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Guide to Drifting Tires and Wheels

By Tire Agent Staff

July 14, 2023


NOTE: Tire Agent does not condone reckless driving on public roads. The following article focuses on tires intended for vehicles used exclusively on racetracks under the supervision of skilled and trained individuals.

If you're a gearhead, you probably already know what drifting is. But those just getting into auto racing might not be familiar with the technique. In this article, we explain what drifting is, then we drift into shopping for tires and wheels.

Drifting is an exhilarating motorsport discipline that has gained immense popularity. It is a unique driving technique that involves intentionally oversteering a car while maintaining control through a corner. Often referred to as the "art of controlled chaos," drifting requires precision, skill and an intimate understanding of the vehicle's dynamics.

Drifting is about maintaining a controlled slide through a corner, with the car's wheels losing traction and the rear end sliding out. Skilled drifters manipulate the throttle, steering and brakes to maintain the perfect balance between power and control. It is a delicate dance of car control that demands finesse and quick reflexes.


Tires Designed for Drifting

When it comes to drifting, the type of tires used plays a critical role in overall performance. Drift-specific tires are designed to provide the ideal balance of grip and slip. These tires feature a unique rubber compound that promotes controlled slippage, allowing the driver to maintain a sideways slide without losing control. They also have a distinct tread pattern that helps channel water and debris away, ensuring maximum surface contact.

One significant difference between drift and regular tires is their construction and composition. Drift tires are typically made from a softer rubber compound, which offers enhanced traction and grip during extreme driving maneuvers. On the other hand, regular tires are designed to balance grip, longevity, and fuel efficiency for everyday driving conditions.

What is Delamination?

Delamination is a term commonly associated with drifting tires. It refers to the process where layers of the tire start to separate, leading to a loss of performance and potentially compromising safety. Delamination often occurs due to the intense heat generated during prolonged drifting sessions, causing the adhesive layers within the tire to weaken and separate.

To combat delamination, tire manufacturers have developed drifting tires specifically designed not to delaminate. These tires employ advanced construction techniques and materials that enhance the durability and longevity of the tire, even under extreme conditions. They are engineered to withstand the heat generated during drifting, ensuring consistent performance throughout the session.

Who Makes Tires for Drifting?

Several well-known tire brands cater to the drifting community, offering high-quality drifting tires. One prominent brand is Falken Tire, renowned for its range of drift-specific tires that offer exceptional grip and longevity.

Another notable brand is Nitto Tire, which offers various drifting tire options that provide excellent traction and control. Toyo Tires is also a popular choice among drifters, offering a wide selection of tires designed to withstand the demands of drifting while delivering optimal performance.

Tires for Drifting

Bridgestone Potenza RE050A: Unleash your vehicle's power with Potenza RE050A tires designed for a stylish and dynamic appearance. Although not branded as drift tires, they are crafted for high-performance sports cars, coupes and sedans. These tires provide exceptional cornering abilities on dry and wet roads, ensuring an exhilarating driving experience. undefined
Falken Azenis RT615K+: These tires are designed for performance enthusiasts. Evolved from the championship-winning RT615K, this tire features a cutting-edge nanotech compound enhancement for exceptional grip and precise handling. This model instills confidence with its superb straight-line stability and cornering capabilities, inviting drivers to unleash their vehicles' full potential in secure, closed-course environments. undefined
Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2: Unleash the power of high-speed driving with this optimized triple TR system inspired by DTM racing profile technology. This model guarantees exceptional tire performance, delivering unrivaled control. Experience remarkably short braking distances on wet and dry surfaces, thanks to the precisely balanced tread block stiffness. undefined
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2: Experience unmatched precision and handling with these exceptional tires built for longevity and endurance on the track. They are designed to provide ultimate dry traction, ensuring optimal performance and extended track tread life. Elevate your driving experience with the perfect balance of durability and track-ready performance. undefined
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S: These tires are designed to handle even the highest speeds and offer excellent road handling and control. Experience exceptional dry grip and unmatched wet braking performance, ensuring safety and stability in any weather condition. Elevate your driving experience with this tire that delivers unparalleled performance and peace of mind. undefined
Nitto NT05: Unleash the full potential of your vehicle with the NT05, a max-performance tire designed to amplify its power. Meticulously engineered using advanced computer simulation modeling and rigorous on-track testing, this tire perfectly complements your high-performance machine. undefined
Continental Extreme Contact Sport: Experience the thrill of the road with Continental ExtremeContact Sport. Engineered by racing experts, this tire is equipped with SportPlus Technology, delivering unparalleled responsiveness, superior wet-road traction and impressive durability. Unleash your car's full potential with this dynamic, high-performance tire.  continental extremecontact sport drif...
Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3Elevate your driving experience with tires that redefine performance. With Combination Grip Technology, these F1 SuperCar 3 tires deliver unparalleled control during cornering while providing outstanding handling and responsive steering. Engineered with a race-inspired tread compound and lightweight construction, they set the stage for maximum performance.  undefined

What Kinds of Wheels Are Best Suited for Drifting?

When choosing best rims for drifting, there are several factors to consider. The ideal wheels should provide the necessary strength, durability and performance characteristics to withstand the intense forces and demands of the sport.

Some key aspects include construction and material, rim width and offset, weight, spoke design, lug nut compatibility and aesthetics. It's worth noting that personal preferences may vary among drifters, and the choice of wheels ultimately depends on factors such as budget, driving style and specific drifting goals.

Also, it's important to consider the regulations and rules of the particular drifting event or organization you plan to participate in, as they may have specific requirements or limitations regarding wheel specifications. Here are some top wheel options.

Drifz Wheels

Embark on a journey of innovation and unmatched performance with Drifz Wheels. Dedicated to the drift/tuning community, their goal is to optimize design and engineering for top-notch performance. With cutting-edge technology integrated into their tires, you'll experience rapid acceleration and deceleration, exceptional durability and outstanding performance while drifting.

Click here for excellent Drifz Wheels options.

Dirty Life Wheels

Unleash your adventures with Dirty Life, a groundbreaking brand established in 2019. Their wheels are engineered for hardcore off-roading, featuring a unique dual technology that allows for beadlock mounting or DOT street-legal usage. Experience the ultimate blend of performance and adaptability with Dirty Life wheels.

Click here for Dirty Life Wheels options.

Konig Wheels

Elevate your ride with Konig, a renowned name in aftermarket alloy wheels celebrated for its rich racing heritage. Not only do they create exceptional aftermarket wheels, but Konig also serves as the OEM wheel for several vehicle brands. Konig's Freeform model is designed for drift cars.

Click here for Konig Freeform wheels.

Motegi Wheels

Experience the pinnacle of performance with Motegi, a trusted brand renowned for high-performance wheels crafted for track and everyday use. Since 2000, Motegi has been designing wheels that combine strength and speed to meet the rigorous demands of race cars while providing a smooth and controlled ride for performance vehicles on the streets. Whether you're pushing the limits on the track or simply enjoying a leisurely drive, Motegi Racing wheels deliver the performance you need.

Click here for a closer look at Motegi Wheels.