Published on October 2nd, 2014 | by Jos Roder0
Crossing Over……with Gaz Whiter
How do professional drifters adapt to a totally foreign motorsport discipline? What makes a good drifter? I asked 4x D1NZ champion Gaz Whiter about his drive in a Sprintcar and a V8 Super Tourer as part of the Wynns Driver Swap.
I have always been fascinated with driver’s of various motorsport disciplines crossing over into another discipline unlike their own and their ability to adapt in a different driving environment and style requirements.
My interest was piqued immediately when I found out that Wynn’s had put together a PR campaign around three of their sponsored drivers in three very different motorsport arenas coming together and having a crack driving the other disciplines and their respective machinery.
The three disciplines and drivers involved were:
1. Andy Booth – V8 Super Tourer
2. Jamie McDonald – Sprintcar
3. Gaz Whiter – Drift car
What further surprised me was the relatively low interest in the videos.
After watching the three part series, what became clear for me was that Gaz Whiter certainly was able to adapt more quickly to the other disciplines than the other two drivers.
Drifting is a great skill to learn and drifting techniques bode well for transferring into everything from circuit racing, to dirt track racing, rally and any any other motorsport discipline.
Gaz game Drift Life the run down on the swap and some of the reasons around why he feels drifting is such an interesting motorsport.
Interestingly, Gaz explained that he had never been involved in any other motorsport and growing up as a teenage had only driven around cars and motorbikes at his father’s workshop. So Gaz was suitably pumped when he found out he would be driving a Super Tourer and a Sprintcar.
“Both cars are world’s away in every area, but the Sprintcar was the biggest rush. There was so much power. On dirt the thing was wild and unpredictable.” (A Sprintcar traditionally has 850hp and weighs only 600kg).
Of course Gaz still enjoyed the Super Tourer experience.
“It was very nice to drive and I felt comfortable driving it nearly straight away. The handling was unreal.”
Gaz had some interesting thoughts when it came to why he picked up the other disciplines quickly and why it may have been challenging for the other guys to drift.”
“I have been for a ride with many learner drifters and there is a very obvious difference between someone who will pick up the skills quickly and someone who will struggle. This is generally down to someone’s ability to think ahead and act ahead with what the car is going to do next and responding quickly to ensure the car stays sideways whilst not spinning. Andy and Jamie perhaps found it challenging in my car as it is still setup quite differently to their machines and the grip on the top drift cars now is unreal, so you really have to throw the car hard to get it happening, especially in the dry.”
Having previously spent time analysing Shane Van Gisbergen’s early foray into Drifting (before he came a regular fixture to the scene) on an earlier Drift Life article here, I was keen to hear Gaz’s thoughts on V8 Supercar driver Shane Van Gisbergen (SVG) and his ability to adapt from circuit racing to a drift machine.
“SVG is just a natural driver. He loves drifting because it’s such a challenge for him and so different to circuit racing. In drifting if you make one small mistake you are on the trailer for the day and have to try again next time . In racing you might lose a place but you can fight to get it back, so to win a season of drifting you have to be the best driver during that year.”
I asked Gaz about his future plans after having a taste of the other disciplines. I think he sums up quite well.
“Nothing compares to driving sideways at high speed. I’ve drifted for 11 years and I still love it just as much as the day I started.”
Check the three parts of the Wynns driver swap below.
Thanks to Gaz Whiter for the interview. To learn more and support Gaz Whiter check out his Facebook page as he heads into Round 1 of the Demon Energy D1NZ Drifting Series for 2014/15.