Often considered an entirely different RC class in itself, RC drift cars are made with speed and control, but more importantly, drifting in mind.
Most of the RC drift cars out there are modeled after real-life cars, which makes them even more fun for enthusiasts that imagine themselves behind the wheel since drifting isn’t necessarily legal on public roads. If driving an RC car built for drifting is right up your alley, then keep reading to see the detailed reviews of our picks for the best RC drift car.
But first, check out these 20 amazing RC drifting videos and then let’s get into the history of drifting and what made it what it is today.
The History of Drifting
Drift racing is a style of driving in which the driver forces the rear tires into a slide. Consequently, this sends the car into a sideways motion around the track. The trick (or skill) is in maintaining high speed and control in the process.
While it’s true that drifting has become popular fairly recently, the history of the driving style dates way back. People didn’t refer to it as drifting back then, but it was a technique heavily used in motorsports. You can find drivers implementing this technique in Gran Prix races as early as the 1930s.
It doesn’t stop there. Drifting also has roots in the winding mountains of Japan. This is as early as the 1960s, when the Rolling Zoku zipped through twisty mountain roads putting their skills to the test, trying to set the next best record.
By the 1970s the All Japan Touring Car Championship was born and with it the drifting Master Kunimitsu Takahashi. Takahashi was out of this world. His ability to send his car into oversteer, and master the drift, gave him the ultimate exit speed.
Drifting has had a long and glorious history, thanks to its pioneers and enthusiasts.
Now you can experience the glory too — writ-small.
The art of drifting has not only been applied to the Grand Prix races and the All Japan Touring Car Championship. RC cars allow hobbyists to get in on the fun too.
Even sports analysts say that once you’ve seen these cars in action, the appeal won’t remain a mystery. Drift RC’s usually come equipped with special low grip wheels. This enables the vehicles to slide easily.
Proverbially, a quality RC designed for drifting is four-wheel drive. These are highly recommended for effective drifting as they offer more control. Electric drift cars are typically preferred as they are lighter and easier to maneuver. Not to mention, their durable motors make them a must-have.
Your alternative would be the Nitro drift RC cars. They tend to be faster than electric RCs, but that comes at a price, and I don’t mean cash. Their increased weight makes them a bit harder to control, and the maintenance (for some) is a headache just waiting to happen.
If you’ve been considering getting into RC drifting but haven’t found the right car for yourself, you just stumbled on some luck today.
Do you have dreams of driving on the line between chaos and control?
If so, keep reading because you’re going to love this lineup.
The Best RC Drift Cars
- Length: 13.98 inches
- Width: 7.99 inches
- Height 4.49 inches
- Wheelbase 10.48 inches
Redcat Racing has got a monster on their hands with the Lightning EPX. This RC is perfect for adults and children, boasting core features to impress RC experts and enough excitement to entice beginners.
Powered by a 7.2v 2000mah battery, you’re guaranteed optimal performance.
Just you, the RC, and the road. The plastic chassis is an asset to the Lightning EPX’s overall performance. It recovers extremely well after an extensive drift.
The electric brushed 27T 550- motor is backed up by the battery, so you don’t have to worry about downtime.
What you get in the box (In addition to the car)
- 2v (rechargeable battery)
- Wall charger
What you’ll need
- You’ll need to grab 8 AA batteries for the radio
When it comes to the battery, you get low operation time. I should also mention that it takes 8 hours to charge. If that cramps your style in any way shape or form, don’t count the Lightning EPX out the race yet.
On the bright side, you can tune this baby as you see fit, thanks to the Aluminum capped oil shocks. Can’t forget the adjustable independent suspension.
Before we get into the pros and cons, let’s have a look at the specs of the Lightning EPX:
In case you somehow missed some of this product’s standout features (mentioned above), have another look at them in point form:
- Plenty of power and fun for the price
- Aesthetically appealing
- Aluminum capped oil filled shocks
- Chassis makes for great recovery time
No product is perfect. While I believe this RC is good enough to make this list, here are some stuff you might want to know before making your purchase:
I mentioned above that the battery doesn’t give you much runtime. Well, what I meant by that was 15 minutes.
I know, that’s a bit of a bummer. But the RC has such great appeal that many users have had a blast with it, and I doubt you’d be any different.
The Lightning EPX offers such great control that you’ll drift as if it’s second nature, and come back, again and again, to beef up your skills.
- Length: 17.32 inches
- Width: 7.48 inches
- Wheelbase: 10.20 inches
- Weight: 3.30 pounds
Next up is the MadSpeed Drift King. An RC with a unique low center of gravity, sure to win you over with aesthetics alone.
Rest assured; there’s more to the Drift King than meets the eye. These days most drift cars can only handle smooth surfaces. This isn’t the case with the Drift King. Merit to its light chassis (among other features), this RC can tackle any terrain. This is also due to it being a 4WD (four-wheel drive) equipped with drifting rubber, and oil filled mechanisms to guarantee as smooth an experience as possible.
The 2.4 Ghz radio system is great regarding range and solid handling of multiple signals. What’s more, it can send and respond to these messages simultaneously. Not only can you drift and set fire to the streets, but you can also do so with confidence knowing you’re in control.
The Drift King’s impressive 380 3000KV motor and HobbyWing 35A ESC (electronic speed controller) make it one of the most effective machines on the market.
The sophisticated side-view mirrors, the wings, and the exhaust place this bad boy on a pedestal with regards to presentation. Why just be the best, when you can perform the best, and look the best while you’re at it?
Excited? I bet you are. Don’t worry; I’ll get into the specs right now:
Exceed MadSpeed Drift King
- 4 Wheel Drive
- Molded Composite Chassis
- Independent Suspension
- 380 3000KV (high performance) motor
- CM (High Torque) Steering Servo
- And finally — Aluminum coil-over oil filled shocks
What comes in the box
- Instruction manual
- No Charger
This RC comes pre-painted, ready to run. Let’s talk about its standout features:
- Low center of gravity design
- CNC Aluminum upper deck
- Shock system
- Detailed side view mirrors, wings, windshields, and exhaust system
Most importantly, you’re getting a powerful and effective drift car for a more than reasonable price.
If for some for a reason the Drift King doesn’t get your blood pumping, don’t worry — it has a twin. You get pretty much the same deal, except for the motor and price (two factors which are interrelated).
If you’re trying to experience the awesomeness of the Drift King, but can’t fork up the cash for the model with the brushless motor — this alternative may be a dream come true.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. If you’re looking to have a great time drifting, and do so for an extended period, then I’d suggest you go with the first model with the brushless motor. This provides more speed, and power, not to mention operation time.
If you don’t mind the difference where the motor is concerned, AND you’re seeking a more economical choice, then the second model just may be perfect for you.
It comes ready to run and super durable. You can even upgrade this bad boy piece by piece until it’s your ideal RC.
- Length – 17.24 in
- Width – 7.48 in
- Wheelbase – 10.20 in
- Weight – 3.88 in
This model we’re discussing falls under the umbrella of the latter (only the drift version). It’s also a part of Associated’s Qualifier Series, which is a line of sport-level products that are ergonomic, super effective and offer people tons of fun with no cause for concern. You can expect three lines of touring cars from Team Associated: the TC6. 2 Factory team, the TC4 Club Racer, and finally the Apex RTR (ready to run) vehicles.
This RC is a replica of the full-size FR-S and not in visuals alone. With a powerful 3300kV 540 brushless motor, this RC guarantees power and great performance. The aluminum motor mount conveniently boasts a finned top to help out with heat dissipation.
What’s up with your gear mesh
You can adjust the gear mesh with a metal clamp screw.
If you’re a beginner and not yet familiar with a gear mesh, here’re some things you’ll want to know:
The gear mesh is VITAL as it relates to the overall operation of your vehicle. If for instance, your gear mesh is too tight, this can result in less than satisfactory performance.
Sometimes you may experience other problems such as an overheating motor, damage to the gears, or flat-out motor failure.
In the event that the gear mesh is too loose, this may cause the gears to strip. Both extremes are less than ideal. Your best bet is to make sure that gear mesh is handled right.
The FR-S is shipped fully assembled, and ready to run. Built on the all-wheel Apex chassis – you’re in for the perfect combination of control and durability.
If you’ve got an eye for detail, you’ll love the realistic brake discs with calipers. For the record, the plastic discs aren’t there for their good looks. They’re in fact a hex drive on which the FR-S’s wheels are mounted.
The scale details top this RC off aesthetically, giving it an authentic presentation, no different from the full-size model.
Easy to Use
Team Associated went the extra mile to make this product ergonomic. The car was built with molded plastic tie rods specifically for camber and toe-in. You don’t have to worry about adjusting things, as the Scion comes out the factory pre-assembled for you.
If you’re the type that likes to get hands-on with your car (which is understandable), by all means, go out and get you some threaded tie ends and the ball ends straight from the manufacturer (Associated).
When first taking this bad boy for a spin, I’d suggest testing it out in a parking lot. Or somewhere it’s not at risk from full-size vehicles. This will give you a chance to see the great handling, and recovery capabilities of the FR-S, without having to look over your shoulders.
Need a longer runtime? Try coupling the Wolfpack LiPo 3300mAh with the 3300kV 540 brushless motor. Then you should get about 30 minutes of nonstop drifting action out of the FR-S.
Now that we got all of that out the way, let’s have a look at the specs:
Team Associated Apex Scion
- Designed for On-road
- Electric power source
- AWD (All Wheel Drive)
Here’s what comes in the box.
- Instruction manual
- Chassis compatible with NiMH and LiPo batteries
- The XP SC500 –BL brushless speed controller is water resistant
- Gear transmission (all metal) with sealed differentials
- Impressive 3300kV 540 brushless motor
- Four adjustable fluid-filled coil-over shocks to help with imperfections on the road
‘Con’ may be a strong word for this scenario. I’ve seen ONE case where three wheels broke off supposedly under normal driving conditions. However, the driver had the RC off-road and in harsher weather conditions. This leaves me to believe there was only one complaint like this for a reason — it was a one-off experience. One that took place in less than ideal conditions at that.
- Length – 16.97 in
- Height – 5.00 in
- Width – 7.87 in
- Wheelbase – 10.00 in
Here’s an RC perfect for anyone who’s just getting into drifting. You won’t have a hemorrhage trying to figure out how to drive this thing, and it’s easy to maintain on top of that.
Fitted with the Camaro body shell, the Sprint 2’s aesthetics are through the roof. But this car isn’t an asset just for its looks. This RC comes with a 2.4Ghz radio system, with the body pre-painted, the electronics waterproof, and it’s ESC (electronic speed controller) is compatible with LiPo. HPI Racing ships this RC off with a 7.2V battery pack with a wall charger, orange anodized chassis parts, and AA batteries for the transmitter.
They’re not only giving you a solid RC for drifting. They’re making sure you get this thing out the box and on the road as soon as humanly possible.
If you’re familiar with HPI Racing, then you know their kits usually comprise of the good stuff. The 2.4Ghz radio system, just to name one. You don’t want to drift like a beginner (even if you are one). You want to have a blast with your RC and drift like you’re a member of the Rolling Zoku back in the 1960s. The radio system gives you the right amount of control to achieve that confidence.
The radio flaunts a pistol grip design and is very lightweight seeing as it only needs 4 AA batteries. Thanks to FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum), what channel other RC drivers are using is the least of your concerns.
Speed and Handling
The Sprint 2 is 4WD (four wheel drive), traction is kept at a minimal by the plastic tires.
I know, I know… this means the car may not be the fastest (not with this set up), but it also means your car won’t stop for anything. Not to mention you’ll have more control. If you want more speed, parts are interchangeable. You can also switch out the battery for a 5000mAh if you want more runtime.
The flexibility and overall design of the Sprint 2’s chassis give the car superior handling. Enjoy smooth power transfer thanks to the belt-driven four-wheel drive system. You also get decent traction on just about ANY surface.
Like to go crazy with your RCs? Great. The reinforced nylon chassis, big foam front bumper, and the upper deck and shock towers, prepare this RC to take a beating.
HPI’s Sprint 2 offers lots of features you wouldn’t expect from a beginner’s car. Namely the super long upper links with (new) mounting positions. There’s also the adjustable camber and toe-in links, the Ackerman settings, and adjustable droop.
I’m not saying HPI is ‘lying’ about the electronics being waterproof. I personally just never think you should push your luck with these things. This car is super durable, and the electronics may be waterproof to some degree, and that’s all cool.
Maybe we shouldn’t get too excited, though.
A splash here or there probably won’t do any damage. But don’t get carried away and try driving this thing into the Pacific Ocean.
The 2.4Ghz transmitter, the SF-10W steering servo, and SC-15WP electronic speed controller are all waterproof too. So that’s pretty neat.
What you get in the Box
- AA batteries
- 2V 2000 mAh NiMH battery (with a standard plug and battery charger)
- Exceptional aesthetics (2010 Chevrolet Camaro Body)
- Waterproof SP-15 WP ESC (electronic speed controller) with LiPo safety cut-off feature
- Orange anodized aluminum parts
- Enclosed box for the receiver (Also waterproof)
- Parts are highly-interchangeable
If you’re super stoked about getting into RC drift cars, you’re hardly alone.
It all started in 1966 when an Italian company, Elettronica Giocattoli, released the first RC car, the Ferrari 250 LM. Two years later they gave us the Ferrari P4. Not too long after that, the UK got into the swing of things. RC car racing was also adopted by Americans in the 1960s. The variety of models is a testament to how excited people were about this new sport.
Decades later the sport is still going strong, with more diversity than ever. With the RC hobby ever-evolving, it’s no surprise drift RCs came into the fold.
You’ve been an RC user for years, and now you want to get into some drifting. Well, your timing couldn’t be better.
None of the cars on this list were designed to disappoint. From the Drift King to the Lightning EPX, they pack enough power and flexibility to keep you on the road and keep your blood pumping.
Now stop reading, and get driving… or… drifting your dream car!