As a driving physics sandbox it’s almost inevitable that BeamNG.drive would garner an enthusiastic following of virtual drifters.
A succession of excellent BeamNG physics updates over the last few months has made drifting even more accessible and achievable than ever before, with the game providing players with drift-based missions to build their sideways skills.
Helpfully, BeamNG also has several specialised drift cars in its roster to enable suitably smoky skids on the map of your choice.
If you’re interested in starting your BeamNG drifting journey or would simply like some tips to help brush up on your fundamentals, then we’ve collated a handy guide offering tips and advice on getting the most from this unbelievably popular driving game.
The Traxion team has even got its socket set out to assemble a perfect beginner’s drift build guaranteed to get you going sideways in no time at all. Check out the download link further down below.
BeamNG.drive drifting tips
BeamNG has several bespoke drift cars to try (see list below), but any vehicle with rear or four-wheel-drive that has enough horsepower can become a drift machine by using the in-game Tuning and Parts swapping menus.
Naturally, using a manual gearbox is the best way forward, with a manual clutch proving the best way to obtain some ‘clutch kick’ thrills (a clutch kick is essentially mashing the clutch pedal while on-throttle then releasing it quickly, prompting a surge of torque to the driving wheels and wheelspin).
Change your gearbox behaviour to ‘Realistic’ by hitting the ‘Q’ key (or whichever button you have this mapped to).
Although offering less precise control than a steering wheel, using a gamepad to drift in BeamNG is still achievable (so much so that I prefer using a gamepad). If you do use a steering wheel, however, turn the force feedback down to help prevent wrist-snapping incidents when you inevitably bin into a wall.
Turn off the oversteer and understeer assists too, as they tend to muddy the force feedback waters while sliding.
Initiating a drift
To start drifting, you can choose a few different methods. If your car is powerful enough this can simply be a case of slamming on the throttle, controlling the slide with counter-steering.
But a drift can also be easily initiated by pulling the handbrake or by locking your rear brakes. Rear brake locking is also possible through downshifting quickly without rev-matching. It’s not a reliable method, however, especially uphill.
Another effective method of skiddery is to employ the Scandinavian flick. The ‘Scandi flick is a way of shifting the lateral load on a car to help it turn tighter through weaving the car left and right (and vice versa).
To enter a drift on a right-hand turn, first jink to the right before the corner, then quickly move back to the left before finally turning to the right towards the apex. The car’s weight has shifted from one side to the other, thereby inducing traction loss and inviting a smoky slide.
This technique is famously used in rallying (which is extremely popular in Scandinavian countries, hence its name), but can be difficult to harness in BeamNG. It’s an amazing feeling when it goes well, however.
Once sideways, try to balance the car on the throttle while making smooth steering inputs to maintain its attitude (how sideways it is relative to an apex, essentially) through the turn. Getting into the correct rhythm isn’t easy, though, so drifting requires tons of patience and even more practise to get right.
I’ve yet to do this…
Which map is best for drifting in BeamNG.drive?
Although down to personal preference, the best maps for drifting in BeamNG.drive are thought to be the Industrial environment’s Port setting, West Coast USA’s Highway area or Hirochi Raceway thanks to its wide-open curves.
Our best advice is to just go out and explore, as you’ll likely find your own favourite among the hundreds of miles of virtual asphalt in BeamNG.
Which car is best for drifting in BeamNG.drive?
In my opinion, the Ibishu 200BX Street Tuned (M) is one of the best cars to start your BeamNG.drive drifting journey. Thanks to the game’s extensive car customisation tools, it’s possible to alter the set-up of any car to improve its drifting performance. But for this example, I’m going to modify my Ibishu into a fully-fledged Traxion skidmark machine! (Stop laughing at the back, you.)
This version of the Ibishu isn’t one of the game’s bespoke drift cars, but for me feels much nicer to slide once the following modifications are undertaken. That’s the other wonderful thing about BeamNG: you can alter the appearance and dynamics of your car by swapping out most of its parts.
BeamNG.drive drift set-up guide
Tyres and Steering
First, let’s sort out the Ibishu’s steering rack. Drift cars can achieve insane steering angles thanks to suspension modifications but in BeamNG you can swap out the car’s standard spec steering box for a Quick Ratio Drift Steering system.
If you find sustaining a drift too difficult you can change your car’s tyres. Switching to a narrower tyre on the rear axle, for example, might help induce a little more wheelspin to keep you facing sideways. Likewise, fitting wider front tyres to your car should add more grip to the front axle, enhancing grip but making it more sluggish transitioning from left to right (and vice-versa).
The compound of the tyre is also important, as BeamNG allows you to fit slippery drift tyres. However, you may feel the Sports tyres are much more communicative thanks to their extra grip.
Gearing is maybe not the first thing you think about when it comes to drifting, but having the right ratios set up is crucial to maintaining a drift, as having to shift up or down mid-slide can upset the balance of your car. It could be the difference between nailing a wall tap or simply nailing the wall.
I went ahead and fitted a six-speed racing gearbox in my pink Ibishu. Its close ratios and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shifting times mean the car’s attitude is less affected by clunky gear changes.
In real-world drifting, a limited-slip differential (LSD) is ideal for drifting as it locks the diff as soon as your inside wheel starts to spin, supplying equal power to both driving wheels. A welded diff (yep, a diff that’s literally been welded up) can also be used for drifting and ensures both driving wheels spin at the same speed. It’s not great for real-world driving though…
A welded diff is cheaper than an LSD so tends to be favoured by drifters on a budget. Vehicle handling is better with an expensive two-way mechanical LSD but luckily BeamNG allows you to try out both options free of charge.
Adjusting your brake balance rearwards can help rotate your car into a drift. To tune brake balance, first you need to fit some uprated discs and pads. In this build, I’ve gone with the Full Race Disc Brakes and Pads across both axles.
Once these are fitted, you can move your car’s brake balance rearwards. This ensures the rear wheels slow down disproportionately to the fronts, helping rotate the car into an easy skid (around 30% should be enough but you can tune this to your preference).
Engine and turbo
To keep a car sidways for a prolonged period you’re going to need a decent amount of power. The standard Ibishu BX200 Street Tuned comes with a Stage 1 Turbo, so I’ve upped the ante with a Stage 2. I’m too frightened to do much more than that, however.
Engine swaps are achievable in BeamNG, so feel free to experiment with the myriad of options available to you. There’s almost endless levels of trim possibilities.
BeamNG.drive drift build download
If you don’t fancy running through all the above set-up work then you can download the special Traxion drift edition of the Ibishu BX 200. Simply unzip the below folder to your BeamNG.drive AppData folder C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\BeamNG.drive\0.28\vehicles.
You can also access this folder via the in-game Vehicle Tuning menu. Enter the Load/Save sub-menu and click on ‘Open user configurations folder’ to bring up the correct file location. Paste the ‘coupe’ folder to here and the Traxion wall-tapper is yours! Apologies in advance…
What Drift Missions are available in BeamNG.drive?
BeamNG.drive has a few bespoke drift missions to help keep players occupied. To access them, select one of the below maps in Free Roam mode and click to expand the list of available activities (handily arranged in alphabetical order).
We’ve listed every drift mission type currently available as base content in BeamNG.drive, but don’t forget there’s plenty of mods available from the Repository too! Check out our guide for more information on how to download BeamNG.drive mods.
Automation Test Track
- Drift at the Handling Circuit
- Pro Drift Stage
- Port Drift
- Incovenient Drift
- Village Drift
- Slithery Drift
- Slithery Drift (Short)
Drift cars in BeamNG.drive
Nothing is stopping you from trying to drift an Ibishu Wigeon in BeamNG, but when the game has purpose-built drift builds why would you? Check out the full list of drift cars available in the vanilla version of BeamNG below.
Remember, you can have just as much success with drifting a standard road car in BeamNG as you can with a bespoke drift car. Especially with some modest Tuning work as detailed above.
- Bruckell Bastion Drift (M)
- ETK 800-Series 858 Drift (M)
- ETK I-Series Drift (M)
- ETK K-Series Kc8 Drift (M)
- Gavril Barstow Drift (M)
- Gavril Bluebuck Drift (M)
- Gavril D-Series D15 Drift (M)
- Gavril Grand Marshal Drift Missile (M)
- Gavril H-Series Drift (M)
- Hirochi Sunburst Drift Missile (M)
- Ibishu 200BX Drift (M)
- Ibishu Miramar Drift (M)
- Ibishu Pessima Drift (M)
How much do you enjoy drifting in BeamNG.drive? What would be your top drifting tip? Would you like to see more guide content for BeamNG in future? Let us know in the comments below.