Local drift racer Shaun French attacks a bend at Raleigh Raceway.
Local drift racer Shaun French attacks a bend at Raleigh Raceway. BRUCE THOMAS

French gears up for Drift Day

IT’S simply not how a vehicle is meant to be used.

Having joined Shaun French at Raleigh Raceway where he took me for a few laps of drift racing, there’s something to be said for the way the young driver reaches speeds of well over 100km/h down the straight then attacks a corner in third gear with tyres screeching and smoking before moving onto the next bend.

French is preparing for the Drift Day, which is going to be held at Raleigh Raceway on Sunday, June 13, and has attracted plenty of drivers from Brisbane and the Gold Coast

“Drifting is a lot about a driver’s personality and there’s a bit of a lifestyle to it as well,” French said.

“You come out and you can blow your car up during practice and most drivers will still hang around for the rest of the day and have fun.

“It’s usually just a good day out.”

Drift Day is offering so much more than merely drivers going head to head in battle, throwing their cars around the track with tyres smoking around each bend.

There will be a power skid exhibition as well as a dyno drive, where you can see just how much horsepower is sitting under the hood.

Drift racing no doubt has French addicted.

He admits his current vehicle has cost him hundreds of hours of labour and he’s invested approximately $30,000 on converting a street car into a beast that roars.

“I bought a factory Nissan 180SX and put a six-cylinder turbo Skyline engine in it, a Skyline gearbox, full exhaust system, full drift suspension so coil-overs – everything under there – is adjustable, lock diff, full roll cage, racing seats, harnesses, gauges,” he said.

“Basically everything that you can think of to do to a car.”

French admits his racing machine is always a work in progress as there is always something that needs repairing.

After only four laps of the track that we did together, the power steering blew. Not happy with the ride French gave this humble sports writer, I was then taken for a spin with fellow drifter Bradley Eade, who managed to blow a tyre that 15 minutes earlier was brand new. “Every time I come here I break something, go home and fix it,” French said. “Even now the car is up on the jack because I can’t get back out there.”

He now has three weeks to get his 180SX ready for the big day at Raleigh.

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