- The origins of drifting can be traced to the winding mountain roads of Japan in the 1960s. A street racing group called the Rolling Zoku would race up and down these roads trying to set the fastest times possible. The laps grew faster over time and the racers began to find that even if they lost grip in their tires, their cars were still controllable. The 1977 All Japan Touring Car Championship would be the first professional display of the drifting technique. Drifting would continue to grow in popularity throughout Japan, and decades later would cross the international barrier.
- The main principle behind drifting is controlled oversteer. This condition is easily achieved in rear-wheel drive vehicles, making them the car of choice for drifters. All-wheel drive vehicles are also capable of this, but can prove to be a bit more difficult; most all-wheel drive vehicles used are changed over to rear-wheel drive. It is somewhat rare to find front-wheel drive drift cars (oversteer is not a common trait of front-wheel drive), but some drifters have chosen to use these vehicles as their drift cars.
- Nissan Silvia S15
Nissan (originally Datsun) is a leading manufacturer of cars used for drifting. When drifting first began, drivers often drove the Datsun 510--a rigid rear-wheel drive coupe. In recent history, the Sylvia series (180-240sx in America or S13-S15 internationally) has become the most popular Nissan drift cars. This is mainly because of the low cost of purchase, maintenance, and aftermarket parts. The Nissan Skyline, though all-wheel drive, has grown in popularity, despite its high cost. These cars are normally converted to a rear-wheel drive configuration.
- Toyota AE86
AE86 refers to a generation of the Toyota Corolla Levin and the Toyota Sprinter Trueno. These have been in a category with the most popular drift cars in the sport. Before drifting became as popular as it is today, these cars were easy to come by and relatively cheap; today, these are some of the most sought after cars in their class. Despite its expensive cost, the Toyota supra is a mildly popular vehicle in drifting. This car falls into the same, larger engine class as the Nissan Skyline.
American Domestic Market
- With the growing popularity of drifting in the United States, American Drifters have been looking to Domestic cars for use in the sport. These drivers use any rear-wheel drive car available; among the most popular, are the Ford Mustang, Cadillac CTS, and the Dodge Viper.
- Drifters have turned to all car manufacturers for their drifting needs, using vehicles from nearly every market. The cars listed above are only the cars most commonly used in the sport, but it is not so rare to see European cars like BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, and Ford Sierra (Ford Europe) at a Drifting event. Also used are other Japanese Manufacturers like Subaru and Lexus.
- Drifting can be an extremely dangerous sport when not practiced on a closed course under the training and supervision of professionals. It is not recommended to try your hand at drifting at the nearest mountain road.