Modulation – Braking Drift


The second to last topic in the series is braking during a drift. This is specifically using the right foot as the driver is off throttle. The only useful time to use this technique is when speed needs to be scrubbed and/or the car needs to pivot quickly. This isn’t a very often used technique and will most likely be used with other techniques like hand braking or weight transfers.

 -Note – I don’t have much video of this technique as it seems very rarely used at higher levels.

How To

  • Be drifting
  • Press in clutch
  • Press the brakes with the right foot
  • Release clutch (can clutch kick additionally)
  • Modulate gas pedal

Clutching in is important as the motor shouldn’t stall and the throttle can be used to give a successive clutch kick to punctuate the loss of speed. The most notable use of this would be the final corner at Long Beach. Here’s a qualifying video of Long Beach last year:

Since this is an out of car view, some of these drivers could theoretically be left foot braking but the absence of smoke points mostly towards brakes and perhaps a hand brake.

The other use for this technique is to slow down speeds upon entry. The main entry could be very fast but some cases require a mid corner slow down. Again, this is frequently used in conjunction with a hand brake. Mike Essa shows this pretty well at Atlanta’s entry:

What’s Going On and Why

In some cases, tires will be locked. Regardless of the amount of friction the tires have (gripping or spinning), brakes will always slow the car down. This transfers weight to the front of the car and allows it to pivot quickly. That’s really it.

Key Concepts

The harder the brake is pressed, the more the car slows down. No matter the amount, braking during drifts will drastically slow the car down. Clutching in is also very useful but not mandatory.

Beginner Level Usage

Beginners should shy away from this technique if it is being used as a technique. Braking will make things happen slower and allow for the driver more time to react. This sacrifices speed and thus hurts the ability to maintain a line. It should only be used to save the car from a hit or from going off course. But at that point, it isn’t a technique, it’s just driving.

Intermediate Level Usage

Pro/Am level drivers should attempt to use this like the pros do. Only when necessary. Sometimes on high speed entries and severely decreasing radius corners. There is use during tandems to avoid hitting the person in front of you but off throttle hand braking and left foot braking are better for that.

Higher Level Usage

The pro level seem to only use this on hairpins and severely decreasing radius corners. The only two I can think of in FD are the end hair pin at Long Beach and entries like Atlanta and Irwindale where is plenty of room for run up.

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