Arriving in Singapore on Friday (15th June) in the wee hours of the morning at 3am, Formula Drift star Ken Gushi got some sleep and then went right into one interview after another with the media for the launch of the limited edition Formula Drift G-Shock watch and the announcement of Casio’s first sponsorship of a race team in Singapore - the G-Shock – Kumho Tires Drift team for Formula Drift Singapore.
An exclusive media preview was held on Friday afternoon before the official launch of the watch to the public commenced on Saturday (16th June) morning. Sales only commenced at the Casio roadshow at Bugis Junction at 8.00 am, but a queue was already formed prior to that…
…and in just half an hour, the limited edition Formula Drift G-Shock watch DW-6900CB-4DRIFTDS was sold out!
Ken was back at the roadshow on Saturday afternoon to meet the fans and also race against the winner of the simulator challenge in an exhibition match.
The top 3 fastest time trials on the simulators walked away with attractive prizes such as tickets to Formula Drift Singapore, the limited edition G-Shock watch and Casio G-Shock vouchers. This guy from Malaysia was really quick on the simulators and in the exhibition match with Ken, he won the race by a hair when he crashed into Ken inches before the finishing line…
Despite the jetlag, Ken was his perky and cheery self!
This year is a pretty exciting year for Ken Gushi – his Scion Racing gig with the new FR-S for Formula Drift USA, doing the International Hill Climb at Pikes Peak with the Lexus IS-F CCS-R and returning to Formula Drift Singapore with a bang backed by Casio G-Shock and Kumho Tires.
What are his thoughts on all that’s happening and how does he juggle all these with his university studies? The 25-year-old American-born Japanese shares his views…
Q: You have competed in both Formula Drift USA and Formula Drift Asia – how different are the 2 championships (in terms of sporting, technical and commercial support) in your opinion?
A: Formula Drift USA and Formula Asia differ on so many levels. First of all, getting around in Asia is difficult. It is many hours away from home and jetlag has a huge effect on me. So right off the airplane, I have a challenge awaiting me – Jetlag. During the competition, I notice that the audience is different too. The crowd in FD USA is very loud and connected to us drivers. We get pretty personal with our fans and we treat them as friends. The fans in Asia seems to be quiet and conservative. I want them to open up and feel that they are welcome to come talk and hang out with us!
Q: What do you think the Asians need to do in order to close the gap to the Americans for drifting?
A: I think the one key element missing in the Asia series is simply time and experience. FD Asia is rather young relative to the US series. They have the skills, there is no doubt about that. Some drivers in Asia would easily put out a good fight in the US. Take a look at Amandio of Indonesia – He’s got talent.
Q: Singapore must hold a pretty special place in your heart since you made your FD Asia debut in Singapore last year and finished on the podium! How do you hope to do this year?
A: Indeed , Singapore is a special place for me. I podium’d with a new team, new car, and an unfamiliar location. But that was simply because the team was great and I had awesome people around me to support. I could not have done it without the people from Spark Motorsports and Phob my mechanic.
Q: You’re coming into Singapore this time with quite a bang – new team, new car and even an ambassadorship with Casio. How does all this feel?
A: Yes! I cannot find the words good enough to describe how excited I am. To be with G-Shock who represents youth and trend is something I hold of value since I try to represent the youth crowd as well as looking fashionable. I must admit there is some pressure now, but once the competition starts, it’ll all be cool.
Q: Some people argue that drifting is not a motorsport – how will you refute that?
A: Drifting is a form of motorsports which I use as a channel to showcase my character and abilities. It is not a race, but it sure is one of the best and most exciting forms of motorsports.
Q: This year has been pretty good for you – with the Scion FR-S and now this Casio G-Shock gig, your stars are aligned well for you! Who would you like to thank?
A: Absolutely. I have to say this year has started off to be one of the best years for myself in terms of involvement with different opportunities and exciting events. The Scion FR-S is a big deal for me as it is the most highly anticipated car of the year. With that said, there is no way I’m going to screw this chance up! And then there is my involvement with G-Shock… As a young kid, I was always a huge fan of G-Shock watches. In fact, I was the first one in my middle school to wear one!
There are so many people I’d like to thank. People who believe in me have made my life what it is today. My family, my fans, my friends. Scion and everyone involved with the Greddy programme. Marcus Lim with DriftPac has played a huge role in shaping up my FD Asia programme and I’d like to personally thank him for all the help.. and of course every one involved with my FD Asia Team and G-Shock.
Q: How do you cope with all these on top of your studies?
A: I try to find as many online e-classes to fulfill my credits requirement! It’s definitely not easy.
Q: What do you want people to learn from you?
A: With hard work and dedication, nothing is impossible.
Q: What are your ultimate goals for drifting?
A: I want to be the best and win the championship.
Q: What are some of the challenges you have faced in your drifting career thus far, both personally and professionally?
A: Motorsports is also a mental challenge. It tests your ability to believe in yourself when you normally wouldn’t. Finding the courage to do something that I’m completely freaked out about. Overcoming fear. These are all the things I have faced in my career so far. I love every single bit of it.
Q: What advice do you have for all your fans out there?
A: Remember to have fun. You only live once.
For more photos of the Formula Drift G-Shock launch and roadshow, view here.