Last week Link ECU caught up with drifting legend, Gaz Whiter, to have a chat about where it all began, his career highlights, his relationship with Link ECU and where to next.
Gaz has been in the game for over 15 years and it all began with his mates. “I had a group of mates who were into cars. Drifting wasn’t a big thing back then, but some of the boys started looking at stuff on the internet, watching what was happening in Japan and learning from that”
From there, hours of seat time helped him hone his skills, so as the cars became more powerful and the competition increased, his experience held him in good stead. “Back in the day my first car was about 180 horsepower. But as the cars became more powerful everything grew – grip, tyres, everything…but the driving stayed the same.”
This focus on driving-first is one of the keys to his success. “Every time I get in a car I learn something new.” And he has certainly had plenty of learning time.
Over the past 15 years Gaz has had the most wins of any D1NZ Driver, winning four NZ Championships, been named Redbull Driftshifters Champion 2018, been a Redbull Worldchamps competitor and won many other one-off events. He’s also been the Kaipara Sportsperson of the year.
So, what’s been the biggest highlight? “Definitely Driftshifters in Liverpool, UK . To compete in the top 12 in the world and then win was just awesome.”
But through adversity comes triumph which also proved a highlight for Gaz, “The third title we won; it was just a horrible season where everything went wrong both on and off the track, including losing four family members. We had a lot of mechanical issues while competing over there and each time our crew were able to fix them via remote tuning using Link ECU, which made it a lot easier for my tuner and my team. And through it all, we still managed to win.”
Gaz and Link
This innovative approach is in part thanks to the long history Gaz and Link ECU have. “When I was younger I had a mate who started tuning up his cars and hooked them up with Link ECU. Now I get my car tuned with my local tuner Glenn Suckling and we still use Link ECU.”
The Gaz-Glenn-Link ECU relationship is based on years of experience and a desire to be the best. “In drift, tuning is super important. Drift is really hard on cars and how you drive is different to track. Glenn’s the type of guy who wants to get it right, so I took him in the car a few times to feel how different drift is to track cars. Once he got this, he adjusted his tuning with Link ECU to keep the car running cold and at optimal performance.”
When asked why he likes the Link ECU gear so much Gaz’s response was simple, “It’s Link ECU all day long. Link ECU is the best bang for your buck. It does everything at a great price and the capability is there when you need it.”
In essence, Link ECUs have technical capability far beyond their price tag, taking the punishment on track without punishing the wallet.
Gaz now has a young family and a fulltime job as a builder, but drifting is still on his mind. “I want to keep doing drifting as a pastime and I’d love to do the next season, but I need to find the budget and the time. If I’m going to do it, I want to do it properly.”
When asked what advice he has for anyone wanting to get into the game or become a world champion, he replied, “Drifting is expensive, with cars costing anywhere from $50,000 – $500,000. You’ll rip through a set of brand new tyres in two laps and go through 30 sets over a weekend. So for starters, don’t concentrate too much on power. Get an underpowered car and learn to driver properly first, it will pay off in the long run. With an underpowered car you can drive more and refine your skills. Go to track days, focus on seat time and work your way up.
-Link Engine Management 2018