Published on April 12th, 2017 | by Jos Roder0
Aussie Drifters Taking On The World
Per capita, Australia certainly punches above its weight in terms of quality drifters. This is reflected by the huge number of Aussie drifters that regularly pack up their bags and travel overseas to compete around the world.
From the U.S to Japan, Europe and New Zealand, many Aussies have made marks and had significant success with their international drift endeavours.
In 2017 there is again a huge contingent of local drivers that are venturing across the globe to take part in some of the best competition series in the world and Drift Life has put together an overview of these drivers, a bit of background and their plans and results in 2017.
Huge news for Australian drift came in the form of Josh Robinson’s announcement that he would be competing in the Pro 2 category of the U.S Formula Drift Championship. Despite many Australian’s attempting to start a campaign in Formula Drift, Drift Life believes Josh is the first Australian to obtain a Pro 2 Licence. Pro 2 is the feeder category to the main Formula Drift show and in true American style, is a massive series now in its own right.
What is Josh driving over there I hear you ask? Well in true Aussie style, and in line with his Australian based drift car, Josh has built and shipped over another Tri-Ace sponsored Holden Ute with a huge V8 and carbon panels to take on the yanks at that skid racing thang.
Having a Ute in the U.S of A has drawn a significant amount of attention, having already been featured on Hoonigan and 1320 Video’s huge video channels.
Josh will make his debut at Orlando, for the first round of Formula Drift – Pro 2!
Arguably the closest thing to a household name for Australian drift and regular international drifter Luke Fink has been busy drifting overseas already this year, taking part in the 2017 Federal Tyres King of Desert Championship. Luke was invited to drive the Kinetechnik Motorsport BMW and boy did that V10 sound amazing.
After missing one round of the four round series and enduring various mechanical issues throughout the campaign, Luke was still able to walk away with second place in the Championship after some amazing driving on some of the region’s incredible circuits, including the final at the Bahrain International Circuit (and host to the Bahrain Formula 1 GP).
Luke is also currently second to Daigo Saito (by only 2 points) in the King Of Nations World Series and the BMW will be shipped to Malaysia for an upcomoing King Of Nations round.
To top it all of, Luke is keen to stir some more controversy when he competes in at least one round of the 2017 Irish Drift Championship. We can’t wait! #trashtalk
Chris Dejager is an OG Aussie drifter and one of the best in the country, having significant experience driving and competing in Japan. Among his various achievements, Chris has also won the Gaijin Drift Grand Prix (G1GP) Championship for foreigners at Ebisu 3 times.
For 2017, Chris was keen to step up and put his years of practicing in a very basic car to the test against some of the best Japanese and international drivers at this years Formula Drift Japan Championship.
Although a trusty practice car, Chris knew his R32 Skyline was not quite up to the upcoming challenge on some of the higher speed/power courses in FD Japan, opting to compete in a recently acquired Toyota JZX90.
You can support Chris via his Thrash Kings FB page. Note that Round 1 of Formula Drift Japan takes place this weekend!
Perth based drifter Brendon Greaves has certainly progressed quickly since starting his drifting career in 2009. With a wild twin turbo S15, Brendon previously tackled the now defunct ADGP national series in which 2016 saw him become ADGP Rookie of the Year. In the same year, Brendon shipped his car to Indonesia for a round of the Asian Drifting Grand Prix, managing to win the event outright at his first attempt.
Looking for a new overseas challenge this year and in between building his two new BMW M3 drift cars, Brendon has confirmed he has entered Formula Drift Japan for the year. Competing in all but the first round, Brendon will ship his Nitrous V8 S15 over to the land of the rising sun for an all out attack on the Japanese arm of the largest drift show in the world, Formula Drift.
“Unfortunately we will miss round 1 but we’ve made sure the Nitrous S15 complies to the rules so we’ve decided to take the motor out and put a bigger N/A motor in to make the car more competitive plus a couple of other small changes before shipping in May,”said Brendon.
“We are so pumped for this and can’t wait to get the car over there and see how we go against the awesome drivers over there!”
One of the top professional drifters in Australia, with long term sponsorship from Exedy for his wild V8 Turbo S15, Levi Clarke has certainly achieved a lot in a relatively short time in the sport.
Based out of the Gold Coast, Levi had success competing at his locally based Stadium Drift and Stanthorpe series, before stepping up to the national ADGP Championship. In 2014, Levi won the Australian round of the Formula Drift Asia Championship, adding to what has become a long list of drift accolades.
Wasting no time exploring overseas options in 2017, Levi has been a busy lad.
This was followed by a stop in New Zealand to compete in Round 4 of D1NZ at the incredible custom built, Tauranga Baypark stadium track. Levi was competing in a tough 20B powered RX-7 but in a tough break, was unable to qualify for the main event.
Jake ‘Driftsquid’ Jones
Jake Jones should need no introduction to those who are regular Drift Life followers having recently covered Jake’s incredible career in detail HERE.
As a regular competitor in Chinese competitions over the past few years (with significant success), in 2017 he has been piloting the 2JZ(#noshit), T88 equipped Speedline Supra as part of the Pan Delta Spring Festival at Zhuhai International Circuit.
Jake totally cleaned up over the course of the weekend, coming 1st in the Gymkhana event, qualifying 1st for the drift competition and then going on to win the battles as well! Pretty successful event then Jake?
Matty Hill is a NSW based drifter who hasn’t been in the scene for a long time, but is certainly having a good time. Competing at a high level, Matty competes at events all over the country, including the Hi-Tec Drift AllStars, Australian Drifting Grand Prix and Drift Challenge Australia events.
Having a Supercharged 350z at his disposal for local drift events, Matty was able to ship his 2JZ S15 Silvia over to compete in the entire 2016/17 D1NZ Championship. After four rounds, Matty is proud to have achieved two Top 8 finishes, offsetting his unfortunate Round 3 engine issues that ruled him out before competition had even begun.
Beau Yates is a talented, OG Aussie drifter, achieving significant success over the years, which has included Australian Drifting Championships in his famous AE86. Beau is also the only Australian driver to ever receive significant manufacturer backing, which comes from his long term relationship with Toyota/TRD. More recently, Beau stepped up the game in his new Toyota backed FT-86, campaigning in the big events across the country.
Despite his profile, and success over the years, it turns out Beau’s first overseas drift competition only came in February this year for round 3 of the high profile D1NZ Championship. Beau was invited over the dutch (not ditch, we are speaking in the local NZ tongue remember) to drive the Toyotaz Galore FT-86 at the custom built course at ASB Baypark Stadium.
After qualifying an impressive 5th, Beau fought hard during the battles in front of the huge 10,000+ crowd, but was knocked out in the Top 16 to experienced D1NZ campaigner Andrew Redward.
“It was an unreal experience and the Kiwi’s were very accepting of me coming over. it was nice to see I had a little bit of a following over there as well! I would love to get the budget to build or run a car in D1NZ as I feel we could be competitive,” said Beau.
You will continue to see Beau competing in the Hi-Tec Drift AllStars as well as Jamborees and World Time Attack events plus anything else he can pick up in between.
Canberran local and fabricator by trade, Brad Tuohy quickly showed his skills behind the wheel of an S13 Silvia, painted in his now trademark orange colour. Brad took out the Hi-Tec Drift All Stars NSW Series in 2013 before winning the 2014 Stadium Drift Australia King Of Drift.
Looking for a new drift platform and to step up Brad decided the recently released FT-86 would be the perfect choice. In mid 2013, with a FT-86 chassis now in his possession, he put the welding mask over his face and got to work.
Just under two years later, in March 2015, Brad debuted one of the first competitive FT-86 drift cars in Australia, powered by a unique twin supercharged V8 engine setup. To his credit, Brad had built the entire car from the ground up himself, including fabrication, wiring, paint, alloy work, fuel system, exhaust and even the wrap.
After ironing out the bugs and getting used to the car, Brad ended up runner-up in the 2016 Hi-Tec Drift AllStars series. Looking for some new challenges this year, Brad started exploring his overseas options.
Originally planning to ship his wild ‘V86’ to Japan and compete in the entire FD Japan series, the new plan will see Brad purchase a ready to drive drift weapon over there, simplifying many elements around logistics and costs. Brad acknowledged these plans are still yet to be finalised but is super keen to fly over and compete.
“I love the country and the series looks very professional with some killer drivers. America is a big step, so to be able to gauge yourself against the FDJ drivers will give us an idea of where we are at,” said Brad.
If that isn’t enough, Brad informed Drift Life he will be competing in the next full D1NZ Championship season.
You can follow Brad’s drifting journey on Facebook.
Michael ‘Proz’ Prosenik
One of Australia’s most seasoned international drivers, Michael Prosenik has an extensive resume of successes drifting in New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia, adding to his considerable local drift resume in Australia.
Follow Proz’s international season on his Facebook page.
Although 19 year old Mitch Larner has only been driving for a couple of years, he has quickly shown his skills behind the wheel. Winning the 2016 D1WA Championship and 2017 ADGP Driftkhana Championship. Mitch had a taste for international competition in late 2016 when he ventured to Ireland to compete in a round of the Irish Drift Championship.
For 2017, Mitch has arranged to compete in the entire IDC and has just flown over to Ireland to prepare himself and the car he is using for Round 1 at Mondello Park.
The Irish are unbeaten on their own turf, so it would be good to see if Mitch can upset an entire nation! We wish him luck.
Nic Wilson is slightly different to most on the overseas Aussie drift list, having spent the majority of his drifting career competing overseas, more specifically Japan. After heading to Ebisu a few years back, he was instantly hooked on the local scene and has spent every available holiday period practicing and competing in various Japanese competitions, including the Gaijin Drift Grand Prix, D1 Street Legal and D1 Divisional events.
In 2014, Nic was crowned the overall D1 Divisional Championship, quite a feat and combined with success in G1GP competitions, Nic is a very experienced driver.
The plan in 2017 is to sell his Australian JZX100 and put together a competitive car to compete in the final few rounds of Formula Drift Japan series, where he will be joining at least two other Aussie drivers.
Follow Nic via his Facebook page.
That is not the end of the Australian invasion, with another huge number of drivers set to head over to compete in the Gaijin Drift Grand Prix Championship at Ebisu in Japan this year.
Drift Life wishes all the Aussie drifters the best of luck in 2017, go get em lads!