A Drift Race is a type of event featured in a number of Need for Speed instalments and only focuses on drifting.
Drift Races appear frequently throughout the Need for Speed series with their first appearance in Need for Speed: Underground. Drift races have a set number of laps similar to a Circuit race although with the exception of a Canyon Drift event seen in Need for Speed: Carbon.
Players will have to drift to earn points with more points being awarded for tight angle slides, long drifts or combining drifts between corners. The player will lose their combo points as well as ending their current drift if they come into contact with either a wall or opponent.
Players win a Drift race by earning the most overall amount of points.
In Shift 2: Unleashed, drivers compete in Drift Races by beating the top three drivers' scores. Beating a score will gain a podium finish and earn cash. Ebisu in Japan is said by Vaughn Gittin Jr. as the "mecca of drifting". The set "The Final Slide" focuses on Formula D races.
Drift race events are highlighted in yellow in Need for Speed: Underground 2.
There are a multitude of manners in which players can drift their vehicles:
- Accelerating into a corner whilst tapping the brake will force the rear of the car to lose grip and begin to slide. The player must immediately steer into the slide in order to keep the car drifting.
- The handbrake (E-Brake) can be activated before entering a corner to force the car's rear wheels to stop and begin to slide.
- Players can let go off the accelerator at any point of a drift and reapply it whilst turning in the opposite direction to continue a drift around a different corner.
- By breaking the tail of a car on a straight road, the player can link two drifts together.
- Weight transfer is also a technique to initiate a drift. Rear-wheel cars are capable of weight transferring.
- Players will find rear-wheel drive vehicles to be best suited for drifting.
- Nitrous can significantly boost a car's acceleration. This can help players regain speed before entering a corner.
- Drifting close to walls without touching them will earn players more points.