Anyone who thinks that drifting is no fun is welcome to leave the room. No, seriously, drifting is something instilled into our culture and the recent reinforcement by the media has successfully instilled it into our hearts.
From the Willow Springs Raceway to the set of Fast and the Furious, drifting has graced all sorts of locations and thus received equivalent accolades. But for the average joe, drifting is an expensive hobby.
Not only does it require a deftly powerful car with the right drivetrain configuration, it requires frequent purchases of expensive drift tires… until now. We say that because we bring to you a collection of cheap drift tires that do not compromise on the functionality as a way to further your interest in drifting.
Now you might argue that some of that are not “dirt” cheap against which you should keep in mind that drift tires are, on average, twice as expensive than their meagre counterparts. Here is a meticulously crafted list of the best yet cheap drift tires on the planet.
Top 5 Best Cheap Drift Tires
- Kumho 2168123 Ecsta PS31 Performance Radial Tire – 215/45ZR17 91W (Editor’s choice)
- Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Ultra High Peformance Tire 275/40R20 106 W Extra Load
- Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Ultra-High Peformance Summer Tire 225/45R17 94 W Extra Load
- Toyo PROXES R1R Performance Radial Tire – 225/45R16 89W
1. Kumho 2168123 Ecsta PS31 Performance Radial Tire – 215/45ZR17 91W (Editor’s choice)
Our top recommendation for the best drift tire…
- Run flat
- Extensively reviewed
- Heat tolerant
- Ultimate handling capabilities
- Sidewall is prone to bulging
This South Korean brand is not new to providing extremely high quality tires at an incredibly competitive price point and this model is no exception. Make no mistake, it is an all out, completely capable performance tire that has the ability to handle all the heat from your intense drift sessions and more.
As a plus, the extra handling this tire provides could be the difference between you executing that drift perfectly and that dreaded embarrassing spin out or God forbid something even worse like a costly or a potentially lethal crash. Whenever you’re taking the car to the ragged edge of its abilities, any small advantage you can get, counts.
The tire’s lateral edges are geared towards performance while the medial portion is for normal daily use. Also, this tire’s incredible grip under rainy conditions and sustained traction over long periods of use prove to be the extra cherry on top.
The added traction and wet performance constantly proved to be source of encouragement to our test drivers to keep stabbing the throttle and yet maintaining full control.
These tires provide the same level of grip as their Michelin alternatives while providing a much quieter ride. The quiet ride, although not much of a priority for spirited drivers, gives an insight into the amount of research and technology that went into its production.
One not so positive thing that many users reported was the bulging and cracking of the sidewalls that seemed to be associated with aging.
2. Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Ultra High Peformance Tire 275/40R20 106 W Extra Load
Highest reviewed and top rated among the pack…
- Best traction off the line
- Impressive wet performance
- Great handling
- None worth mentioning
Firestone is actually merged with Bridgestone so you’re basically getting all the reliability and durability Bridgestone has to offer at an unbelievable price point. This tire is an ultra-high performance tire with a racing heritage to match as proudly indicated by the name.
The 275 mm contact patch is more than enough and a beautifully crafted slim sidewall on larger diameter wheels gives your car the coveted sporty looks. Combine that with a stiff sidewall for dynamic steering and greatly improved wet braking distances and you get a complete package and that too at an affordable price.
Users reported a decrease in 0-60 times of up to 0.5 seconds which is a lot in the world of fast cars. However, even grippier options are available in the market for practically the same price, for example, by Nitto.
One of the most unique thing about this particular summer tire is the surprising amount of wet traction it can deliver. This is almost never the case with performance tires. Firestone claims a 20% shorter braking distance on wet pavement compared to its competitors.
If safety and everyday usability is your priority, this tire might be the only real option you have.
3. Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Ultra-High Peformance Summer Tire 225/45R17 94 W Extra Load
Another killer by Bridgestone…
- Summer tire
- Great grip
- Track capabilities
- Beautiful sidewall and tread pattern
- Poor wet performance
This is a dedicated summer tire which means that it has the highest heat tolerance among the bunch which translates to lesser tread wear than its competitors.
Combined with the renowned durability and robustness of the world’s largest tire manufacturer, and you’ll get the best bang for your buck even after spending a tad bit more than some cheap options out there.
The construction has been heavily reinforced which does make the tire a little heavier. The best thing is that you can use these same tires on the track which is great news for those who own a separate set of track tires and dread to change the tires every track day.
This tire also features a class leading load capacity which is essential due to the immense weight transfers that occur in a high-speed drift. In short, this tire takes everything a performance tire stands for and takes them to their extremes.
The tread pattern is closer to a slick than a road-going tire which is highly desirable for performance tire but it comes with its own cons like decreased wet traction and a higher propensity to hydroplane.
4. Toyo PROXES R1R Performance Radial Tire – 225/45R16 89W
Gives the best control mid-drift…
- Great handling
- High level of control while drifting
- Heat tolerance
- High speed rating
- Noisy when new
- Need to be stored at temperatures above 15 degrees F
A cross between sport and summer tire, it is considered by many to be the best drift tire in the market due to its tenacious grip and an almost telepathic control mid-drift.
The arrowhead tread pattern and the wide footprint allows for rapid acceleration and an aggressive look overall. Robustness, durability, wet performance and a great ride, this tire has it all.
Few tires can boast nearly equal levels of acceleration and braking under both dry and wet conditions like this one. The great looks do not hurt us either!
This tire is available in two speed ratings: V (good for 168 mph) and W (good for 186 mph!). The link above has been attached for the higher speed rated one because why not?
Like any other racing inspired performance tire, this too has been reinforced with steel belts. The tread pattern is semi-directional and saying that it looks like no other would be an understatement.
On the critical side, these tires are noisy when new and take time to settle in. Also Toyo is not considered to be on par with some of the industry’s other giants from Japan and from Europe.
How to buy the best drift tires?
1. Buy high performance tires
You’ll need that extra grip and control even if you have to spend a few bucks over. We highly recommend choosing only high or ultra high performance tires for your drift sessions. Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Ultra-High Peformance tire would be sufficient for all your needs.
2. Buy summer tires
Summer tires are designed from the base up to handle heat of which there will be no shortage when you hammer the throttle mid-corner. Summer tires have a significantly lesser chance of bulging or blowing out during intense sessions than all other types.
Firestone Firehawk has an incredible amount of heat tolerance with efficient heat dissipation measures.
3. Buy tires with a strong, sturdy midrib and construction
An acceptable level of structural rigidity is a basic requirement of a drift tire. This is to grant you a greater control mid-drift due to stiffer sidewalls and to decrease the chance of blow-out under heat and load stress