In most forms of automobile racing, drivers want the most grip possible to achieve maximum cornering speed. That's not the case when it comes to drifting. If you run a set of tires that are overly grippy, your engine will have trouble braking the tires loose on command.
On the other hand, you don't want the most slippery tires you can find either. They can make your car feel skittish and make it hard to sustain drifts throughout an entire corner. You'll be much more at risk of suddenly losing control of the rear end and spinning out.
Attaining the perfect level of grip for a drift car requires a delicate balance between traction and controlled sliding.
Consider Your Car and Engine Characteristics
Choosing the perfect tires depends on your specific vehicle setup. You have to consider the weight and balance of your car, as well as the power output of your engine.
Heavier cars with an even weight distribution require more traction for controlled drifts compared to lightweight cars or cars that are front-heavy. Cars with ample mid-range torque will be able to run more grippy rubber while still being able to break the rear tires loose on command. Cars with high-strung engines and narrow power bands will be much easier to drift with less grippy rubber.
Consider the Style of Tracks That You'll Be Racing On
Different styles of tracks favor different tire setups. If you race on high-speed tracks with long, sweeping turns, you'll want to run the grippiest tire you can get away with. That will help you sustain controlled drifts throughout entire corners without your rear end feeling too twitchy mid-turn.
In contrast, small tight tracks will favor more slippery tires. You'll be driving at lower speeds and performing quick directional changes, so you'll want a tire that you can easily muscle around for tight drifts in small areas.
Consider Your Budget
If you're an amateur racer, perhaps the most important thing to consider is your budget. After all, it doesn't really matter how well you can drift your car if you don't have the money to replace your tires when they wear out.
Generally, grippy performance-oriented tires are a lot more expensive than less grippy all-season tires. If you're on a tight budget, choose a tire that you can source for relatively cheap and learn to drift it well. It may not be the ideal rubber for your ride, but you'll become a much better driver and have a lot more fun by racing often on subpar tires than you will by blowing your whole budget on a few sets of racing rubber that you burn through after only a couple of track days.
For more information, contact a tire dealer in your area.