The final round of the Just Car Insurance Australia Drifting GP saw the tour join the support list of the biggest motorsport organisation in the country, V8 Supercars. The Title Fight would go down to the wire under lights in front of a massive crowd at Barbagallo Raceway.
The layout was techincal, the battles were intense and one man came out on top! Championship Manager Brett Wilkinson caught up with new Australian Drifting Champion, Josh Boettcher to get the low down!
ADGP: Firstly congratulations on not only the round win but on being crowned Australian Champion!
We last spoke after your Round 2 victory, you were confident there was going to be more podiums this season but did you ever consider it would be on the top step as the Australian number 1?
JB: That victory in Round 2 gave us a lot of confidence. It proved that all of our hard work in the off season getting the car really on point was working and my team was working perfectly together. We knew that if we could stay focused and keep performing at our best we would be right up there at the end of the season.
ADGP: Coming out of Round 3, your home round, after a fairly average weekend still in the lead by the skin of your teeth were you confident heading into the title fight or did it knock you around?
JB: Not performing our best at our home round was really hard to take. I am so fortunate to have so many people help me to keep this beast of a car on track, and I can only take a couple on the road with me. So I really wanted to show the guys who don’t get to travel interstate with us, my family and the local fans what we were capable of. We qualified 1st, but just didn’t have the speed on the QR layout when it came to battles, so it was a big let down for us. I came out of that battle fairly sure we were pretty much out of the championship chase, but with luck on our side the rest of the results that day went our way and we just hung on to the lead! So after that round we put a lot of work into making the car faster and just focused on the final round.
ADGP: Round 4 in Perth, the track layout is technical and the pressure was truly on, did the nerves kick in or did you just blank it all out and drive the wheels of it?
JB: Yeah, the nerves were definitely there, plenty of butterflies in the lead up to battles! But when I strapped in I just stayed focused on what I had to do for each battle and just took it one at a time. After qualifying first, I felt confident that my lead runs were strong, so I kept that in mind every time I lined up. And I had Daniel (my spotter), in my ear letting me know what was happening behind me, and we made sure that every chase run was just where it needed to be without pushing too far.
ADGP: The Top 5 were all in the 16 and some would meet against each other as the tree progressed, did you ever think the final battle was going to be the decider?
JB: To be honest, yeah I did. I knew that it was pretty likely that the only people that would knock out a hard charging championship contender would most likely be another driver with the same amount of fight in them. And when I saw that Beau (Yates) and Rob (Whyte) were on the other side of the battle tree, I knew that one of them would be very likely to make it all the way to the final battle. So I knew I had to make it all the way there to give myself a chance at taking the title.
ADGP: Talk us through the final run against Yates?
JB: The nerves definitely kicked in again as we drove out to the start line, the whole championship came down to one battle so it was hard to wipe out the nerves. I kept in mind that my lead run was strong and just tried to put the championship situation out of my mind. After the lead lap I knew I laid down a strong run with plenty of angle and right on the line the judges were asking. As I drove around to the line again my car was so loud it was making it hard to hear Daniel. So I shut the car off for a moment. He let me know that Beau hadn’t made any mistakes on his chase and I had a kept a small gap on him and I needed chase hard and get right in on his door to take the win. I threw it in close into the first outer zone, gave him room for the transition and then charged onto his door through the next outer and inner clips. On the way through the last 2 corners it was tough to see with all the smoke and I was just able to stay close and finish the course. I was feeling confident, but wasn’t sure which way it would go. As you know, we got the win! It was an amazing feeling for it all to come together after so much hard work from everyone involved!
ADGP: What’s next for Josh Boettcher?
JB: We’ll enjoy the season break for a while and see what the future has in store. We’re lining up for International Drift Challenge at World Time Attack in October, that’s looking like an amazing event! We will also join team Queensland in the ADGP State of Origin event at Calder Park in November. For 2017 there are some super exciting possibilities, but there’s a lot of hard work needed to make these things a reality, so we’ll see how we go. In short, we have an awesome car that’s really on point right now as well as an awesome team, so we’re keen to see it’s full potential!