10 Extreme Motor Sports for Thrill Seekers

Normally, driving your car sideways at high speeds would be a terrifying ordeal — but it’s the rule in drifting. © Roma Yandolin/Demotix/Corbis

Usually when you're racing a car, you don't want to lose traction and have your car go into a slide or a drift. In most races, slides cost you speed and time. But conventional wisdom goes sideways — along with the cars — when it comes to drifting.

Drifting is a car race where oversteering and losing traction through turns is the point. The courses are so curvy that the fastest way through them isn't to slow down and brake before turns but to slide through them, losing traction yet keeping control. The most skilled drifting drivers can put their cars sideways through several turns in a row. Drifting is about more than speed, though. Drivers get points for the angle of the car and wheels during the turn and for showmanship (i.e., more smoke).

Though it's a relatively new sport in its own right, drifting has been around as long as people have raced cars — it just wasn't always considered a skill. Now drifting has its own governing body and race schedule, making it easy for fans to slide in and watch the fun.