National Donut Day Is Time to Make the Donuts the Gearhead Way

Stunt driver Andrew Comrie-Picard gives us some tips on how to make donuts by burning rubber.

Scott Rains

Friday is National Donut Day, a day to celebrate circles with holes in the middle of all types. Since The Drive is an automotive site we're particularly interested in donuts involving burning rubber, so we talked with rally driver, stunt driver-coordinator, TV personality, and BFGoodrich Performance Team Member Andrew Comrie-Picard aka "ACP," to get some tips on how to make donuts the gearhead way.

If you're a rally fan like me, you've probably known about ACP for years. He's competed in Rally America, Canadian Rally Championship, and American Rally Association events, as well as the Baja 1000, X Games, and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Otherwise, you might know him from TV shows such as Car Saviors and Ultimate Car Buildoff. And although you might not realize it, you've also seen him in Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 as a stunt driver. He was also the stunt coordinator for the Netflix show Fastest Car, which we recommend binge watching.

So how, exactly, do you make a donut? First, you need the right car, something rear-wheel-drive with a limited-slip differential with enough power to break traction. You don't need a ton of power, though. Comrie-Picard says my old Subaru BRZ is a great car for this. A manual transmission is preferred, but not absolutely necessary. 

Next, you need a safe, legal open space on private property where you have permission to engage in such shenanigans. We all know what happens when you try to look cool while leaving Cars & Coffee.

With all the disclaimers out of the way, let's get to the meat and potatoes...I mean, donuts. 

First, rev up the engine, then dump the clutch to get the back wheels spinning. Then apply the brake with your left foot while continuing to modulate the throttle with your right foot to control wheelspin. Turn the steering wheel to one side, then let off the brake slightly to let the car roll. If you do it right, you should be able to pivot the car around the inside front wheel, or, if you wish, make a wider circle and countersteer into the slide.

Of course, having the right tires makes a huge difference as well. Comrie-Picard says there are more than 200 parts to a tire, even though all you see is a black rubber donut. There can be up to four types of rubber, an inner bladder, the sidewall, nylon and metal belts, the metal bead, and other components depending on the design of the tire. 

You want a tire that is predictable at the limit and that communicates exactly what the tire is doing. As a BFGoodrich Performance Team Member, ACP, of course, prefers BFGoodrich tires.

As far as making donuts and other stunt driving goes, ACP says that drifters, rather than racers, tend to make the best stunt drivers. Sliding a car around isn't fast, but it looks good, and that's what people want to see in movies and TV shows. A fast lap can be boring for the untrained eye to watch because it's so controlled. 

Drivers accustomed to racing have a hard time going against their natural car control instincts to immediately correct a slide rather than letting the car hang out a bit. Also, drifters are already used to a filming schedule consisting of "wait, wait, wait, wait, perform like a superhero," because that's what drift events are all about as well.

But if you're not a drifter, don't let that stop you from trying—in a safe controlled environment with permission, of course.