Wednesday, January 3, 2018

RE-Xtreme Drift Bible - 2018 Scale Styles & Classes

RC DRIFT vs SCALE RC DRIFT. There is a HUGE difference.

SCALE RC Drift is based around the type of car you want to build and replicate, not only in the body, but also the driving dynamic.

It will dictate who you want to and don't want to drift with and the driving style you like, let's have a look at the three main "CLASSES" in style, speed and line.

1.   PRO  as illustrated by D1 / Formula D
2.   TEAM - as found in  D1SL / Drift Muscle / High Power Street
3.   CLUB - as found in  Low Power Street and really old competition

These classes DO NOT MIX and should be considered with SEPARATE track time.

Remember Taniguchi driving the Nismo S15 in 2003. Light Tune . WOW OMG! WONDERFUL...

I wonder how he feels about this car 15 years later!

How about Darren Kelly driving his R35 in 2017... The difference is VERY CLEAR!

DRIFT has changed.

In the beginning of drift, all cars were accepted and the differences judged away until the differences were so obvious that it just caused a rift. 

These days, you do not see a stockish 300hp S15 trying to drift in tandem with a 1200hp D1 machine in reality on the same track at the same time.

So It should NOT happen in RC. Why? because just like in reality, people get angry and frustrated with either mixed class. Speed difference is HUGE and Accidents happen and the cost causes friction as breakages occur from unwanted collisions.

Shouldn't my RC D1 comp car be better than a crappy AE86 Stocker. YES IT SHOULD! 

When classes are run separately, one is just as awesome as the other!
In a way, just looking at the car should tell you how fast it is... perhaps a small window sticker can confirm the CLASS. 

Let's get it together!

1.   PRO CLASS as illustrated by D1 / Formula D  

Think of new for 2018 WILD D1 machines.

Competition style has driven machines for ultimate performance
RWD machines have now evolved into absolute monsters!
Light weight tube frame chassis and wide panels
Power around 750hp ~ 1200+ hp.
Tyre using 265-295 Sport-Radial depending on vehicle weight.
Driving lines are super aggressive, Massive wheelspin but still able to generate pace.

Recently these cars are very very fast and utilise suspension tuned for grip and acceleration (much like a drag car)
Drift must be induced only when the grip can be overcome by massive power and/or aggressive initiation. 

Combine this with steering of 75 degrees for control and spin avoidance
In a way even this above JZX image doesn't match these days as RIDE height is now much higher and the look very different. Front tyres regularly protrude past the front fenders as extreme wide front track promotes stability 

This is the imagery of MASSIVE tyre-schredding machines.

Turbo 3L Sixes,  Twin Turbo V8s, Twin Turbo Quad Rotor Rotaries and huge Supercharged V8 race engines, are found in the PRO class.

A set of tyres gets around 3 runs depending on the track length.

USE THESE cars occasionally at EVENTS and dedicated practice days.

 2.   TEAM - as found in  D1SL / Drift Muscle / High Power Street

Whether you like it or not, the levels have increased. Think of 2018 Meihan D-MAX machines or those from the Drift Muscle series for the Privateer competition class.

Twin Drift or Mid Level Drift style machines for Style Performance
Full chassis define this style but even then, the full cage and wheel wells may be modified.
Power : around 400hp ~ 650 hp.
Tyre :  Street Radial Like RE-01 / Neova / Direzza

Recently these cars are very capable of competing with the older D1 cars that are no longer anywhere near competetive in the new age of custom D1 builds.

The suspension of these machines is medium grip and drift is a balance of slide and acceleration.

Main users do not want only one run. They want to run for a few runs at least if not a session, so the emphasis is on team enjoyment and proximity.

Steering may not be full wise-fab setup, but custom knuckles are a must as drivers want capable and reliable machines. Silvias and Chasers are still the mainstay here.

EXPECT YOUR CAR to be used often to set a team style.
USE THESE cars for matched aggressive drift!

 3.   CLUB as found in  Low Power Street

By low power, what do we mean? Well, an AE86 is low power and albeit light weight, does not perform the same way as a 1000hp Mustang. NOT IN ANY WAY!

Likewise an old street tuned 180sx with around 300hp will not be a competitive machine in a modern competition.  

So these machines fall into the CLUB class 

Having driven cars in all power ranges, I understand that this 210hp AE86 is quick, but it's obviously NOT FAST when you compare it to a 1000hp GT-R or 850HP Supra!

You need to start to swap motors and turbo/supercharge if you want to move up a class. Motors in these cars are typically boost up or rebuilt stock displacement with slightly bigger turbo.

These cars can run lap after lap after lap after lap and session after session.

So RC can do scale. Imagery is there.

Drivers should be in EVERY car.

but dynamics change...

So lets look at a few machines. You choose the class you like.

PRO Class!

1000hp... Squat and Go!  Buggy style weight shift is now a major part of drift ensuring the grip is where you need it.

Driving style and Speeds to the first corner are very high.  Longer courses suit these machines. The abiity to drift at speed is the modern D1 car's forte.

These two are borderline PRO / TEAM class

Big Power and Engine Swaps might just keep these two competitive. It's probably the crossover point for the TEAM class as these cars are aging from 2012. So perhaps this is when D1 and Formula D started to go mental.

Notice that the ride height of these machines dictates that emphasis is not really on aero. 

TEAM class. Sexy Nights FC with around 500hp falls right in the meat of TEAM class.

Full chassis drift car with custom components fit the bill.

Add this to the D-MAX D1Sl cars like the recent Super G cup at Meihan C course. and you have a philosophy. these guys like to run together.
Twin Drift, Triple Drift.


800+HP 2JZ is gonna make the cut.


BIG HP ROTARY TURBO is gonna make the cut. Mike likes his style, and this lower & older machine may not be his no1 car, but regional competition will keep it on the money.


You might want to argue... but.. In 2002, this was about as hardcore as drift got. 250hp boost up silvia with only 225 wide Neovas.  This is a slow CLUB car and those Neovas probably last all day. Angle was about 30 degrees max. Stock steering knuckles mean angle was not yet a priority.

Now you have seen some examples. Let's build a RC Chassis and Body for that class.

How do we replicate that in SCALE.


The MOST, MOSTER, MOSTEST, MOST influential component in RC drift is the tyre. 

Track owners SCREAM about control tyres. Because they want everyone to be the same, but why?

Managing people is hard work. Very Very hard work. Individuals want to do whatever they want but many disregard any concept of reality in the RC world. Inclusion and time management at venues is a factor

Newcomers will want to go AS FAST AS POSSIBLE because that means I AM THE BEST... doesn't it?

NO!  That's racing and there are definite classes there! 1:10 TC Stock and 1:10 Modified, People love it!

If you can drift at the BIGGEST angle, at the FASTEST Pace, with tightest PROXIMITY using a machine tuned within CLASS RULES, that looks amazing and behaves realistically!

Then maybe that's a good definition of what is the best.

So back to TYRES...

Soft, Medium, Hard.
ABS, HDPE, Polycarbonate,
Profile Round, Square, Angled.

You have to find 3 tyres that allow the grip to dictate the car speed. 
I always suggest the LOWEST GRIP SURFACE because 700km/h scale speed is NOT REAL.

Low grip is the only way you can get RC cars down to a realistic road speed.

Polished Concrete or Poly-urethane painted Concrete or  P-Tile is almost the default indoor surface theses days.

Carpet running died about 12 months ago as the speed was simply too high.


You will need to try many compounds and do timing to see the differences of tyres.
Differnt tyres react to the surface texture and friction co-efficient.

What may be fast on concrete may be slow on asphalt

 Below might be a rough guide based on maker compounds

Yes we can be a little faster. to emulate lower tyre pressures and more grip simulating 1000hp
So lets choose the slightly gripper model tyre here so we can exploit gearing and power. 
  • Top Line Sports Edition α (TDT-002PEα)
  • Top Line Sniper ST-003PE
  • RC-ART Derive RT-01 H
  • Speedline CR-2
We want a normal speed and full power range emulating more slide and 500hp
  • Top Line Sports Edition TDT-002PE
  • Top Line Sniper ST-001PE
  • RC-ART Derive RT-01 SH
  • Speedline CR-1

Slow to emulate comparitive speed difference
  • Top Line Sports Edition Policarbonate TDT-002PC
  • Speedline CR-0
You will need to get creative here. But also think about how speed can be washed off by FDR and EPA limits to equalize speed.It all depends on your LOCAL TRACK SURFACE.

Round profile can reduce the contact patch and potentially provide a lower speed. 

But it's trial and error. This is a Kazama Poly carbonate tyre.

You will need three compounds for success.

I'd suggest sticking with one manufacturer. They can help your TRACK OWNER choose and enforce each class's tyres.


High RPM vs High Torque. What would this have to do with speed?

Depends .... 
If there is available GRIP, Higher RPM / Wheelspeed will be fast.
If there is no available GRIP, Higher RPM / Wheelspeed will be slower.

CONTROL WHEEL SPEED by combination of MOTOR and FDR and EPA

So on a slippery indoor surface you don't need high RPM unless you have tyre grip.
Typically, a 13.5T motor + an ESC with TURBO function can cope with most situations.

So for a TEAM class this would be the spec I'd recommend.
As you pump more grip into the mix you can increase RPM and therefore output wheel RPM (translating to potential speed) without gearing changes.

I am not going to recommend a motor for class.

What I will recommend is a motor for BODY and chassis style. 

If you like a torquey V8 that revs to 5800rpm or a 11000rpm rotary you can replicate the feeling by your motor choice in RC.

In RC we have to cover a six speed gearbox with ONE GEAR. so the Changing gear is done by a throttle% over the power band.
So with a Set Drive ratio these RPM figures can reduce from 20000 at the flywheel to 200rpm at the wheels and that's where we need to consider the effect of throttle % gearing and car speed.

9.5T ~ 7.5T
Motors in this range produce RPM up to 40000RPM + Turbo timing... WOW!
This can really crank up the rear wheel speed. If you can get this power to the ground. you are on fire.
Think free spinning motors. Instant response.

13.5T~10.5TMotors in this range produce 20000RPM up to near 30000RPM + Turbo timing... WOW!
great for most situations.

21.5T ~17.5T
These motors range from 15000RPM to 20000RPM and can grip hard if the tyre can grab.
They use the torque to pull, so tune your FDR for higher speed of necessary.  Because of the smaller power band, you will find these motors a bit lazy in response.

Motor RPM will drop by 20% with battery as the charge is depleted. KV rating x Volts

Combine this with FDR or the Final Drive ratio.

and you have the choice for FULL SPEED or FULL SCALE it's up to you.


Response or Speed,
Constant finger position or variable throttle.

Some people like to drive with near full throttle , like thrashing a slow car.
Some people like to drive with bursts of throttle, like modulating 1000hp.

Some use a constant finger position. (TOTALLY NOT RECOMMENDED)
Brake when you need to brake
Accellerate when you need to accellerate

REAL drift cars use the BRAKES! A LOT!

For recommendations to work, and if you have read this far... then think some more.

Do some calculations of what wheel speed might be. Go to the track, then come back and adjust to what you set at the track.

Throttle % is YOUR FINGER and nothing can tune better than YOUR FINGER.

You can work out what WHEEL RPM can work with your combination...

I factor in the LOAD loss as a grip factor depending on tyre.

in this way, it's not ALL a guess.

Look at these two cases, Ideally we'd love to have both or six of them.
I'll keep the rear drive diff ratio at 2.38 16 pinion / 38 crown.

So effectively this is high speed! 2.3 turns on the motor,  one turn on the wheels.
As soon as you touch that throttle, wheelspin could be in play

Lets imagine
FDR is 5.61
Spur 78T and Pinion 33T = 2.36
21.5T Motor @ 13000rpm

Wheel Speed. 10% 195 RPM  not much wheelspin at this RPM?
Wheel Speed. 50% 974 RPM
Wheel Speed. 100% 1950 RPM at full speed, can you still break traction?

FDR is 5.61
Spur 78T and Pinion 33T = 2.36
7.5T Motor @ 39200rpm

Wheel Speed. 10% 559 RPM  5X the previous selection
Wheel Speed. 50% 2793 RPM
Wheel Speed. 100% 5586 RPM !!!!!! Can you control this?

 And this is controlled response 6 turns on the motor,  one turn on the wheels.

Lets imagine
FDR is 14.25
Spur 20T and Pinion 20T = 6.00:1
21.5T Motor @ 13000rpm

Wheel Speed. 10% 77 RPM !!!! Can you break traction?
Wheel Speed. 50%  384RPM
Wheel Speed. 100% 768 RPM

FDR is 14.25
Spur 20T and Pinion 20T = 6.00:1
7.5T Motor @ 39200rpm

Wheel Speed. 10% 220 RPM !!!! Can you break traction?
Wheel Speed. 50%  1100
Wheel Speed. 100% 2200 RPM 

We actually would love to combine both.
FDR @ 14.25 is like 1st gear. 
FDR @ 5.61is like 6th gear 
And yes there is a happy medium in between.

You can make a high RPM motor produce low wheel speed or a low RPM motor produce high wheel speed. Temperature and Battery Draw can cause issues.

But no-one recommends an FDR for Drift.
It's too variable. Track owners may have found the magic number for a tyre... Leave it up to them a little.
Manufacturers recommend for touring car rubber and foam tyre because there is no wheelspin and speed measurements are accurate by tyre diameter.

Where do you want wheelspin?
Can you generate wheelspin / angle when the car is at full speed already or is your only choice handbrake/clutch?
Do you rely on steering to initiate drift or power. brake or clutch kick.
Do you only use HANDBRAKE to start the drift?
You can set your car like this. 

You need to learn these techniques too for scale driving. 

So  Remember this discussion is about SCALE.

1. Select your CAR CLASS  from PRO 1000hp Chaser to CLUB 200hp AE86 and detail the body.
2. Select the CLASS TYRE to match your class.
3. Choose a  SCALE motor and gear ratio to reflect the way the real car would behave at YOUR TRACK.

4. Fine tune the gear ratio / epa to the circuit layout
5. Tune your suspension to the circuit.

2018... With Scale, There is separation

Lets get it started. Who knows you may even need a special track for comp... 

More rants here...


  1. Great Article Russel, keep up the good work

  2. What an excellent read. I don't suppose we could have access to the spreadsheet somehow?

  3. 3 classes just adds to more confusion and gets peoples knickers in a bunch. 2 classes,PRO & STREET. PRO-unlimited boost, motor,chassis. STREET- 17.5 n/a(no boost ie blinky). The scale thing can be D1/FD style liveries for PRO and street car style for STREET. Then tire choice is always surface specific but grippier tire for PRO and harder tire for STREET. Keep It Simple Stupid KISS ;-)

  4. The blog is clear demonstration of the fact that, you can’t compromise with the quality.


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