I got to take my E36 compact out drifting at Arena Essex once again yesterday. It didn’t go quite as planned.
In my first session I was playing around with clutch kicking. For those of you that don’t know drifting one way to initiate is to kick the clutch in with the throttle open, to disconnect power from the wheels then violently reconnect it to make the wheels spin. First time out with the car I was taking my foot off the gas (as you would with normal driving) which obviously was not getting me any where. Anyway, I was sort of getting the car to slide exiting the corners (i’m not quite brave enough to clutch kick facing the wall yet) but was getting a little too excited with the throttle which was spinning the car.
Then I hit the wall. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened this time. Something spooked me as I was going around the top corner and I hit the brake, which is possibly the worst thing you can ever do on Arena Essex, and I slid into the wall. It didn’t feel like a particularly hard knock but it had folded the passenger side front corner into the wheel making the car pretty much undriveable.
I limped it back to the pits and with the help of my Dad pulled the body work away from the wheel. Upon closer inspection I’d also bent a track rod end.
(poor car :()
We lifted the car, then put a jack under the track rod end and lowered the weight of the car onto the track rod end to force it back into place. It sort of worked so I went back out.
The steering felt strange, but I was confident enough to try to drift it. 3/4s of the way through my next session I made an error and ran up the curb on the inside of the track, pushing what was left of the bumper mounts through the rad and re-breaking that track rod end and making the motor jump off the mounts.
And that was basically game over. I won’t lie, I was disheartened. I’ve managed to crash two cars in three meetings, I won’t give up though, that car is fixable and Arena Essex is an unforgiving track if you get it wrong.
Whoever says RC or video games are good drifting simulators are lying. The real thing is so so so much more difficult!
Thanks for reading