Driting for a lot of us is very difficult. I know for myself, despite being an ex-successful road racer and being involved in Pro Drifting and having a lot of famous drifter friends, I have never been able to drift except through one turn at a shallow angle when on the track. I am so lame at drifting I could not even do a doughnut properly.
My daughter Christa has grown up on the track and is probably the oldest of the Formula Drift Kids. She has grown up around Formula Drift and has traveled the country on the circuit with me for many years with Team Falken. Christa has been racing karts since she was little and currently drives a 125cc TAG kart. Last year Christa got her drivers license and is about the only millennial that can drive a manual transmission. She is probably the only one in her entire high school that can!
So I was super pleased that my good friends Taka Aono and Yoshie Shuyama of Drift School USA offered to teach Christa how to drift. I was hoping that learning how to drift would help improve Christa’s car control which would help her safety on the street as well as serve her well later as she wants to do track days and road racing.
Christa arrived bright and early on a Saturday to do Drift School USA’s recommended for beginners 2-day course. Taka and Yoshie feel that a two-day course is best so a person can learn the basics, digest it overnight, then come back for more practice and instruction. This way bad habits can be caught and corrected more effectively.
Drift School USA has an impressive portable classroom that is air-conditioned and very comfortable. On a day like this weekend at Willow Springs, this proved to be very important as it was well over 100 degrees outside! Tough for a small girl like Christa who doesn’t have much body fat to store water!
Christa’s day started off in the classroom where Taka gave her a lecture on the fundamentals of driving. Taka stressed the importance of learning how to weight transfer and how you can use it to both drift and control the car. I was pretty impressed with this as I have been to several driving schools in my past and this was never stressed yet it is very important for full car control.
After talking about driving theory and how to use weight transfer, Taka played an in-car video on how to do doughnuts. Although it might seem simple, doing controlled doughnuts is pretty difficult, at least for me! It is hard to control the size and speed of your doughnut and to stay consistently where you want to. Taka explains how to do this before Christa even got into the car.