The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 228: San Francisco Drift

Premier Date: February 14, 2015

It is faster to drive a car by drifting in corners than by using conventional racing techniques.


Adam and Jamie first received instruction in drifting from professional driver Conrad Grunewald. Then they set up courses on asphalt to test their time in turns when using both drifting and non-drifting techniques. Entering the course at 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), they both hit the barricades a number of times, but the successfully runs revealed no difference in time for a 90-degree corner. In a 180-degree turn, the drifting technique was measured as slightly slower than the non-drifting technique.

Next they set up a road driving course with assorted turns and each MythBuster drove several laps. Jamie, using non-drifting techniques, recorded a best lap time of 1:54.50 and Adam, using the drifting technique, recorded a nearly identical time. Finally, Conrad drove the course in 2:00.00. Realizing that Conrad’s time was worse because he was better at drifting, Adam and Jamie declared the myth busted.

(This myth was revisited using a dirt surface instead of asphalt in Failure is Not an Option.)

It is possible to drift into a parallel parking space without hitting either of the adjacent cars or the curb.


Adam and Jamie used traffic cones to mark off a parking space 25 feet (7.6 m) long. They tried to drift into it from 40 miles per hour (64 km/h). After repeated attempts, Jamie successfully parked with a 90-degree turn and Adam successfully parked with a 180-degree turn.

Next, they replaced the cones with actual cars and shortened the parking space to 18 feet (5.5 m). Adam, wearing a 4-point racing harness and other protective gear, attempted to drift into the spot but repeatedly hit the other cars. He failed again when driving a limousine. Conrad then drifted the limousine into the space without hitting the curb or the cars, prompting Adam and Jamie to classify the myth as plausible.