Jake Jones is a professional drift driver sponsored by MTAA Super. We spoke with Jake about how he got started, his love of drifting and what’s next in his career.
Jake, what is drifting exactly?
It’s a high-skill motorsport where you control a car while it slides from side to side at high speed (100mph+) through a fixed course. It’s similar to rally racing, but it’s done on a tarmac racetrack and is judged on speed, angle, execution and style rather than just who finished the fastest.
In competitive drifting, you start with a battle tree where 16 cars compete — first place against 16th, 2nd place against 15th and so on.
There are two cars on a course at a time and you take turns to chase and lead. Basically, you need to replicate their moves but do it even better.
How did you get started?
I first saw drifting when I was around 14 and knew that’s what I wanted to do. I started drifting 8 or 9 years ago now and my first car was a Japanese dedicated drift car — a Nissan 180 SX. It started out as a hobby but soon turned into my life. In 2017 I quit my full-time job as an electrician to become a full-time drifter. It was my busiest year yet.
I’m self-taught and I’ve learned about drifting along the way from watching YouTube videos, other drivers and by trying things myself. The first time I tried drifting, I was nervous as hell and probably for good reason!On my very first lap I went straight into the wall.
Have you had any other scary moments?
I’ve had a couple of big crashes. The first one was in 2009, about a year after I started. I spun out on the track and then got hit by another car behind me. I didn’t see it coming and it hit me full on. It was definitely a big wake up call to make sure I always have the right safety gear.
How do you use social media to connect with fans of drifting?
I was one of the first drifters to start a blog and I have everything on my website. Social media has really helped me to get ahead and build a profile with drifting fans.
My focus is on creating video content to keep people updated on what’s new and what I’ve been up to. I’ve also created some trick-torials that teach the fans how it’s done.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement is probably building my dream car. It’s a 2011 BMW M3 with 1000 horsepower,
Nissan engine and sequential gearbox. It’s a 10,000 RPM screaming monster! The car (called RBM3) goes through a pair of rear tyres for every two laps of Mallala raceway.
So far I’ve only been doing demos in the RBM3 but one day I’d like to compete in it also.
What’s next for you?
I recently got my US pro licence but it’s expensive to get over there and compete. I’ve put it on the backburner for this year but would love to get enough sponsorship to make it happen in the future.
In 2018 I’m going to focus on attending as many events in Australia as I can. There are more than 20 throughout the year that I’m looking to get involved with, so you’ll be seeing plenty of me around!
What does it mean to have MTAA Super’s support?
Without the support from MTAA Super, it wouldn’t be possible for me to achieve my goals.
Having a super fund like MTAA Super believe in me is huge and I look forward to having a big future with them — all the way through to retirement.