It’s time the engineers and fabricators at Red Bull Racing Australia came clean. For nine months they’ve been working on another secret project at their Brisbane HQ. And it’s a good one!
After creating the ultimate ‘Sandman’ complete with Supercars DNA and letting people like F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo cut loose in it the inevitable question arose “what next?” All sorts of crazy ideas were considered and what they settled on still seems pretty wild but it actually makes a lot of sense.
Aim: To drift enable a Red Bull Racing Australia Supercar.
Inspiration: The driver’s post-race, cool down lap celebrations (particularly new recruit Shane van Gisbergen)
Equipment: Jamie Whincup’s chassis, which won the opening race of the season in Adelaide and race 14 in Townsville, before being replaced by a new car in August.
Procedure: Retain existing running gear but convert steering, front suspension and install Drift spec handbrake. Fabricate new flared guards and fit appropriate wing, wheels and tires.
It may seem easy, but the sheer task of taking a car that has been engineered over thousands of man hours by some of the best in the business to not lose its grip is no small feat.
Add in an all new aero package, a brand-new front end steering assembly, drift-spec off-set and one of the most talented racing drivers of the modern era in van Gisbergen and you have a very, very complex recipe for disaster, or genius… Thankfully in the case of Red Bull Racing Australia‘s project ‘Night Drift’ Supercar, it was the later.
Van Gisbergen is one of the most active racers on the planet, fitting in stints as a factory McLaren GT driver around his Supercars commitments and also competing in endurance races like the 24 Hours of Daytona. He has also been a regular in the Australian and New Zealand drifting championships and is also a very accomplished remote control car racer.
“It was an awesome thing to be a part of,” said Van Gisbergen. “To be able to combine my love of drifting with a Supercar was cool. I never thought I could put the two together, but the car performance was really great. I was able to really go hard around the bends, we really smoked it up.”
Team Manager Mark Dutton headed the project and said, “There is a fair bit that goes into turning a Supercar into in a drift car. It was great fun for the whole team when the physical transformation took place. Getting to that point was a lot of hard work and late nights, but that’s what we do.”