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Friday, Sep 21 07:45pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Exclusive: Fanga Dan reveals new livery for WTAC

‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse has revealed his new-look Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D ahead of this year’s Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge.

 

Woolhouse will contest the International Drifting Cup presented by Honeywell Garrett alongside three other New Zealanders.

 

Joining him at Sydney Motorsport Park for the two-day event will be Jaron Olivecrona (V12 Nissan Silvia S14), Jase Brown (V8 Nissan Silvia S13) and Carl Thompson (V8 Nissan Silvia S15).

 

The new livery sees the return of longtime primary sponsor Century Batteries as well as CTB Performance, RTR, and Ford New Zealand.

 

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Woolhouse heads to Australia with loads of confidence. It’ll be the first time he has ever contested the standalone drifting competition in one of his current specification cars.

 

The Whangarei-based driver earlier this year debuted the car at Rod Millen’s Leadfoot Festival. From there the Mustang made its competition debut three rounds into the D1NZ National Drifting Championship.

 

Since then it’s been about getting comfortable in the car in the remaining competitions and test days. With a new livery and a few cosmetic changes to the car Woolhouse is understandably excited to take the car overseas.

 

“We knew the car was performing well, but I just wanted it to look how I envisaged it,” Woolhouse told velocitynews.co.nz.

 

“We did a whole lot of changes to the body kit so it fits nicer. For me it’s about feeling good about what I’m in.

 

“I really wanted to conquer this. Last year the car wasn’t how I wanted it. It was just learning what it can do.”

 

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Outside of the AWS Graphics-designed livery, reworked guards are the biggest change aesthetically to the car. When it was last run by Vaughn Gittin Jr. in Formula DRIFT USA it ran much larger wheels.

 

Now the car is fitted with new shoes and Tri-Ace rubber, taking the car further away from its initial landed set up.

 

“Over in the United States they run a lot of chassis grip and a lot of tyre grip. We’ve got an amazing tyre so we took a lot of the chassis grip out of it.”

 

The last six months have mostly been about getting to grips with the car.

 

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Having previously built and run his own Holden Commodore VZ and VE set ups, the move to a fully-fledged current Formula DRIFT-specification Ford Mustang threw Woolhouse into the deep end.

 

Add on top of that spending your entire lift driving right hand drive cars to then being on the left hand side and he was effectively starting from scratch.

 

“It takes years to work out set ups and what works for your car. We were turning up at the track and having to start again.

 

“That Roush Yates motor can just rev for days. What we thought would be a good ratio was wrong compared to what we were used to.

 

“We’ve had to relearn all of that. We don’t get a lot of track time, so you only get two or three runs to find the grip and do some changes.

 

“I’m still making the odd mistake being left hand drive, but it’s definitely becoming second nature the more times I get into that car.”

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What may surprise some is the way in which Woolhouse has learned to drive it. Only two months ago Woolhouse was demonstrating the car at CRC Speedshow, but that exhibition proved to be invaluable.

 

“Definitely the best thing that I’ve done in that car so far was to do Speedshow. I always learn more about going slow and technical than going fast like Pukekohe.

 

“I actually came away from that doing the demonstrations with Darren Kelly learning a whole lot of stuff about the car.

 

“Learning where the car was as well. I was trying to get as close as possible learning on his wing and him pretty much taking my lights out. I just really focused on learning that.”

 

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With the car close to where he wants it Woolhouse is certain he’ll be competitive in this year’s event. It’s the first time the organisers have opted for a significant change to the format.

 

A world cup-style knockout competition will see drivers randomly drawn into pools, removing the need for qualifying. Each battle will be scored using a Win, Lose or Draw, also removing One-More-Time runs. A win will score two points, a draw one point and a loss zero. 

 

The driver with the most amount of points from each pool will move onto the semi-finals where the format returns to a traditional top eight format through to the top four, then the final battles for the podium.

 

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“There should be lots of battles and I’m hoping to do really well. We’ve got the best car that’s going to be there.  

 

“We’re definitely ready to come out. I feel good, the car looks good, and that’s the main thing. The feedback from it makes me drive good as well.

 

“I think we’ve nailed it and its now just time to get out there and drive it as hard as we can.

 

“I’ve been doing it this long now for 15-odd years. I’ve got the best car I’ve ever had under me and the best team and support from my sponsors. Now it’s time for me to prove myself in a good car and hopefully open some more doors.”

 

This year’s Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge takes place over 12–13 October 2018 at Sydney Motorsport Park.

 

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