Just your average Hot Pursuit or Death Race. Nothing to see here, folks, move on—
HOLY FREAKIN' COW!! Did you see that car? Only it wasn't a car, but it's tearing up the road all the same?!
Sure enough, that high-performance vehicle is not an automobile, but something else entirely: perhaps a train, or a main battle tank, or a mech even. Alternatively, the speed demon is certainly a car, but not one you'd normally expect to see applying scientifically precise sinusoid pathing to Main Street. But this is an Action Movie, of course we're going to ignore things like friction, momentum, torque, engine efficiency, so on and so forth. The Action Hero earned his driver's license in Breakneck Speedsters, and it's class E for 'everything'.
In mundane hands, this baby would get twelve miles to the gallon, a horrible turning radius, and Jello Jiggler handling. But with Multi-Track Drifting, our racing pro is pulling hairpin turns, running the slalom around lightposts, ditching the cops (in actual ditches no less), making a beautiful mess of things in general.
See Improbable Piloting Skills for this trope's airborne counterpart.
The Trope Namer is Densha de D, an Affectionate Parody of Initial Dusing trains instead of cars. Towards the end of one race, Takumi shifts his train to roll down both sets of tracks on a corner at high speed, intentionally spreading his train across two sets of tracks to minimise the risk of flipping over sideways from the forces involved. A shocked Keisuke blurts out the infamous line.
A parody of this parody was done by an Image Board artist, with Yoshi using the outside of a turn to fire off multiple powerslide turboes. The phrase in this example is "Multi-turbo drifting!"
The line has pretty much become a somewhat minor meme used as a way to describe a "drift" in a thread between one topic and another, especially if they go back and forth.
In anime, the conventional battle tank is often on the losing side. Presenting the "snub tank", the subcompact version, which usually features improved speed and handling, and a short main gun that's no less powerful. Likely originates in Dominion Tank Police.
Mako Reizei tried this trick thrice in Girls und Panzer. Remember, she's driving an actual tank and using this trick as a tactical maneuver, to wit:
First, when she drifted the Panzer IV around St. Gloriana's Churchill, before letting her teammate open fire at point-blank range. Unfortunately, the shot did not do squat at the enemy armor;
Second, in the 6th Episode, where the same driver again drifts the tank to dodge an incoming shell from Saunders High's Sherman Firefly; and
Lastly, in the finals, (as homage to her previous trick as stated in the first example) where she drifted around Kuromorimine's Tiger I flag tank so hard that she broke the Panzer IV's suspension in the process.
The particularly memorable "tank chase" from GoldenEye is one of the stronger examples, with James Bond chasing after the Damsel in Distress in a "Model T" (a Russian T-series heavy tank, that is). Extra style points for lifting a memorial statue, sticking it in an overhang, and crushing some cars on his tail. That the guy he's chasing is in a small Soviet-bloc car just makes it even more awesome.
The Italian Job (2003 remake) features some particularly shiny Mini Coopers navigating through buildings like some parkour maniac. The cars used were heavily modified to withstand the highly atypical driving conditions.
The original version, with Michael Caine, has even better Mini car-fu of this nature, including a scene where the cars can be seen driving over the roof of the local Fiat factory.
Herbie in Herbie: Fully Loaded, most especially the final NASCAR racing sequence where the anthropomorphic Volkswagen was seen climbing onto the fence above the wall, trying to avoid being trade-painted.
Battleship manages to do it with... well, a battleship, thanks to creative application of the anchor.
This maneuver is called club hauling and was used in the age of sail to turn in a small radius. Using it on a battleship at flank speed would probably just drag the anchor.
In Fast And Furious 6, the heroes are driving their usual muscle cars when they suddenly discover that their opponent is driving a tank.
Indian film Alluda Mazaaka...! has a rather famous one where the lead character, portrayed by India's Chuck Norris, Chiranjeevi slides his horse under a truck. Yes, you read that right, he slides a horse!
One of Jurgen's many talents is driving a forty-ton Salamander scout tank like a sportscar. Pray you aren't in the way if he realizes he's running late, because the Commissar is never allowed to be late.
The 50,000 ton Land Battleships of the eponymous Bolo series are noted to be able to hit 200 miles per hour on flat terrain. 'Flat' in this case being anything less bumpy than the average mountain range.
An episode of Top Gear involved Jeremy Clarkson in a Land Rover Sport attempting to outmanoeuvre a Challenger 2. He failed. The episode showcased the tank's smokelaunchers, manoeuvrability, speed and ability to handle rough terrain. And it was awesome. However, Clarkson managed to survive for a full five minutes, by weaving around forests where the tank could not get a good shot on him.
They also did a similar thing with a Lotus Exige versus an Apache helicopter gunship - racing around the confines of the track, trying to get missile lock. They weren't allowed to use the chin cannon or pop up from miles away and use the hellfire rockets, that would have been unfair...
Top Gear has also done such wonders as racing piled up cars with the top steering and the bottom accelerating and braking, MPVs (people carriers), camper vans (RVs) and buses. And they were all awesome.
Top Gear US has an episode where the resident Badass Driver, Tanner Foust, is challenged to put a variety of vehicles into a drift. He manages to drift a stretch Lincoln limousine (with Rutledge in the back), and a full-sized city bus. A later episode has the three hosts racing tractors (which they described in terms of cars); Tanner begins to do donuts in his 6 ton tractor after the race.
Due to high crosswinds, the pilots seen in Flying Wild Alaska do this on pretty much every other landing.
Unless you're dealing with a 316-ton super-heavy battle tank, Warhammer 40,000 doesn't have very strict rules governing vehicle movement, so as long as you don't exceed the speed limit your Land Raider can zig-zag around those barricades and pull a sicknasty 180 at the end of its move.
The titular Metal Slug is your familiar anime-inspired snub tank, capable of jumping over lesser military machinery (the bomber pilots certainly didn't expect to be attacked from above), and ducking under rounds from other tanks.
The recent flight-combat game HAWX gives the player the ability to drift fighter jets in mid-air. However, the ability differs from jet to jet. Slowpokes like the MiG-21 Fishbed can barely hold a drift, while the SU-37 Terminator can flip in mid-air.
Note that in theory, with some rather specific modifications and particularly thrust-vector engines (which are currently available technology seen on the F-35 and the F-22, for example), this is entirely possible.
Not to mention the way stalling is illustrated in the game, which has planes dropping like a rock the second the airframe loses stable velocity. Bwha?
That's when the flight controls are set to the basic, arcade-like mode. When it's in Advanced mode, the plane pretty much stalls and holds in place in mid-air for a few seconds until speed increases, which is even worse.
Metal Gear Solid 3 has a multi track drifting scene featuring the precursor of the Metal Gear—the Shagohod, which can go at high speeds by using two gigantic augers and a rocket booster. It arguably makes less sense than any of the Metal Gears that follow it.
Grand Theft Auto games: especially in San Andreas, where you can use a dump truck, an Abrams, a truck with trailer, and even a train if you derail it in the right place.
Despite being a game that makes strenuous efforts toward realism to the point where its engine has been used for actual military training simulations, Operation Flashpoint lets you pull this off in any tank, assuming you can reach a sufficiently high speed, due to tank treads apparently having significantly less grip than they do in Real Life.
The opening cinematic of Metal Saga features a scene where the protagonist drifts his World War II-era 57 ton Tiger I tank. Somewhat justified, since in game you can customize the tanks with more powerful engines, though unfortunately you never get the chance to do so in game.
The Chevalier wheeled scout tank in MechWarrior Living Legends is capable of going through absurdly tight turns at high speed, faster than a modern car could do. It's even possible to do drifting in the Chevalier, despite it being a 35 ton tank. Strangely, the Chevy handles better the faster its moving, allowing a Chevy moving at max speed to turn extremely quickly. It's also possible to do donuts the aerospace fighters, owing to their huge thrust and screwy aerodynamic stall mechanics - cut the throttle as you mash the yaw axis, wait a moment, then kick on the afterburners at max power and bam, you're doing donuts in the sky.
World of Tanks makes it possible with particularly fast vehicles; French light/medium tanks from the ELC AMX on and the US M18 Hellcat are notorious for being able to powerslide. The British Light-and-Medium line from the Tier IV Coventanter to the Tier VII Comet recently joined them.
The French ELC AMX to the AMX 13 90 sequence of light tanks is notorious for being able to get air off nearly any size of hill, because of their incredibly light weight compared to most vehicles in the game.
Currently the fastest tank in the game is Pz 1 ausf.C, which is also coincidentally one of the most lightweight at under 8 tons. The tank is so prone to drifting and getting air off bumps in the road it routinely damages itself and can even break its own tracks on particularly hard landings.
PlanetSide 2 features the Lightning, a one-man light tank. With the "Racer" chassis upgrade, it's capable of doing powerslides. The alternate chassis upgrade, "Rival" improves its turning radius, allowing it to drift once sufficiently upgraded. It should be noted that all vehicles in Planetside 2, no matter the weight or drivetrain have utterly appalling traction, so slides in heavy tanks and 6-wheel-drive armoured busses are no challenge to pull.
Averted in the case of hopped up Shawn Nelson, who after rampaging through suburban San Diego, got his stolen M60 Patton stuck on a freeway median when he tried to cross over into oncoming traffic.
During WWII, LT. Richard Candelaria was dogfighting in his P-51 Mustang with a skilled German pilot in am Me109. With the German flying circles around him and latched on his tail, Candelaria tries a risky maneuver, kicking his Mustang's tail around so the German would overshoot him. His plane does the equivalent of a short spin in the air and shoots down the German plane. Although he's not spinning in the air per-se, it still qualifies as an unconventional tactic. Eat your heart out, thrust vectoring.
Of course, making flying machines spin in strange maneuvers has been around since WWI, with the little Fokker Triplanes being extremely agile for their time.
The Fokker Dr.I's agility was situational; like all aircraft that had rotary engines (such as the Le Rhone and Oberursel, which had a fixed crankshaft that the entire engine spun around), the torque from the engine meant that the plane could turn right much more readily than it could turn left. The compact airframe of the Dr.I compounded the effect, making it possible to almost spin the plane to the right without loss of control. The Dr.1 also had the unique "feature" that the entire vertical tail unit was rudder, making waving the tail a snap.
In the Dogfights documentary series, one WWII pilot had the trick of simultaneously pitching down and yawing, turning his whole plane into one huge, unstable, airbrake. In the same series, one US pilot in Vietnam had perfected an exploitation of the Phantom jet's flat spin failure mode, putting his plane into a flat spin for a few seconds at a time to WTF his enemies and forcing overshoots by losing airspeed, then quickly recovering to normal flight on their tails.
The P-51's maneuver is actually a tactic you're taught in flight school called a slip. It's used in civilian aviation to either drop altitude quickly (like maybe you're too high above a runway to land) and quickly recover, or keep your plane traveling straight in a crosswind. Yes, it also acts as an airbrake and you can recover from it really, really easily (you enter it by yawing one direction and rolling slightly the opposite; you exit by releasing the controls). Pilots during WWI would use slips to strafe targets air and ground, in addition to the aforementioned "let the Messerschmitt pass right by" use during WWII.
Russian T-90 tank isn't called a "Flying tank" for nothing. Its demonstrations often include climbing high obstacles without losing speed, often flying several meters after that... Firing the cannon during landing is optional.
In order to land in heavy crosswinds, most professional pilots, especially airline pilots, are trained to fly their planes in at insane angles. See here and here.
If you try to fly in a straight line in a heavy crosswind, you end up flying wing-first kinda automatically. The real trick is the landing, as the pilot has to right up the plane immediately as it touches the ground, lest it rolls off the runway.
The Nimitz class Supercarrier can do this◊. That's a boat big enough to have two runways drifting.
Sailing ships stuck without enough room to turn and facing the wind can club haul. An anchor is attached to the lee quarter (rear of the ship facing the shore) but dropped from the lee bow (front facing the shore). The vessel gathers sternway (it moves backwards) and is turned around by the now trailing anchor. The anchor cable is cut, and the ship proceeds on its way facing the opposite direction in a very narrow (for a sailing ship) turning radius.... minus one anchor. Not exactly The Fast And The Furious, but pretty nimble for a 72 gun man of war.
Do the same setup, but with two anchors, reversing the setup on the other side of the ship. The ship can't go anywhere, but by reeling in and reeling out the anchor cables, the ship can be turned any which way. You now have a 72 gun turret, unlike your enemies, who likely are at the mercy of the wind and currents to maneuver against you. Obviously only works when you are on the defense.