The best RC drift cars

RC drift cars: the best way to drift (without tanking your no-claims bonus)

RC Drift Car

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

An RC drift car is designed with the primary task of going sideways in smaller scale. An incredible racing sim setup is unfortunately the only other way you can get that sideways fix. Because the bad news is, a lot of the peak Gran Turismo era JDM drift cars have either been crashed, appallingly modified or are worth an eye-watering amount of cash.

And even if you can get hold of one, turning it into a good drift car will cost a bit more than some new tyres and a welder for the diff. You have to consider a decent roll cage as well as extensive engine modifications to get the power firmly to the rear. It really isn't as simple as clicking hundreds of pieces together like a Lego car.

But the good news is that you don't have to be reduced to sliding a hot wheels car with your fingertips. Drift cars in Radio Controlled form are immense fun and shouldn't go unrecognised. So, we've put some Eurobeat on the radio, checked our manifold, and can bring you our favourite RC drift cars.

The best RC drift cars at a glance:

Editor's Pick: Tamiya 1:10 TT 300058584 02D Drift Spec Chassis - buy from Amazon.
The best RC drift car for kids: Jada Toys Fast and Furious RC Toyota Supra - buy from Amazon.
Best with a track: Scalextric C1421M Slot Car Racing Set - buy from Amazon.

The best RC drift cars

Editor's pick

Tamiya drift chassisVia Tamiya
Price: $154.00

Looking for a more serious drift RC car? Tamiya is one of the heavyweights of model cars, and this drift spec chassis is the perfect starting point for an awesome drift r/c car. It's fundamentally the same as the already excellent TT-02 chassis but features Super Driftech tyres and new CVA shock units. You'll need to provide your own body shell but don't worry, Tamiya offer loads of awesome bodies that will simply clip onto the chassis.

A quick search reveals you could pair this chassis with a MK2 Escort, NSU Prinz TT, or even a McLaren Senna if you so wished. Or you could even try and make one yourself, if you felt brave enough.

Pros

  • Very customisable, given you can switch and choose body shells

Cons

  • It's only the chassis that's included

The best r/c drift car for kids

Jada Toyota SupraVia Jada Toys

Vin Diesel does it for family and now you can do it for yours too, with this RC drift car that makes a great gift for children. A 1:10 model of the iconic F&F Toyota Supra, it's a very impressive model and perfect for some indoor drifting. Best of all it comes with a spare set of drift tyres and the all-important 'turbo' button on the controller for even more power.

It doesn't quite represent the same value as a double cheeseburger and fries for $2.95, but it's as simple and tasteful as a tuna sandwich. Without crust, of course.

Pros

  • Very effective drift car
  • Comes with spare tyres

Cons

  • Isn't a ten second car

The best r/c drift car with a track

Scalextric 360 MustangsVia Scalextric
Price: $145.46

Scalextric has also embraced drifting with this cool figure-eight track complete with two Driftworks Ford Mustangs. Like any Scalextric set, it's a little more rigid than a pure RC car but it's still a lot of fun. The Mustangs can spin 360 degrees on the track which makes for some really impressive drifts, and equally impressive donuts once you've overcooked it. The track is 3.6 metres long and can be used with other Scalextric sets too.

Pros

  • A fun set for scaled-down, synchronised drifting

Cons

  • The track is quite small

The best r/c drift car on a budget

Hot Wheels drift rodVia Hot Wheels

Not the biggest or most advanced drift car, this 1:24 RC car from Hot Wheels is a fantastic beginner RC car for children. It's simple to set up and use, comes with spare rear tyres and is designed to deal with the inevitable knocks and scrapes from being driven into the skirting boards and coffee table.

It is perhaps a slight shame that it isn't based on a real car design, but you can see hints of Camaro and Firebird in areas. It possibly reminds us of a Local Motors Rally Fighter.

Pros

  • A great value RC drift car
  • Durable

Cons

  • The design isn't based on any real car

The best r/c drift car for the dirt

FTX Ravine rock crawlerVia FTX

Who says that drifting needs to be limited to tarmac? When we tested the FTX Ravine, we found it to be a really good laugh thanks to its dual motors and adjustable steering (including forklift truck rear steering). It's tail-happy and a great drift machine, all while still being a very capable rock crawler.

Pros

  • Superb for dirt driving
  • Capable rock crawler

Cons

  • Wasn't primarily designed for drifting

The best r/c drift car

The most authentic RC drift car

On the pricier end of the spectrum is an RC drift car that's heavily based off a popular drifting vehicle.

This is a serious RC drift car based on the Nissan S15 driven by Formula Drift champion James Deane. It features permanent 4WD, plastic Falken drift tyres and other impressive specifications that makes it a serious bit of kit.

It even comes with a protective foam front bumper to prevent scaled-down crash damage. Something which can't be said for the majority of drift-spec Nissan Silvias out there.

Pros

  • Purpose built scale drifter
  • Comes with a great deal of kit

The best r/c drift car you can drive

Hyper drift go kartVia Hyperkart

Ok, this is a little bigger than your standard RC drift car, but our inner nine-year-old can't get over how amazing this would be to speed around. It may only have a top speed of 9mph and a 30-minute runtime, but it has smooth rear wheels for drifting, plus it looks awesome. It's suitable for children over eight and has a 70kg weight limit.

If you want to teach your little ones how to drift, this is the perfect starter vehicle.

Pros

  • Incredible fun
  • Ideal for teaching your children how to drift

Cons

  • It's a shame us adults can't have a go as well

Why go for an RC drift car rather than a normal one?

Easy - they do slides. And slides are much more exciting than plodding along in a straight line. We've probably all tried to make an RC car drift at some point, only to be disappointed that it grips like glue. You might've even stared at a Revell model car kit for too long and imagined what it might look like when drifting. Dedicated drift cars comfortably solve that issue.

There's a Scalextric set on the list - in theory, wouldn't they all drift?

That's one of the great characteristics of Scalextric sets, isn't it? Apply too much throttle, and you'll be underneath the sofa crawling your hand through dust and bits trying to retrieve your car. Apply too little, and it'll just handle like its on rails.

The great thing about those Mustangs is that they're designed to mimic a mini drift demonstration. Where else are you going to find a slot car that does a 360 spin and powers the opposite way?

Regarding the Tamiya chassis, what would be the best shell to marry it to?

Truth be told, there's a waft of great Tamiya RC cars out there. But we reckon the NSU Prinz TT that they offer. Simply because nobody else has thought to make a drift spec one of those. You?

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for CAR, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. With an MA in Automotive Journalism, when he's not testing buckets he can be found looking at old Porsches.

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