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Drift and shout…


Yas Marina Circuit offers drifting – a style of driving where you slide your car around the track’s corners – in a variety of experiences for those wishing to burn some rubber. Take a look under the hood
of Yas Marina Circuit’s Drift School to find out more

The Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix now seems like a distant memory, but the firing of pistons and screeching tyres remain, as Yas Marina Circuit (YMC) offers guests a plethora of driving experiences to keep their engines oiled until the next Formula 1.

One such experience is drifting, which is when a driver will drive into a corner as normal, before twisting the steering wheel in the opposite direction at the last minute to flick the back end of the car out. The sideways driving position is then maintained by controlling the throttle and steering wheel position.

Phil Ellis, a British experience manager at YMC, explains, “Drifting is where you are driving a rear wheel drive car and your purpose is to make the car go sideways around corners – the technical term for this is ‘over steer’. You want to hold this for as long as you can around a corner using the throttle to balance the power as you slide, or drift, through.”

YMC’s Drift School offers four experiences: drift taxi, learn to drift, drift sprint and drift king.


Drift taxi

“This is great for people who don’t know what drifting is,” says Phil. “Once you’ve got a helmet on – you won’t be wearing a driving suit – you jump in the front seat of a Toyota GT86. A professional driver drifts you around the north handling circuit at 100kmph maximum, completely sideways for four laps. It’s cheap at AED 250 and gives people a thrill; they film it on their phones and share it online.”

Drift taxi lasts about half an hour, which is plenty of time to make you eager for the driver’s seat. Want more? Then sign up for learn to drift…
Price: AED 250
Times: Daily 10am-5pm


Learn to drift

If you’ve got a taste for the Tarmac after drift taxi, the next step up is the learn to drift experience. The school’s fleet is made up of nine Toyota GT86 cars. A session lasts two and a half hours, which gives first timers or beginners a chance to get out on the track and practise. But don’t expect to become a pro after turning the second corner, says Phil. “It can be tricky and you need to be sensitive with the throttle. It’s a bit like pulling a wheelie on a bike; once your front wheel is up off the ground it’s all about keeping it there. The first time people try it they normally put too much throttle on and spin.”

But is it dangerous? “Dangerous? No, not at all,” says Phil. “For our learn to drift and drift sprint experiences you don’t even wear a helmet – you just put your seatbelt on because you drive at around 40-50kmph. It’s very safe and huge fun. We want to prevent people from trying to drift on the street.”

The experience starts at 8.30am with a 30-minute technical briefing, followed by 30 minutes of kick plate training – a one metre steel plate that moves violently as you drive over it, putting your car into a spin for you to then control and drift. Drift practice begins at 9.30am for half an hour, then at 10am you will practise drift and transition – the technique of drifting from one corner to another – for 30 minutes, before a final half hour session on the auto test drift course, a space of track used solely for drifting. You’ll be accompanied by your instructor and remain at speeds below 100kmph.

Price: AED 1,000

Times: Call to book as times vary


Drift sprint

The latest experience to join YMC’s Drift School is drift sprint. This is for those wanting to have a taste of competition when drifting.

At the start of the experience you’ll be briefed by an instructor before taking the Toyota GT86 in YMC’s vehicle dynamic area (VDA), a large open area of track that is used for practising such manoeuvres. After you’ve tried out the obstacles featured on the course, such as doughnuts, you’re ready to go.

Two drivers can go head-to-head in a race to the finish line, as a specially designed drift course will test drivers on their drifting skills and doughnuts – which is when you spin the car in a circular motion around a specified point. You finish side by side in a stop box, or designated parking spot. A dividing barrier, start lights and a commentator give the session a competitive feel.
Price: AED 600
Times: Daily 10am-5pm


Drift king

Now that you’ve got the drifting bug, drift king is the next level for keen amateurs and aspiring pros. This experience has been designed to advance your drifting skills to get you ready for competitions.

Back in the VDA, your two-and-a-half-hour training focuses on practising drifting techniques and perfecting the art of the Scandinavian flick – a corner turning technique commonly used in rally driving.

There is a technical briefing and seven driving lessons at the start of each session. You can choose to take part in class one 9am-11.30am, session two noon-2.30pm, class three 3pm-5.30pm or the final session from 6pm to 8.30pm.
Price: AED 1,500
Times: Call to book as times vary


Catch my drift?

Did you know? Drifting originated in Japan in the late 1980s and has since spread worldwide. The Fast & Furious franchise even featured the craze in one of its films, Tokyo Drift.

For more information on Drift UAE contact: [email protected] www.driftuae.com For more information on Drift School contact: 800 927 or 02 659 9800 www.yasmarinacircuit.com


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