Jeremy Clarkson might make it look effortless on The Grand Tour, but mastering the art of the powerslide requires real skill and guts. What you’re attempting to do is dispose of a kink of pavement on a closed course by sliding your car through it on the ragged edge of control. To make it work, you must delicately balance your vehicle on the point of adhesion. The sliding will inject you with a massive dose of adrenaline — plus you’re sure to draw appreciative applause from everyone watching trackside.
(Before we go any further, let’s make one thing abundantly clear: these kind of antics are for the racetrack only — don’t try this in your local supermarket parking lot.)
Your Weapon of Choice
Ideally, you want to use a rear-wheel drive car with loads of horsepower. While powersliding a FWDer is possible, it requires mastery of another, arcanely named technique called the “Scandinavian Flick.” And that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
Upset the Car
Tell it its wheels make it look fat. Kidding. With the car rolling into the corner in second gear, hammer the throttle and flick the wheel into the turn to break the car’s traction. The tail will come around in a hurry, the tires will howl in protest and the car will start to slide.
A Dab of Oppo
As soon as the rear wags, back off the go-pedal and dial in a heap of opposite steering or you’ll spin as hard as a Fox News exposé.
Here’s the toughest piece of the powerslide puzzle: reintroduce power and steering, modulating both just enough to maintain the slide. Too much of either and your car will rotate all the way around; tool little and the wheels will grip, causing the car to straighten out. Says former F1 ace and UK driving guru Tiff Needell: “Being gentle with the controls is key…it’s that beautiful balance between throttle power and steering.”
Eyes on the Prize
Gluing your retina on where you want to go is the other half of the battle. Remember to focus out of the car’s side window.
A Graceful Exit
Exiting the corner, you’ll need to ease up on the power and steering just enough to give those screaming rear tires a chance to regain grip and get the car going on course again. The key is to do this without wiggling the tail wildly or shooting off into the weeds.
And that’s really all you need to know. Now, book a track-day, start practicing and send us the Go-Pro video when you’ve got it sorted out.