Drift Tandem Hand Signals and Etiquette

When a driver finally steps up to tandem driving, it’s very intimidating. Learning how to lead and follow has much higher risks than regular solo runs. As a result, an introduction to the prestigious club of tandem drivers can ease the transition. Here is a few of the generally unwritten rules of tandem driving. (also see: Lone Star Drift’s Video for most of these rules in video format).

When two drivers meet up in a tandem line, the second driver generally holds up 2 fingers. This denotes a request to tandem with the two cars:


From there, the other driver will give a thumbs up or down. If it’s a thumbs up, the driver will then point at themselves then hold up a 1 or a 2. 1 meaning they lead, 2 meaning they will follow. From there, the first driver will thumbs up or down.

This interaction confirms how many drivers and who will be in what position. The drivers will then hold up the 2 fingers to tell the starting line corner worker that they are going to tandem. The run then proceeds normally.

Multi Car Tandems

When a track allows multi car tandems, things get a bit more difficult. A third driver can drive up next to the first two drivers and hold up three fingers.

Can I be third?

The drivers will then point to themselves or others and hold up fingers for which position each person will be in and confirm/change how many drivers are in the group. Again, they will communicate this to the starting line corner worker. Disagreement (EG: no, we are just gonna go two) is done with a neck side to side hand gesture:

Nah man

The corner worker will then hold up the number of drivers in that run. This conveys to the drivers how many people will be in the run and allow disagreement if necessary. This can continue for however many drivers there are.

Drift Nirvana Specific

Shenandoah bridge course and Jefferson south course have long and short courses. Asking the other driver which they prefer is done by a short or long gesture with hands to denote short or long respectively

General Etiquette

  • Unless there’s a reason, rotate who leads and follows
  • As a lead(ing) car, when spinning out or having issues, try to get out of the way (off course if necessary). Preferably on the inside of the corner
  • When spinning, if getting off course or out of the way isn’t possible, stay still so that other cars can predictably get around
  • Passing is generally frowned upon
  • The corner worker has the final say in how many drivers are in a tandem group
  • Every driver is responsible for their own car and their own damage
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