Performing a "doughnut" or "donut" in a car is the act of rotating the rear of the car around the front wheels continuously. Therefore creating circular skid marks if done right, and causing lots of tire smoke. All in all, it is a pretty pointless technique, with no real use except to show off. But if you want to know how to do this properly read on.
Doughnuts are performed much differently in a rear wheel driven car than in a front wheel driven car. And to tell the truth, the only "real" doughnuts can be performed with high powered rear wheel drive cars such as; Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros, Trans Ams, 240s, 300zx, 350z, GTO's, along with really made all wheel drive cars like Evo's and WRX's, etc…. The list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Rear wheel driven cars that are equipped with limited-slip differentials usually have the advantage here with the everyday drivers while trying to pull off doughnuts. This is because both rear wheels are spinning together generally at the same rate of speed. But that doesn't mean doing doughnuts isn't possible with other vehicles. It just might be a little more tricky. Beware that you will destroy your tires and put alot of added stress on drivetrain parts. Especially if not done right. Be sure to turn off any extra electrical components so that your vehicle isn't working as hard and also remember to shut off traction control is so equipped.
Rear Wheel Drive Doughnuts
First off lets take a look at how doughnuts are performed with rear wheel driven cars. The trick here is to make the doughnut happen quickly my oversteering the car just enough get the rear of the car to slid out. But not too much that you suddenly do a 180 and lose control. The easiest method is while keeping your transmission in 1st gear is to slowly start driving around in a circle and then turn the wheel tighter and hitting the gas. Or some people like to use the hand brake to get the car in a slid and then hitting the gas. It's really up to you and how much power you have to use under the hood. It will take practice balancing the throttle or "massaging" the throttle to keep the rear wheels spinning to keep the inside front wheel roughly in the same spot. As you can see this is demonstrated in the video below.
So in a rear wheel drive car you can perform a doughnut in two slightly different ways. Luckily you won't need to be too hard on the clutch to pull one off. You can either have a rolling start, or spin the wheels from a standstill and then turn into a doughnut…
1. It's slightly easier on your car to have a rolling start, this will allow you to fully release the clutch before inducing wheel spin. Approach the area where you want to perform the doughnut in first gear at low speed(10-15mph), ensure that you're completely let off the clutch then turn in hard and apply full throttle rapidly.
2. If you have enough power you'll find that the rear wheels start to spin. Keep the revs up high in the power band(3-6k for most cars) and apply a certain amount of oversteering . Alternatively you can spin the wheels from a standstill (Brake Torque or Brake Stand) while applying some steering angle to have the same effect.
3. You should find that the rear wheels lose traction and begin to cause the car to rotate, keep the revs high (you can even remain on the limiter if fitted but this is not recommended) and you should complete a doughnut. You can modify the direction by steering at different angles and altering the throttle.
4. If you want to drive away from a doughnut ensure you make the necessary counter-steering adjustments early as the car will have a tendency to oversteer. This is demonstrated in the video below.
Front Wheel Drive Doughnuts
On to the front wheel drive doughnuts. Usually performed in reverse, these often look a bit crazier then in rear wheel drive cars. First you'll need to turn the steering wheel to one direction and shift into reverse. Then it the gas and around you will go backwards. Once your spinning you will need to back off the throttle a bit and start "massage" it to keep your rpm's in the powerband (3-6k for most). Doing reverse doughnuts generate more lateral G's which means that if you have a weak stomach, you may wants to carry a barf bag with you.
If you want to try to do a forward rear wheel drive style doughnut you can use your handbrake. It's much harder to break the traction of the rear wheels like this. To do this you'll to get some straight forward speed and then turn sharply while simultaneously pulling up on your hand brake. To keep this style of doughnut going you'll to quickly release and re-engage the hand brake at the right moments to keep the rear of the car sliding. You will rear up your tires doing this on dry pavement, so this is recommended to do on a wet surface. One of the popular tricks for front wheel driven cars to doughnuts while tearing up the rear tires is to put plastic fast food restaurant trays under the rear wheels while looking up the handbrake.
All Wheel Drive Doughnuts
Unless you have a high-powered car such as a Skyline GTR, Impreza WRX STI, Lancer Evo or other highly modified all wheel drive car you can just about forget about doing doughnuts except for maybe on snow or ice. If you do have one the above stated vehicles then go ahead. The technique is basically the same as that for rear wheel driven cars, except that you have to play with much higher rpms to break all four wheels loose.
Regardless of the type of car you have, doing doughnuts can be tricky and dangerous. You can also easily tear up your car and your tires. Please do not attempt this on public roads.