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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Tiff's ZT Sliding

For anyone who watched Tiff on Top Gear, he was doing some amazing rear ended slides in a ZT.

While I can do this with my eyes shut in my MX5, I was amazed when he did this in the ZT, is this easy to do in a FWD car, or is just Tiff something else?

I could never do it in my Fiesta :)

Jonathan McCormack


Certainly Tiff knows a bit about twiddling the old steering wheel and pressing the right pedals at the right time but with all due respect, a Fiesta and a ZT have very little in common except front wheel drive. Unless your Fiesta was a bit special, you could only really get it to sustain something like that briefly on a very slippy surface - simply not enough power otherwise.

Also, I remember a team of publicity drivers with Montegos doing some amazing sychronised power sliding front wheel drive stuff when the Montego was still in production. Anyone got that stuff on video? Some of those moves appeared to defy the laws of physics! Shows what can be done with even a so called ordinary front wheel drive. However, I bet they had lots of mods and power in those Montys. Did you ever see that "Oxford" (Blackford Leys? IIRC) Joyrider footage in an MG Maestro when Joyriding was all the rage for our media screens about 10 years ago I guess. Impressive stuff but I believe when they caught up with that particular MG Maestro Joyrider, he spent about 6 months behind bars. Serves him right - not suitable for crowded public roads despite many onlookers cheering him on! Media sometimes pull that footage out of their libraries when needed for a similar news topic. Seen it several times since.

Where you live you dont have to travel that far to find that deserted bog road beyond the back of beyond. Try it yourself in a cheap old powerful FWD car ( lots about now for peanuts) and thus with nothing to lose and nobody around to get hurt, you may just surprise yourself with what YOU can do!

What I find REALLY amazing is the way Rossi, Biaggi and the rest of the 500cc MotorCycle Grand Prix boys are able to drift those fabulously powerful Grand Prix bikes whilst canted over at extreme angles, often with the front or rear wheel showing clear daylight underneath - now that really does defy the laws of physics!..... :o)).

Safety Fast

John McFeely

Lift-off oversteer - not too hard to induce in most front-wheel drive cars (the *hard* bit is keeping the slide going), just barrel into the corner way too fast with plenty of throttle, and then snap the throttle shut. The sudden deceleration transfers a lot of weight to the front wheels resulting in lots more front end grip & lots less rear end grip - consquently the back end unsticks and tries to overtake the front.

Mike Bees

More weight on the front will lead to understeer not over steer.


It was a 1.3 Encore, maybe that's why I couldn't do it.
I'm going practice in my sensible car, a SAAB 900.

Found an interesting article on teh evo forum.


"The fwd oversteer thing is quite a big issue. It's not nearly as satisfying as rwd oversteer but still eminently possible.

IMHO this is the way to learn how to do it.

Take a wide clear corner (constant radius) with a low friction coefficient and go through it at 95% with a light throttle.

Now try it at 100% and notice the cars attitude. Mild understeer probably with the bonnet raising slightly under power.

Now try it with a trailing throttle at the same speed and notice how the attitude changes. The nose will be lower and the rear lighter. You will find that the understeer has been killed but you will also be losing speed.

Now go hard into the corner maybe at maybe 102/103% and lift off half way through. This time the attitude will be even more pronounced. It depends very much on the car but at the very least you will feel strain on the outside of the rear tyres.

Play with this till you feel the rear actually break out and then play with applying the power and a little opposite lock to pull it back into line.

As you become more proficient you will be able to start braking more aggressively as you enter to quickly unsettle the car and then apply the throttle faster and harder. At this stage you will generally be cornering faster than before if you are on a loose surface.

Finally, and normally only on a loose surface, you will approach the bend and the start of your turn will involve a very fast flick ("scandinavian flick") in the opposite direction of the corner.

You then immediately turn hard into the corner and brake with the left foot. Stay on the power. The car will be nicely balanced and neutral with a nice oversteer slide throughout the bend.

Practice on gravel ideally since you will break driveshafts on dry tarmac in a normal car (done it several times)

You then adapt these techniques for different roads and circumstances. i.e. dry road simply brake hard normally as you start the turn and be ready to apply the power and lock.

Applying the lock will be natural. Applying power will not. But it is the power application that pulls you through the slide. Do not brake or you will simply spin!!

Jonathan McCormack

The point is that on the same circuit at the press launch I found that I was inducing the same conditions with the ZT190, with many of the corners being taken flat with apex to apex drift. With a little too much entry speed on one circuit I found with lift off the back end was drifting out. The rate of this drift and the ease at which it could be caught and controlled illustrates how well the suspension has been set up and how controllable the car has been made. Put simply the Zt is made to feel like a car of the ZR size and weight. I hasten to add that I was not anywhere near imitating Tiff!


Roger Parker

Nicodemus - more *static* weight on the front tends to lead to more understeer. Lifting off the throttle causes a *dynamic* weight transfer which immediately gives heaps more grip at the front and heaps less the back. This is what causes cars to tighten their line/oversteer/spin when you snap the throttle shut in a corner.

Mike Bees

This thread was discussed between 19/07/2001 and 23/07/2001

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical index

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