drifting is big because of a few reasons.
a) its now a bigger waste of tires and fuel then formula 1
b) its the perfect spectator sport.
c) the crowd has a definitive say in the outcome. if the crowde thinks it was too close to call, they will chant "ONE MORE TIME, ONE MORE TIME" and the judges will let the two guys going at it, have another run to determine a winner
ok well maybe u can show me how sometime, but if u ever watch any drifting they use the clutch and brake alot, thats what controls ## car. just cuttin the wheel going fast is not going to be a very fun or pleasant outcome of trying to slide ## car.
some, not all. my favorate drifters right now are none of the asian dudes. reese millen, samuel hubinete and conrad grunewald. now, samuel and reese are really cool guyes, but i dont know there driving style very well. conrad on the other hand, is my cousin, and i know his style very well. he will not use the hand brake (if he can help it), or pump the clutch.
using the hand brake and pumping the clutch is in no way used to "controll" the car. it used soly to initiate the drift (get the back end out). its not terribly dificult to get the same efect by using the spring energy of the car, you just need more speed, and (not to offend anyone) i think most drifters are a little more scared of speed. if you use hand brake and clutch pump, you can initiate a drift at a much lower speed.
your right, going fast and cutting the wheel will be quite detrimental to your health, mostly due to the fact that, once you "cut the wheel" you have a limited amount of time to recover and corect. the simplest way i can write how to catch a slide is;
once you realize the back end is coming out (you will feel it) you quickly corect (side note: to catch a slide, or drift, or what ever you want to call it, you turn INTO the skid. thats corecting) after corecting you pause, and then recover.
corect, pause, recover. sounds easy yeah?
when drifting, most of the drift is the "pause" fase. your slowly but accuratly pointing the car where you want it to go, and controlling and maintaining your slide with the throttle (feathering).
if you loose controll of your car on the road, you would quickly catch the slide by turning itno it, you would pause for a second to make sure you have corected enough, then recover by straigtening out the wheel. most people the first few times they attempt this keep crankin the wheel becuase the car isent turning, but they are turning the wheel, and this can be a little disconcerting at first. then, when they go to unwind the wheel, they have 2 full rotations to get out of the rack, there speed as reduced to much that the front tires can bite and regain traction, and it throws the car which ever direction the wheel is turned.
a wide open paddock or parking lot is your best bet for trying your hand at a controlled slide.
start out, by driving ina circle. keep the radius of your circle the same, and slowly add more power. you will get to a point where the tires cant handle the forces you are applying to them, and brake loose. once you find this point, its aaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll practice at balancing the car.
or, as we call it, threading the needle
hope this helps, without getting into the specifics and physics of drifting a car.