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The Best Driver in UK History?

by Adam O'Connor 28th February 2018

It’s certainly not easy to pinpoint who the best drifter in the UK might be, but one man with the silverware to potentially back up such a claim is our 2017 British Drift Championship champion, Matt Carter.

The Team Japspeed driver fought tooth and nail to claim his title last season, which came to an emotional close at Round 5, “Night Fight” in Teeside Autodrome last September and with both the 2011 and 2017 British Drift Championship title trophies in his possession, Carter is the only Briton to ever win 2 BDC Pro Championships.

Irishman Jack Shanahan was back-to-back BDC Pro champion in 2015 and 2016 and in 2017 Jack certainly set out to try and make British Drift Championship history by winning three in a row. Team Japspeed’s Carter however would have other ideas, as he charged harder than ever to ensure that the elusive BDC Pro Championship title would stay in the UK and return, once again, to his possession. 

At this point in time, Carter can truly be considered a veteran of the UK drift scene, with over 12 years under his belt, 10 of which have come at a competitive level. First he competed for 5 years under Team Falken Tyres UK in his imported S14, before then moving to his current and beloved R32 Nissan Skyline, in which he joined forces with Team Japspeed in early 2016.

Carter himself has described the progression of British drifting in recent years as ever evolving. His current pride and joy is this 27 year old Skyline R32 that you’ve all grown to know and love, but to put things into perspective, Matt’s car is almost twice the age of BDC Pro competitor, and one of his closest 2017 rivals, Conor Shanahan! If that doesn’t show the progression of the sport, then we don’t know what does.

The 2017 Pro championship title wasn’t the only silverware that Matt took home last season either. Carter was voted BDC “Driver’s Driver of the Year” at the annual BDC Dinner Dance and that in itself showed that his accolades and efforts certainly hadn’t gone unnoticed by his peers.

One stand out moment of the championship was a throwback to Round 1 at Rockingham. Oliver Evans was a relative unknown that had made his way up from the 2016 DriftCup series. Evans obliterated the Pro-Am grid on the Saturday, taking top spot on the podium and would follow his amazing vein of form through to Sunday, where he would take down then champion Jack Shanahan, on his way to meeting Matt in the Pro final.

Carter would turn out to be the only Pro able to stop Evans in his tracks, as both drivers produced the “Battle Of The Year”, as voted by us here at the BDC. And as if that wasn’t quite enough, to round off a perfect year Team Japspeed also took home 2nd place in the Constructors Championship, sending even more silverware Carter’s direction.

Notably, Carter’s biggest rival last season came in the form of fellow UK drift veteran and good friend, Team Driftworks’ Martin Richards. The pair would battle at every round of the BDC last season and were the 2 highest ranking UK drivers in the championship. Richards is deep into a much-needed chassis diet and rebuild of the Driftworks R32 and has vowed to take home championship silverware in 2018. The question remains however; can he overcome the might of Matt Carter?

What does this season have in store for Matt you might ask? Well 2018 will see a new lease of life for the Team Japspeed driver, with a fresh rebuild well underway for his R32, which includes a full genuine Pandem Rocket Bunny body kit that he is currently cutting up, only to be scraped off walls at over 90mph in less than 5 weeks time … what could possibly go wrong?!

So, is Matt Carter the greatest drifter in UK history? He’s certainly made it difficult to overlook him, but now all Matt has to do is cement his place in the history books by bringing home a third championship trophy in 2o18. Can he do it? Make sure you tune in to each 2018 event to find out.

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