Forza Horizon 4: Five quick tips for learning to drift

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Admit it: drifting is cool. We all secretly think we might be the next Ken Block if we put our minds to it. A lot of our gaming here at RacingGames.GG is focused on shaving tenths off of our lap times but sometimes you just need to let off some steam! Or failing that, tyre smoke.

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Drifting is about maintaining control of your vehicle even when you've overcome the friction of your rear tyres. We're not talking about pulling the handbrake and seeing what happens. We want to use torque to overcome the grip and still be able to direct the car where we need it to go. Here are the tips:

Turn off those driving aids

Traction control and stability control exist to keep your car from sliding under too much throttle or steering input. Switch those off straight away if you want to start drifting!

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fh4 nissan skyline gt r v spec drift
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Smooth, controlled drifts are what we're working towards

ABS doesn't really matter so much unless you've got extreme brake settings and are trying to reverse drift or other advanced stunts. Personally, I would switch that off too and get the hang of releasing brake pressure to avoid locking the front wheels in corners, but this isn't important for drifting.

I'd also recommend you switch to manual shifting with clutch. Dabbing the clutch is a much more subtle way of unsettling the car than yanking the handbrake. As you become more confident at Forza drifting, you'll use this technique more and more.

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Fix the controller settings

If you're using a wheel, you'll already have looked into the advanced settings for the controls. If not though, you may be surprised with what you see.

I only noticed this when I started using UDP telemetry. Out of the box, Forza Horizon 4 is set up with 10% dead zones at each end of the triggers. We need more range to get our throttle and brake inputs just right! Set up your controller to your liking and then drive around for a bit. This will make such a difference!

Choose the right drift vehicle

Forza Horizon players have made drift tunings for every vehicle from the Unimog to the Peel P50. That doesn't mean you should pick these to learn in!

fh4 nissan skyline rear
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Nissan cars are great for starting drifting

My advice is to choose something that isn't too fast out of the box. We're going to gradually add power as you become more skilled. For your first drift build, I'd recommend picking something with a front-engine layout and rear-wheel drive. If you're struggling to choose, a good choice is your favourite 2-door Nissan. I've seen good drift builds with all Nissan coupes. Alternatively, you might want to focus on a car with skill point bonuses.

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Learn to tune your own drift car

If you're using someone else's tuning, you can't make changes to it. Sometimes that's useful, like when you just need to quickly set up a car for a PR stunt or seasonal challenge. Here we'll need to tweak the setup while we're getting it perfect just for your style. For this reason, you need to learn how to tune your own drift car.

There are plenty of great resources out there on getting started with tuning. We'll be talking more about it here in coming articles. The key thing is to learn to identify what you want from your vehicle and so what changes will make the difference. This is the difference between someone who can just about drift and someone who can call themselves a great drifter.

Set your goals and be patient

It's easy to get frustrated when learning something new and difficult.

Set your goals, be realistic about your expectations, and give yourself a chance to reach those goals. Say you're struggling to three-star the Horizon Doughnut. Concentrate on getting a clean run and avoiding spinning or hitting the walls. Tweak your car to get it balanced just right for the radius of the curve. Set yourself achievable targets, for example getting a certain amount of points consistently.

If you're getting fed up, take a break! You'll do it next time.