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How Different Is Drifting from Racing?

car drifting around a turn

Racing and drifting have always been intertwined. And while this is great for the most part as it brings more attention to racing and racing culture, it has to be said that drifting is not racing. Now, you may think that this is obvious but apparently there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to drifting and racing. While they are both motorsports, the differences between them are stark differences between the two.

To help clear things up, we thought it would be useful to break down both drifting and racing. Hopefully, this article helps you gain a better understanding of the two motorsports.

What Is Drifting?

Drifting is a driving style wherein the driver uses the throttle, brakes, clutch, gear shifting, and steering to make the car stay in a condition of oversteer. What this basically does is that it allows drivers to have complete control of the car, in a way that lets them make incredibly tight turns on a drift track. It’s important to note that being able to make these turns doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the fastest way to get around the track. Drifting is more about technical skills than it is about speed.

What Is Racing?

Racing is the first thing people think of when they think about motorsports. There are many forms of racing from all over the world. They differ in the cars, types of tracks, and the number of cars on the track. However, one thing that is common in all types of racing is the end goal: run the track faster than the other racers. Racing is the perfect balance of speed and control, as you will need both in order to find a semblance of success in racing.

What Is the Difference Between Drifting and Racing?

The most obvious difference between drifting and racing is their end goal. Racing has all to do with speed. The person who is able to complete the track as fast as possible is deemed the winner. Racing is also done with other vehicles driving on the track at the same time. Drifting, on the other hand, is a judged motorsport. Drivers run the track one at a time to see who can complete it in the best way possible. Speed isn’t important when it comes to drifting, as the judges choose a winner depending on how well they ran the track and not how fast they ran it.

To fully understand the difference between racing and drifting, all you really have to do is to look at the drift tracks. Unlike race tracks, drift tracks are made in a way to emphasize tight turns. If drifting isn’t done on these tracks, it would be hard to show off the technical skill that goes into drifting.


We aren’t saying that racing is better than drifting. Nor are we saying that drifting is better than racing. Your main takeaway from this article should be that the two motorsports are unique and are enjoyable for what they are. It’s best to get rid of any preconceived notions that there is a competition between the two. At the end of the day, appreciation for any motorsports is great for motorsports as a whole.

Here at Utah Motorsports Complex (UMXC), we’re experts at holding all forms of Utah-based group participation events. This is why we’re fully equipped to host race car driving in Utah. If this is something that you’re interested in, contact us and learn about our safe and secure facilities and rental rates!


Utah Motorsports Campus is Utah’s Largest Outdoor Event Venue and an automotive, motorcycle, and go-kart racing facility located 30 miles west of Salt Lake City in the Tooele Valley.


512 Sheep Lane, Grantsville, UT 84074
+ (435) 277-8000