February 21, 2017
EXTREME TEMPERATURES FORGE NEW DRIFT CHAMPION
Toyota ambassador Beau Yates has claimed the 2016-17 Hi-Tec Drift NSW All-Star Championship in a dominant performance.
Yates and his heavily modified Toyota 86 race car battled a fierce field of 21 drivers in extreme temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius on Sydney Motorsport Park's (SMSP) technical figure-eight circuit.
Despite podiums at all five race meetings at Sydney Motorsport Park, Yates' point score did not guarantee a championship. A battle with points leader Brad Tuohy, also campaigning a Toyota 86, stood between Yates and the top step.
"It was the hottest day I have ever endured in motor racing," said Yates. "It was an intense mental and physical challenge. I had the championship on the line and a hard-fought battle ahead to win. I had a lot to race for that night."
With clean, consistent and aggressive lines that saw judges scoring him highly, Yates qualified first and progressed through multiple one-on-one battles. After a perfect round Yates was awarded the final round victory.
"Before, during and after events we put so much prep into the car to make it as reliable and competitive as possible. I was more focused than I have ever been. I wanted to go out there and do my job on the track.
"We're regularly on the podium but a championship has eluded me for a couple of years. It was an emotional victory, especially when I looked off the podium and saw my wife holding our newborn baby."
Following the championship win Yates heads to New Zealand's Bay of Plenty this weekend to compete in the third round of the D1NZ National Drifting Championship, where Yates intends to put on a show.
"Every time I put my suit and helmet on I'm there to win. They have outstanding equipment and amazing drivers over there. It's a fantastic series I would love to campaign more permanently in."
Four thousand square metres of concrete has been laid in Bay Park Stadium and hand-built into a track to challenge seasoned drift competitors.
"Drifting is serious in New Zealand. The public look at drift racing as a professional sport, and there will be 10,000 fans there. I am going there be a bit of a thorn in their side."
Yates believes his experience will set him apart in the new location.
"I have been drifting since 2003 locally and have not been overseas, even for a holiday! I'm broadening my horizons and showcasing my skills. I want to challenge myself in a new environment. If I can qualify well and finish mid to high in the pack I think it will be a great personal achievement."
The third round of the D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series at ASB Bay Park Stadium will commence under lights on 24 and 25 February.
Toyota motorsport: In 2017, Toyota marks the 60th anniversary of its first international motorsport entry (and the first by a Japanese car manufacturer), when it contested the 1957 Round Australia Trial. This is why many people consider Australia to be the birthplace of Toyota motorsport. Today, Toyota contests the FIA-sanctioned World Rally Championship (WRC), World Endurance Championship (WEC) which features the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the gruelling Dakar Rally. Closer to home, the Toyota 86 Racing Series seeks to develop the talent of tomorrow as Australia's premier grassroots circuit-racing category.