If ever there was an example of how hard work pays, then surely Luke Woodham is it. While some drivers are born into race teams, others have to work damn hard just to jump behind the wheel once. This is why when we saw Luke tearing up the competition on track at Gymkhana GRiD in the same car he drove to the event in, we had to get behind him.
Hailing from High Wycombe, in England, 26 year old Luke has been around gasoline ever since he can remember. It’s been a tough journey to go from fixing busted motorcycles as a full time mechanic, to turning pro and taking on the likes of Vaughn Gittin Jr in all-out drift combat.
“I used to ride MX, and seemed to do alright at anything with an engine,” Luke told us. “I would go pretty crazy on my roadbike with my friends too, but there came a point fairly quickly when I realised that if you’re caught thrashing around on the street, you’re done, or worse. I definitely didn’t want to hurt anyone, and I needed my drivers licence to get to work.”
“It’s part of the reason I got rid of my bike, and got in a car. I did have a couple a small Vauxhalls’ before, but the Nissan S14 200SX I race now, is the first proper car I bought. I’ve had it for five years, and used what I learnt working on bikes to get it up to competition spec.
“After doing a few organised drift days, I was itching to try and qualify for my competition drift licence. It was a massive learning curve going from the street to serious competition, but I’ve loved every minute of it so far.”
In just three years, Luke’s talent behind the wheel has taken him from relative obscurity to scoring a hat trick of titles in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Gymkhana GRiD European Gauntlet Series, as well as finishing third in the Semi-Pro and 12th in the Pro class of the British Drift Championship. Not to mention also notching up an enviable haul of wins in the super technical Fueltopia Barrel Sprint Series. All this, in a car that he cut, welded, painted and prepared in his own back yard.
Blasting into 2015, Luke’s programme is only getting bigger and better. As well as campaigning another full season in the British Drift Championship, and slaying tyres during demos at selected World Rallycross Championship rounds, he will also be gunning for a record fourth podium at Gymkhana GRiD, and taking the fight to Europe for selected events. Whatever you do, make sure you head out to a race and check out Luke taking down the competition this year.