Easy car stunts everyone can do

Exploring a car’s limits isn’t something one should do on public roads, not only because it’s illegal but also because it is unsafe. So while that is confined to a private space or a race-track but do you actually need a sportscar to have fun in? We try to find the answer to that, with the help of a video.

To ensure that we’re talking about everyday cars only, here we look at front-wheel drive (like all regular hatchbacks on sale bar the Nano) Ford Puma being driven on the limit, performing stunts that get both eyeballs and applause.

Handbrake Turn


The best way to make an entry and a getaway at the same time, the handbrake turn has been the staple of front-wheel drive stunts for longer than you and I can remember. Follow closely to know how it can be achieved.

Approach in first gear, flick the wheel (towards the side you want the car to turn), and pull the handbrake. Now as you go sideways, depress the cluch, leave the handbrake, and off you go in the direction you came from.

What can go wrong?

While it certainly requires practice – and so do the rest of the tricks here – one thing that can easily go wrong is the coordination between leaving the handbrake and accelerating. If you leave the handbrake engaged and start accelerating, you’ll be putting an added strain on the engine, burning a lot of rubber, and all of it without making any progress.

90-degree turn


On a regular, one-way road, how will you take a ninety degree turn? Unless you are a rally driver, you’ll go to the farthest end, get done with braking, turn, clip the apex, and accelerate. To add some visual spectacle, you can approach the turn in second gear, ‘nip’ the handbrake – that is essentially pulling it and leaving it, just enough to lock the rear wheels – and apply opposite lock on the steering, and accelerate to get out of the slide. It’s of course not the fastest way to tackle that corner but is certainly the most visually pleasing and a very satisfying one.

What can go wrong?

Since it’s more difficult, the chances of it going wrong are more. If you apply too much of the handbrake then you’re likely to spin without even taking the turn. Or if there’s a bit too less of the handbrake, you’ll overshoot the turn and not be able to make it.

 J- and reverse J-Turn


Were you always fascinated by how secret service drivers can hurl their cars around like it’s nothing? If yes, then Tiff’s got you covered. The J-Turn followed by a reverse J-Turn is the best way of doing a 360 while on the move.  It’s easier said than done, but here’s it in words: build up some speed, flick the steering, pull the handbrake, and engage reverse gear as you begin to go backwards. Once on the move in reverse, build up some speed, flick the wheel, hit the brakes (to help change the direction of motion), engage first gear, and off you go.

J-Turn reverse

What can go wrong?

Since this one’s really tricky, given it takes more effort and concentration from the driver, there are more than one ways of messing it up. First, the transition of direction, braking, and switching gears has to be perfected. Second, unless you master the art of using the handbrake, it’s going to be difficult, because J-Turns are dependent on the handbrake.

Sideways (Drift)


A common notion suggests that you can’t go sideways in a front-wheel drive car, without using the handbrake. Well, as it turns out, you can. And that’s be weight shifting. Here’s how. While moving you unsettle the car by flicking the wheel one way and quickly turning it the direction you want to. It’s dependent on the car on how it responds, but ideally the rear of the vehicle will step out. To get out of the slide, you will have to step on the accelerator, like you did while performing the 90-degree turn.

What can go wrong?

Understeer. Coming off the accelerator and increasing the steering lock, and you’ll be able to handle that. You’ll also need to practise Scandinavian Flick properly not just because it looks hard, but because you have to fairly quick to act while doing so.

Left-foot braking

Left Foot Braking

This one’s for when you’re away from the race-track, too. Left-foot braking enables you to carry a sharper cornering line, and ensure the front-end doesn’t wash out while cornering.  Some modern and tech-laden cars might not let you do that, though – mostly because braking and accelerating at the same time is not what the onboard computer is ready to accept.

What can go wrong?

Well, using the left to apply brakes isn’t the best idea, to start with. It needs practice because the left foot is habitual of operating the clutch, while the brake pedal requires more pressure. More so, modulating that can be a task. Practise all of it before trying it out.


First video is from Tiff Needell’s DVD Burning Rubber.

The second video is courtesy of Chris Harris and Autocar UK.

Featured image’s source