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Black Bullet Profile: Chris van der Drift
International Formula Master
www.chrisvddrift.com

 
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Who better to describe his background than Chris himself …

"Well, I was born in Hamilton on the March 8 1986 and grew up there until the age of 17.

I started karts at the age of 7 and in 1994 I raced my first year in cadets. From there I went on to win 6 New Zealand Championships and 6 North Island Championships until 2002. From my first national championship in Christchurch where I was equal first I knew that driving was for me.

After ten years of kart racing in New Zealand and also competing in Australia for two years in 2001 JICA and 2002 Ford Kart Stars (finishing both championships in 6th), I had to take the step into racing cars. At the time I had no sponsors so it was difficult just to step into a car as my parents didn't have enough to fund that as well.

My plan was to move over to Europe and just take it as it comes. I wanted to study performance engineering so I moved over to the Netherlands. As I also have a Dutch passport it was possible to do so with the intention of finding a highly rated school and getting into studying. However, that never happened.

When I first went over I went up to Sweden, lived there for about 5 months and worked with Stig Blomquist's Formula Ford team during the 2003 Nordic championship as a mechanic on one car. It was a good experience so I thank him for that.

Stig saw an advert about applying for the European Formula BMW scholarship so I did and ended up winning the Scholarship from BMW Motorsport. Not only was it my first time in a single seater and in Europe but I was the quickest so I had found a team to complete with for the following year. I did some winter testing and was really quick so it helped a lot.

I then spent Christmas back in NZ that year (2003-04) and managed to get together the rest of the money needed for the season budget. But the luck ran out when the supporters couldn't help at the last minute and I was left with nothing.

I had the money from BMW but that was not enough for the season. Then my parents and grandmother sold both their houses to pay for my season of racing. It was more than I could ask for as they risked everything for me but they obviously thought I was good enough. I have to thank them so much for doing this for me as I wouldn't be where I am today with out them.

The season got off to a great start as I finished my first ever car race in 3rd and also the second race in 3rd and the year went on like this. At season end I won the European Formula BMW Rookie championship and was 4th overall.

Again for 2005, I had the support from BMW Motorsport so I completed another year of Formula BMW. This year was more difficult but it was also very important as my manager (Gianni Bianchi) contacted me out of the blue at the very beginning of the year and we arranged a 10-year contract. This was now the start and the opportunity everybody was looking for! Although it was a difficult year, I have to look on the positive side of it and take the best from it as you always learn different things.

Then came the new challenge Formula Renault, I had a test with my new team JD Motorsport in November last year and I didn't even need to bother trying out for another team as I knew this was the team for me! I had 6 days testing until the 1st of December then I flew back to NZ for a nice little Holiday and to see everybody again.

It was a nice break and thanks to Owen Evans a deal was put together a deal to drive at the NZGP in the Toyota racing series. This was great but just a pity that after leading for a moment my gearbox locked up which sent my car into the wall ending my race.

Owen again helped me out in competing in a kart race again at the New Zealand CIK Trophy. After 3 years not racing a kart it was good fun. I qualified on pole but again luck didn't go my way having a flat tyre in the final. I didn't finish the race.

I have now two more goals I have to do in my life time: win the NZGP and win the NZ CIK Trophy.

Meanwhile, the 2006 season has kicked off to a great start. In all the official testing, I have been up there with the best. I had a victory in my first ever Formula Renault race and returned from Zolder, Belgium in the European Championship where I came away with a second place in my first race.

I am there with the best and I have the speed. I am really enjoying the racing and look forward to the upcoming races. Everything is on track I have the support, a great team and most of all I am doing what I love to do best.

I'm going to show everybody what I can do - I haven't come this far for nothing and its only just starting!!

Chris is proudly supported by Racing Pool, Valvoline, National Meats Ltd, BMW Ekris and Momo.





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