For as advanced as remote-controlled race cars for kids have gotten these days (Artificial intelligence! Smartphone controls! Virtual weapons!), they still don’t really drive like real race cars. Which, you wouldn’t think is a big deal — except it is to people who are really into model race cars, like the Germans behind these uber-realistic speedsters. Aiming for ultimate realism, Drifts (spelled “Dr!fts”, like Ke$ha … but for toys) are 1/43-scale toy race cars with intelligent sensors that “drive with same dynamics as real cars.”
That means they drift, spin, oversteer, tilt, and do celebratory donuts in the exact same way a car roaring around the track at Daytona would. In fact, Drift cars’ top speeds, acceleration, and braking distance are all perfectly scaled. They can also simulate AWD, just in case you want to create an elaborate scenario where you’re racing your kid to a fictional ski resort during a blizzard.
The cars can drive on any smooth surface (a floor, table, or desk; no tracks required) and are controlled with vibration feedback via Bluetooth by a smartphone app. The app also makes simulated engine, brake, and tire sounds so you get the full racing feel and offers different skill levels — from “fun,” to “pro,” to maybe “Ricky Bobby” — based on your driving ability. Drifts even have a built-in emergency stop when you’re about to drive off the kitchen table all Thelma and Louise-like. You can race more than 10 cars at a time and each car runs for about 30 minutes before requiring a 30-minute USB charge.
There are currently two Drift models for sale, each with different sound and engine characteristics. There’s a red or green six-cylinder turbo, or a silver body with a V8 engine. The slight drawback is you can’t get either of them right now. But, sign up for their e-newsletter and you can grab a top pole position on all realistic, remote-controlled racing action coming out this summer.
(Available August 2017)