Drift Driver Ryan Tuerck

New Hampshirites love their race cars, and Derry native Ryan Tuerck is no exception. A lifelong motorports enthusiast and professional athlete, Tuerck has been a Formula Drift driver for nearly 15 years. Drift driving, a sport with Japanese roots, continues to gain popularity here in the US, with Tuerck’s name at the forefront. Add in almost half a million Instagram followers and a Ferrari-powered Toyota drift car, and you have a combination that has been taking the internet by storm. It all began right here in the Granite State.

Photo by Chris Saunders

In his own words:

  • My dad got me and my two brothers into racing motocross when I was around 9 years old.
  • Cars were always intriguing, but they didn’t really pique my interest until I was getting burnt out on motocross.
  • When I got into drifting, I didn’t even really know what it was — I thought I was just learning car control — but I got into it right as the sport progressed into a professional series here in the US.
  • Drifting events really started in Japan, and some of the first events came here around 2004 — right as we were figuring it all out, so you could say it was the right place, right time.
  • My ultimate dream was to put a Formula 1 engine inside of a street chassis. I did a lot of research a few years ago to do the cost estimate and it was going to be way too expensive.
  • Then a couple years ago, my main sponsor, Gumout, came on board and wanted to do a fun car build, something that would get some attention, and I threw the idea at them.
  • They doubled their budget to make it work.
  • We got to work with Donut Media to cover the progress of our builder, Huddy Racing, taking the engine from a Ferrari 458, a supercar that was $250,000 new, and putting that into my professional drift car which is a Toyota GT86, a car that starts new around $26,000.
  • It’s now the GT4586.
  • The reception on the internet and racing world about the car and what I’ve been able to do with it has been amazing.
  • It’s a very social media-driven sport, given that it started to gain popularity right alongside applications like Instagram.
  • People always have their phones out and are sharing vids and pics from events.
  • Now I’m kind of the old guy in the sport, but there are a lot of really talented young kids coming in, so it’s good to see the sport will be in good hands.

Location note: As Chris Saunders wrapped up the shoot with Tuerck, NASCAR commentator and “Top Gear US” host Rutledge Wood (at right in promo shot) stopped by to catch up with Tuerck and even tried to get him to crack up for the photo. To see videos of Tuerck, search “Ryan Tuerck” or “GT4586” on YouTube, and be sure to keep an eye out for when he’s doing drift demos at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Categories: Q&A

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