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Images from HGK Challenge in Riga

Beast from the East - Drift King Daigo Saito Makes His GRiD Debut

Nov 052018

Japanese drift titan Daigo Saito holds the honour of being the first ever driver in motorsport to win two of drifting’s major championships. D1 Grand Prix in Japan, and Formula D in the USA. A cult figure in the paddock and a man of few words, Daigo has always let his driving do the talking.

 However as this will be Daigo’s first ever taste of Gymkhana GRiD competition, we caught up with him to find out just what his thoughts are heading into the action in Johannesburg.

How does competing in a unique racing format such as Gymkhana GRiD, compare to the pressure of racing in D1GP and Formula D?

The pressure isn’t that different for me. Although this will be the first time I’ll compete in GRiD, I always focus doing as best as I can in competition, so I put pressure on myself to perform. I think I’ll be OK, right?

What would a win at GRiD mean to you?

Winning at my first visit to Gymkhana GRiD would be a great opportunity to prove my speed and also the technical capability of my car! Of course it would be awesome!

How are you going to go about learning the course?

I need to figure this bit out still. This is definitely one of the main aspects to being successful at Gymkhana - so this could be a weak point for any “new” driver. I’ll work hard on this though for sure.


Have you been practicing? And if so, how much?

No, I haven’t been practicing. Or had any special training so far. But I am feeling quite confident that I will be able to get to grips with the track when I am in South Africa.

What will you change on the Corvette to make it suit Gymkhana GRiD specifically?

My Corvette is set up for great speed and balance - which has been perfect in D1 and other races. I think this will be a very strong base platform to tweak for Gymkhana GRiD racing. I very good people from my team coming with me to South Africa, so I’m sure we can find good solutions to set up challenges when we need them.

Lastly, this will be your first visit to Johannesburg / South Africa - what are you looking forward to seeing or doing if you get time?

This will be the very first time I have visited Africa, so I am looking forward to experiencing a new lifestyle and culture. If I have time away from the racing I would like to see a real wild animal safari. This would be incredible.