Despite the fact that there are many differences between reality and a simulator, there is a lot of debate on how sim racing can prepare you for real-world track driving.
But this is Initiate Drift, we’re not here to talk about any driving, we’re here to talk drifting. So with that said, can a sim prepare a driver to drift in a real car, on a real track? The Drift Masters European Championship has done the hard work for us, putting Rhys Tatterson, 2021’s Drift Masters Virtual Champion, in a real car so we can find out.
The sim racer exploded onto the scene last year, and drifting legend Piotr Więcek has given Tatterson the keys to his 900 hp (912 PS/671 kW) Nissan Silvia S15 drift car that he drove to his own championship victory.
Więcek said the following whilst showing Tatterson the car:
“From my experience comparing one to the other, you don’t have so many g forces [in the virtual world]. You don’t feel what’s going on.”
Although this is his first time sitting in a professional drift car, Tatterson settles into it very quickly. Taking it easy at first, he soon tried his luck with a donut, and wow is he a natural as he balances the car nicely in a state of oversteer.
“Oh, man, if you could tell how nervous I was during the first clutch kick. But then on the second transition, I could see that [Tatterson] was controlling the car with the clutch and really good steering wheel applications. I was like ‘Okay, he’s a natural.’ He was doing it like he’s been doing it for three or four years.”
The two drivers are performing tandem drifts together by the end of the video. So, if you want to get into drifting, sim racing might not be a bad place to start.