For electric RC enthusiasts, drifting is the most exciting new sport to test your driving skills. Long-time enthusiasts know that you can buy a specialized car ready to run (RTR) straight out of the box, acquire a kit and build it to spec or build an entirely custom model using all the parts you like the most. For those just starting out, going for the RTR is the smartest move.
Why choose the RTR?
First of all, you can enjoy the car immediately. No need to lay out a confusing array of parts and hope you can understand the directions for assembly. Second, as you learn the fine art of driving sideways, you’ll start to get a feel for weight, torque, speed, lag times, and overall responsiveness of your car. From there, you can begin to discern what improvements you could make to juice up the action. Once you gain a little confidence in electric RC cars in general, you can begin to learn how to operate on your car with customized parts — and there’s a LOT of parts you can change out.
Why choose electric over a nitro RC car?
Nitro cars are internal combustion, running on a special blend of nitromethane, methanol, and oil. These are great for the visceral sense of racing a real car only in miniature. You get the satisfying motor sound and more weight. Plus, they tend to run longer before refueling. However, you really don’t want to fire these guys up indoors since the exhaust is, well, exhaust. It smells bad and isn’t at all good to breathe. They’re a bit more costly than electric, and because the engines actually burn fuel, they are inherently more complex. That means they need more maintenance. Also, you have to keep buying the fuel.
With electric RC cars, you can use them inside anytime, which is especially helpful on days of bad weather. They’re not as mechanically delicate, and you simply recharge them over and over again. Plus, electric accelerates faster than nitro cars, and who doesn’t like that?
Are there different types of electric drift cars?
The electric RC hobby has been around for a long time. Like any technology, manufacturers develop many types so just about any preference can be accommodated. Let’s look at some of the many options to consider.
- Brushed motors: This refers to the electronic speed controller (ESC) that allows speed moderation. Brushed motors are less efficient, slower and have relatively short life spans, partly because they are not completely sealed which allows track debris potentially to penetrate and wreak havoc. However, they also cost less, so it’s a tradeoff depending on your budget.
- Brushless: As you’ve already guessed, brushless ESC motors are faster, more efficient and more powerful. They also last longer, are completely sealed and, of course, cost more. If your funds allow, these might be the way to go.
- Sizes: These drift cars come in many scale sizes. The standard size for competition is 1/10 the size of a real car. Other available scales are 1/5, 1/8, 1/12 and 1/18. Whether RC cars are accurately scaled by size is debatable, plus each manufacturer seems to have its own ideas of scale. So, these ratios should be considered guidelines only.
- Powered wheels: Some RTR drifters come in 2-wheel drive, others in 4-wheel or all-wheel (2WD, 4WD, AWD). Which is best? Truly, it’s a matter of preference and probably how you first developed your drifting technique. Some find it easier to control the car if they’re only dealing with speed and braking to the rear tires. But for others, having that pull from the front tires enables them to get more dramatic drifts without sacrificing speed. Front wheel power also help prevent doughnut spins. You’d just have to try both to see what works best for you. It’s important, though, to have a rear differential that powers both rear wheels with the same speed and torque. If the car is sold as a RTR drifter, it should already be configured for this. If not, you may have to modify the rear axle to make both tires spin together all the time.
- Shaft drive or belt drive: Belt drives have a couple of advantages. One, they start out smoother and apply even power to the wheels. Because they are aligned with the direction of the wheels, you don’t lose any power to the linkage because the belt and tires are rotating in the same direction. The downsides are that belts can sustain damage from debris. Also, they can slip and tend to stretch just a little at the start which creates a bit of lag time. Shaft drives, on the other hand, are enclosed and impervious to dirt and debris. They also deliver power with no delay. Yet, because their rotation is perpendicular to the axle, the power energy to turn the tires must pass through extra gears to make the axle turn, so you lose a small amount there. In reality, the performance of either is quite close, so either drive is, again, a matter of preference.
What do all drifters have in common?
The one thing they all have in common is slick tires. Since you have to balance acceleration, braking and turning all at once, you don’t want a lot of grippy traction going into the slides, just like you wouldn’t in a real car. Too much traction and you roll the car.
The other thing they have in common is that they are made to look like real cars. Some models are even licensed to duplicate an exact model of a real car, such as the Lamborghini Aventador or the Audi R8 LMS. If having a scale model of a real car is your bag, you have a lot of models to choose from.
Which brand is best?
Well, that’s a good question. Just about everywhere you look, you’re likely to find a different brand for sale. As for the best, that’s difficult to quantify due to the combinations of personal preferences in parts, styles, controllers, battery packs and driving techniques, just to mention a few variables. What one drifter calls the best, another might brush off as inferior. But here’s a partial list of those brands that make a large variety of models. If you can’t find one that quickens your pulse with these brands, you might take up kite flying rather than RC drifting.
What else is there to consider before buying an electric RTR drift car?
Batteries: You should consider the battery pack. LiPo (lithium polymer or lithium ion) batteries deliver a lot of performance for a long time. They cost more, of course, and you do have to be very careful of where they come from as they have a tendency to explode if you don’t charge them properly. You can take the chance or stick with the lower-cost, lower performing NiMH (nickel metal hydride) battery packs. At least you can sleep at night when your car is on the charger. But, hey, you’re looking into the exciting hobby of RC drifting, so you’re no shrinking violet. You may want to spring for the LiPo batteries regardless of their potential issues.
On road or off: If you’ve seen real cars in a four-wheel drift on a dirt track or road, then you know it’s that massive plume of dust and dirt they’re shredding that gives you the shivers. Should we even bother mentioning the downsides of off road racing or the benefits of on road? Oh, all right. Off road is slower and you’re definitely going to be throwing component-killing debris into your car’s moving parts. You’ll have to be prepared to shell out for replacements way more frequently. You won’t have too much trouble with debris off road which also allows you to juice the car to higher speeds on the straighaways. There you have it. As always, it’s a trade off depending on goals and disposable income.
No doubt, a lot of elements need to be considered when choosing the right electric RC drift car as you embark on this exciting hobby. Motor types, drive trains, how many powered axles, batteries, intended use and whether it should even be electric can become distracting after a while. We hope this information helps you get an idea of what to look for. Once you get the hang of sideways driving, you’ll probably feel the need to start customizing. But until then, you’ll probably be glad you started with a ready to run model. Happy driving!
Drifting is one of the most popular hobbies associated with remote-controlled cars. To perform this feat, specialized toy cars are used; they have low-traction tires along with modified motors, shocks, and weight-balance systems. Under usual circumstances, four-wheel-drive remote-controlled cars are used, but in some cases, people like to use gas-powered and rear-wheel-drive models. As a hobby, serious remote car drifting follows its own set of rules from country to country in competitions, but international professional drifting organizations have their own guidelines regarding judging a tournament under their sponsorship. The origin of these cars can be traced back to Japan, but now they have millions of fans all over the world. If you have just ventured into this hobby and are looking out for RC drift cars for sale, then here are some top-ranking models currently available on the market.
This product comes in an updated version that comprises many new features. HPI, the manufacturer of the Racing 106149 Sprint 2 Drift, has added a new 2.4 GHz radio system along with a new paint job, waterproof electronics, and LiPo-capable electronic speed controls. It comes in a ready-to-use package and you are not required to assemble any parts, allowing you to start drifting the moment you open the box. The Racing 106149 Sprint 2 Drift is currently available for about $262.
- 4 GHz radio system makes controlling this car very easy
- No changing of crystals required due to automatic frequency conflict prevention
- TF-40 pistol grip transmitter comes with steering control, throttle control, servo reversing switches, battery indicator, and third channel for other accessories
- Waterproof receiver box is great for outdoor use
- SF-10W waterproof steering servo and waterproof SC-15WP speed control help you move the car with accuracy in wet conditions
- 2 v battery pack with AC wall charger is convenient
- This product requires a 5000Mah battery to run it for a longer period of time
Conclusion: This product is quite appropriate for the person who has some previous experience in RC car drifting. The belt system of this model is quite durable, and due to waterproof components used, it can be easily cleaned. Check this out if you’re already a little familiar with these cars; it’s not the best model for an absolute beginner.
This remote-controlled toy car comes with full-function radio controls for very fast speeds. The 1:10 Drift GT Elite Speed Electric RTR is a rear-wheel-drive drift car, so it has the ability to cut corners at a very high speed, thus creating perfect drifting. This model comes ready-to-use and you can start drifting in no time. The 1:10 Drift GT Elite Speed Electric RTR is currently available at a price of $39.95.
- Electric-powered driving system
- Radio control for all functions
- Removable upper body
- Runs at speed of 20+ miles per hour
- Special drift tires
- Rear wheel drive for easy and smooth drifting
- 9V Transmitter
- Some of the users who reviewed the 1:10 Drift GT Elite Speed Electric RTR have some issues with lack of brake and reverse functions in the model
Conclusion: This model is quite good for the person who has just ventured into this hobby. If you’re a beginner, you can use the 1:10 Drift GT Elite Speed Electric RTR to learn how to control your driving and create drift.
This remote-controlled car is designed to drift, so it is quite a good buy if the sole motive of your purchase is to have a car that can easily accomplish this feat. This car is not designed for the hardcore drifting enthusiasts, but it has the ability to provide fun-filled moments at a very modest price. The Camaro SS Electric RC Drift Car 1:10 Graffiti is currently available at a price of $49.98.
- High-speed racing motor that can attain speed of 18 km/h
- Lightweight removable upper shell
- True four-wheel shaft drive syste.
- LED lights at the back of each tire to illuminate the ground at night
- Comes with an extra set of tires
- Pistol-grip remote control with range of 50 meters
- Some of the buyers of this product have some issues with the battery life
Conclusion: To have the perfect drifting, you should try this car on a smooth surface, as the suspension of this car is not very flexible. Though it is not a top-notch drifting car, it accomplishes the job it is designed for and has a good price for a beginner.
This is the easiest-to-drift model of remote-controlled cars and comes as a perfect replica of Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s Monster Energy Nitto Tire 2013 Ford Mustang RTR. It comes in ready-to-run condition. This toy car is designed for realistic looks and runs on an electric motor. All that is required is to charge the batteries and this monster car is ready to run. This drift car is currently available at a price of $219.99.
- Bathtub type 0.078 battery holder
- Pre-installed 2.4 GHz crystal-free radio
- Specially designed drift tires
- Enclosed drivetrain to keep dust out of the gears
- Large foam bumpers to protect from crash damage
- Strategically engineered chassis and suspension for speed and good handling
- SC-15WP speed control with throttle, brakes, and reverse
- Removable upper body
- Saturn 27T 540 motor
- Has a low body chassis, which makes it bottom out on the seams on rough surfaces
Conclusion: This car is designed for hardcore drifters. The high-quality HPI 2.4 GHz radio system provides automatic frequency-conflict prevention, which allows this model to drift in large groups without any trouble. It’s an ideal model if you have a little more experience with these cars, but you can still learn on it if you’re just getting started.
This car comes as a four-wheel-drive setup that runs on an electric brushed motor and has forward and reverse transmissions. The Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Electric Drift Car comes fitted with drift RC racing tires, which allow for driving forward or sideways with ease. This car comes in a ready-to-run kit that also includes a rechargeable battery pack along with the charger. It’s also available in three color variants. The orange/black model of this car is currently available at a price of $129.99.
- Electric Brushed 27 T 540 motor
- Forward and reverse transmission for easy maneuvering
- Aluminum body oil-filled shock absorbers
- Brushed ESC speed control
- Polycarbonate body for durability and flexibility
- 22mph speed
- Some of the users of this product found that the body shell is kind of brittle and develops cracks if the car collides at medium or high speeds
Conclusion: This product comes with an upgrade option and you can chose from the catalog aluminum substitutes for the plastic body parts. This is great if you want to modify your existing model. This model is quite good for people learning how to drift, although it’s a bit expensive for a beginner model.
When it comes to these drift cars, you really do get what you pay for. For the hardcore drifters, the HPI Racing 106149 Sprint 2 Drift 2010 Camaro RTR 2.4GHz is the number-one choice, as it comes with waterproof components that allow trouble-free operations even in inclement conditions. The HPI Racing 111664 E10 2013 Mustang Drift Monster Energy RC Car comes in as the number-two choice due to a lack of waterproof components, which give the edge to the first-place winner. If you’re looking for a model that resembles and somewhat operates like the two top-notch models in the first and second places, then you can opt for the Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Electric Drift Car; it comes at a very nominal price and provides you with plenty of customization options, but it’s a little less durable.