A Downhill Drift Race is not a circuit drift race, but a sprint version of a drift race. Need for Speed: Underground 2 is one of the two Need for Speed installments to feature this type of race; Need for Speed: Carbon has Canyon Drift races, which are very similar, if not the same, as Downhill Drift Races.
Players start at the top of a hill and, just like a regular sprint race, the player has to drive to the finish line without driving laps around a circuit. Unlike other drifting events, the player will sometimes run across traffic. The player will drift their car by going from top to bottom and has to beat three drift records on the track to win. Drift point penalties will be granted by hitting the wall or traffic vehicles.
Unlike in other drift races, the player will have to beat scores set by other AI racers, as all four racers will not be on the track at once.
- By drifting on terrain and/or driving near traffic vehicles, you will significantly get more drift points.
- Because of the fact that the player has to drift from top to bottom, it's most likely that his/her car will tend to go very fast. It's advised to get into corners slowly, so that the player won't need to touch the wall or traffic cars.
- Avoid drifting on straights, because most of them are very narrow.
- It's quite obvious that downhill drift races in Need for Speed are largely inspired by the Japanese drifting scene.