Behind the spectacular plumes of smoke, there’s a lot of technological know-how in the development of tires used for drifting.
For the vast majority of tire applications, drifting is a less than desirable attribute. However, for professional drifting drivers, suitable tires are arguably the most important part of the sport. In the United States, Formula Drift has some of the most stringent regulations around the tires allowed in competition.
Unlike some motorsports, Formula Drift requires tires used in competition to be commercially available to the public. These tires must comply with the American Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for street-legal tires, and Formula Drift rules state that tires should be marketed at no more than US$500 each. As a result, these tires are not drift specific; instead they are ultra-high-performance (UHP) tires with characteristics that make them suitable for drifting.
A drifting competition consists of …