Zeroing in on the fringe RC disciplines is something that Redcat does really well. Take for instance Redcat’s highly successful line of RC lowriders. They are fun to drive, endlessly modifiable and are among some of the best-looking scale RC vehicles to be released by any manufacturer. As Redcat dominates the lowrider market, the company looks to widen its reach with an all-new vehicle, this time targeted towards RC drifters.
Long considered a niche genre, RC drifting has a rabid following throughout Asia, Europe and in pockets around North America. Although drifting hasn’t caught on quite as much as crawling has here in the States, Redcat has a plan to help expand its popularity by way of its latest release, the RDS 2WD Competition Spec Drift Car.
WHAT IS RC DRIFTING?
You’ve probably seen drifting before, but what exactly is competitive RC drifting? RC drifting is a judged competition based on a car’s line, angle, speed and overall style. Similar to the way skateboard or snowboard competitions are evaluated, RC drift competitions also have panels of judges that assign points to a driver’s performance.
How close someone is to the ideal racing line through a course, having maximum angle throughout the run, moving through the course quickly, and having minimal corrections after committing to an angle are what judges look for. While this is mostly achieved by skill, it is also necessary to have a predictable drift car that is adjustable to your driving style.
BUILT FOR COMPETITION
The RDS is an all-new, competition-focused drift platform that Redcat has been secretly working on for a while now. The RDS is a ready to run (RTR) two-wheel-drive vehicle that includes all the necessary radio gear and electronics to get you sliding sideways quickly.
RDS is specifically engineered from the ground up to compete. Redcat may be considered an outsider in the drift community, but we’re willing to bet that RDS will change some minds. RDS is designed to be a highly competitive rear-wheel-drive drift car that excels on surfaces which are found on many prepared RC drift tracks, such as carpet, p-tile, and polished concrete. The drift car can also be used on unpolished concrete and asphalt, although these rougher surfaces won’t allow you to get the most out of its performance potential. Smoother surfaces are optimum.
READY TO DRIFT
The pre-assembled RDS comes ready to run minus the battery and charger and includes a 2.4GHz radio system, 540 3300kV brushless motor, 60A brushless ESC, coreless digital Hexfly Drift-Spec steering servo and a drift-specific gyro. Wait, did we say a gyro? Yes, we did.
Gyros are a necessity on rear-wheel-drive drift cars as they allow the driver to achieve true-to-scale door-to-door drift action. The included Hexfly GX-1 gyro automatically countersteers the car, enabling it to maintain a smooth arc through drifts. The amount of automatic countersteer can be fine-tuned by adjusting the amount of gain on the gyro. Without a gyro, a rear-wheel-drive drift car will be nearly impossible to control and simply spin out. Trust us—you want a gyro, and the Hexfly GX-1 is a good one to have.
TUNING & ADJUSTMENTS
If you’re not familiar with the way RC drift cars are tuned, you may be interested to find out that battery size and weight are used for tuning the car’s overall performance aspects. Shifting the weight forward or backward or adjusting overall weight affects how a drift car handles and swings its weight around. With this in mind, Redcat opted to not include a battery or charger with the kit so the driver can choose the best battery for his or her situation. The RDS will accept a competition-style 2S shorty LiPo pack, low center of gravity 2S shorty pack, or a standard-sized 2S stick pack.
RDS is designed to be balanced and handle predictably thanks to its lightweight carbon fiber-based chassis and total adjustability. Everything on RDS is adjustable to suit the driver’s needs, including camber, caster, toe, Ackerman (the difference in turn radius between the front tires), roll center, wheelbase and center of gravity. As you can probably tell, drifting setups can get pretty complicated. The good thing is that RDS is capable of being adjusted with everything you need for competition specifications.
Balance in a drift car is everything. With that in mind, Redcat engineered the car’s motor plate so it can be mounted in three different positions. Shifting the motor in different positions alters the car’s chassis roll and weight bias. This can be used to adjust the amount of traction and chassis roll RDS has on different surfaces. Being able to fine-tune Ackerman is important in drifting, as it directly affects cornering speed. The RDS has multiple steering link positions and a sliding Ackerman plate, making it easy to tune. RDS is loaded with tuning capabilities that will suit even the most advanced drivers.
While RDS is designed as an advanced competition-spec drift car, it is also a great choice for beginners and comes set up out of the box for polished concrete and p-tile surfaces. This means someone learning to drift can open up the RDS and start practicing with the factory settings while running on those common surfaces.
RDS comes in two body color choices, metallic burnt orange as seen here and a metallic slate gray. The body is ready to accept Redcat’s separately sold LED light kit that includes four LED lights in the rear light buckets and two up front. Redcat also offers extensive graphics packages that allow you to decorate your RDS so it stands out at the drift track.
DRIFTING MADE EASY
Redcat plans to release several how-to videos that include beginner drifting, advanced drift techniques, initial vehicle setup, advanced chassis tuning and understanding how drift competitions work. These videos will be hosted by a seasoned RC drifter who owns and operates one of the largest drift tracks in the United States. He will share his wealth of drifting knowledge to help you become more confident and competitive with your new RDS competition spec drift car, regardless of your current skill level. Stay informed about this video series by visiting Redcat’s website at: redcatracing.com.
Redcat RDS 2WD Competition Spec Drift Car VEHICLE SPECS
Height: 4.92 in. (125 mm)
Length: 17.51 in. (445 mm)
Width: 8.58 in. (218mm)
Wheelbase: 9.96-10.28 in. (253-261 mm)
Weight: 2 lbs., 8.2 oz. (1,136g)
Chassis: Carbon fiber
Body: Pre-painted polycarbonate
Suspension: 4-wheel independent
Shocks: Aluminum body, oil-filled
Wheels and Tires: 52mm diameter wheels, HDPE drift tires with scale wheel nut covers
Transmitter: Redcat 2.4GHz radio system
ESC: Redcat 60Amp
Motor: Redcat 540 3300kV Brushless
Gyro: Hexfly Drift Gyro
Servo: Hexfly Coreless drift spec digital
We’ve always admired RC drifting from afar and think the sport looks really fun. Armed with Redcat’s RDS, we feel like we can get into it and try it out for ourselves. Although RDS is ready for competition right out of the box, we
think we will start out slow and work up our skills and tuning acumen to one day enter some competitions. In the meantime, we’ll be looking forward to practice time sliding around on any smooth surface we come across.
Text by Jerry Tsai
Images by Michael Wiene