drifter.
ER: How did you get started in drifting?
CF: I first got into it around 1999 or 2000. A friend of mine showed me internet videos of cars sliding around, and I just thought it looked cool. I had seen a car sliding sideways, but I never realized that people were doing it on purpose, and could control it. It was super exciting and I wanted to learn how to do it.
ER: How did you practice? Did you just take your own car and start trying to slide around?
CF: Pretty much. When I was 17 my friend Tony Angelo and I both went and bought rear wheel drive cars specifically to drift in (Mazda RX7s), and went out on some empty roads and empty lots back in Pennsylvania and went messing around. Eventually after about 2 years, I learned how to carry a car thru a set series of corners, not just hit the gas on the way out and get wiggly with it.
ER: Did you learn this all on your own?
CF: I’m 100 percent self taught. All trial and error. And like I said, at the beginning, it took me two or three years to really know what I was doing and be able to take a car thru a set of corners.
We had no idea what we were doing. We’d try to find in-car videos online and try to duplicate what we saw the drivers doing in the car.
ER: What’s the sensation like when you’re actually drifting? Seems like there is a lot going on inside the car in the minute and thirty seconds you’re on the course.
CF: Thats one of the most exciting things about drifting. Its been quoted as being “the last lap of the best race you’ve ever seen.”
I just love the feeling of it, it’s just pure adrenaline, it’s like a roller coaster that you have control of, and it’s just an insane feeling.
ER: What’s your first thought when you come down off the line? Are you trying to focus on a specific spot?
CF: The course is all about having reference points, and it’s the drivers that are finding the same entrance point, braking point, and shifting point at that same point on the track every time, that are the consistent drivers. The ones that a just winging it are the ones that look like the car is controlling them, and they are inconsistent. It makes a huge difference in the judging.
ER: So you can actually power the car thru the corners, right? People think the car is just sliding on its own, but you are controlling it. I saw you sliding up a hill, so you can actually power the car during a slide?
CF: Drifting is all on the throttle… Lots of throttle control. There is obviously some sliding with the handbrake, but that’s usually when you’re coming into a corner with more speed than you need. For example in Atlanta, we are coming down a hill at 100 mph, but you only need about 45 mph into the first turn, so we’ll use the handbrake to slow the car while it’s sideways. Then when we get to about 45-50 mph, we’ll jump back on the throttle through the turn.
ER: What makes a good drifter?
CF: It’s a lot of seat time and practice, but at the same time you have to have that raw talent. Some guys will try and try and try, but they wont progress. With drifting there are different levels like anything else. At first you’re just trying to get the car to slide sideways, and then you’re moving into integrating the handbrake, and being able to accelerate and decelerate in drift. Then you start doing tandems, so now you have a whole new challenge because there is another car on track. So you not only having to drift the course, but adjust to another car on the track. The more the levels progress the faster you have to be with your reactions.
So there you have it. In the very own words of a champion. You can read the rest of Chris’ interview here: http://dsc.discovery.com/adventure/exclusive-formula-drift-champ-chris-forsberg-talks-adrenaline-grassroots-racing-and-sliding-a-car-sideways-at-high-speeds.html
Formula Drift Round 5 is this weekend. Be sure to keep an eye on Chris Forsberg and the Seibon Carbon sponsored Nissan 370Z!
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