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Who is the best driver?

by Adam O'Connor 19th April 2018

With the 2018 Link ECU Irish Drift Championship season kicking off this coming weekend, what better time than now to check out our hottest prospects to take home Pro class silverware this season. Let’s jump right into it!

Jack Shanahan

It seems only right to start off with your 2017 Pro champion, Jack Shanahan. Although Shanahan’s title defence does come with a caveat – he has his eyes on European glory as he travels abroad for Drift Masters GP in 2018 – Jack has decided to leave his 2017 championship winning S14A in Ireland and travel abroad with a brand new build … more on that very soon.

Does the champ have what it takes to keep his title on home soil, all while doing business on the continent? It will certainly be a big task and we guess time will tell.

Tomás Kiely

He may be one of the quietest drivers on the grid, but get the Waterford youngster behind the wheel of his HKS 2JZ-powered S14 and he becomes one of the deadliest competitors out there. The term “Silent but deadly” is apt for Kiely, so don’t be surprised to see him atop of the podium in the coming months.

Duane McKeever

McKeever has dominated in previous seasons taking home the Pro championship twice but 2017 saw an ugly twist of faith, with mechanical issues plaguing his season. McKeever found reliability and consistency towards the latter half of the season, but it was a case of too little too late, leaving the goal of championship defence out of reach.

The RB-powered 180sx has had plenty of off-season testing with younger brother Conor McKeever at the helm in the Irish Amateur Drift Championship. Duane is also fresh from a podium-topping performance, which saw him maintain his 100% win record in the British Drift Championship at Round 1 on April 1st.

Could we see Duane atop the MTEC Brakes podium this weekend? It’s almost time to find out!

Shane O’Sullivan

A statistic that Shane O’Sullivan is looking to forget in 2018 is that he has never won a round of the Irish Drift Championship. O’Sullivan is definitely one of the most consistent drivers on the grid and because of this, he is a regular feature on the IDC podium. However, has been described by IDC CEO Dave Egan as “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”. Being pipped to the post at the last moment will be playing on the Team Japspeed driver’s mind, but if he can put that aside, can he finally grab himself a place atop the MTEC Brakes podium? Find out in Mondello Park this weekend.

Mitch Larner

The thunder from down under is BACK! Mitch Larner may travel halfway across the globe for each round of the IDC, but there are no signs of jet lag when he’s piloting his Supercharged V8-powered PS13. He may be here to put on a show against the biggest names in the business, but don’t rule him out of silverware contention either.

Peden Nielsen

Let’s get serious here for a minute – Drift Games driver Peden Nielsen is coming for war in 2018. If you follow Peden’s social media channels, you’ll by now have seen that the Drift Games driver will be shredding tyres in a completely refreshed “249sx” this season, as he campaigns to “Keep Drifting Serious”. And if his plans can come to fruition in the next week, this season will be serious indeed.

With see-through doors and a see-through roof on his new build, his ambition to be different than the rest of the grid has never been “clearer”. Now it’s time to see if Peden can power the SR20-powered “249sx” to the top of the MTEC Brakes podium in its first outing!

Anthony Galvin

It’s a new year and new build for Anthony Galvin. The guys at CAC Motorsport have updates flowing in, showing a spectacular ground-up build of a fresh 2JZ powered S15 for 2018. Galvin’s 2017 Pro year saw him step onto the podium at Round 1 and top qualification at Round 2, resulting in a top 10 championship finish, and all of this while missing Round 4 in Watergrasshill. 2017 was good to Anthony Galvin, and 2018 is set to be better.

Brian Egan

The team Dealtwidth R32 of Brian Egan may have been showing some battle scars towards the end of 2017, but with a full ground-up rebuild to both the chassis and exterior, we can guarantee Brian won’t be afraid to rub those brand new panels off competitors doors and walls alike, as he aims to progress all the way to the top of the MTEC Brakes podium. He’s been knocking on the top spot of the podium for a few years now, he may just achieve that aim in 2018.

Mike Fitz

Drift Games driver Mike Fitz currently has his 2JZ powered RX-7 tucked in the bowels of Group-D in Buttevant, Co. Cork and is going through it with a fine tooth comb to make sure nothing stands in the drift veteran’s way as he spearheads his biggest challenge for championship glory yet.

Marc McBurney

Marc McBurney is the only driver to ever go from the Irish Amateur Drift Championship to the Link ECU Irish Drift Championship Pro class in just 1 season; a feat no one would ever have thought possible.

Known for having one of the most flamboyant styles in Irish drifting, he has earned the nickname “Marc McBackwards” for his insane entries on his quick rise through the championship tiers. McBurney is a do or die driver risking it all on initiation and he was also chasing the horsepower game last season, with less than half of some of his competitors. Can he put up an even bigger fight this season? It’s time to find out.

Conor Shanahan

The 14-year-old drift sensation may be entering his Pro rookie year, but don’t count out the schoolboy just yet. His first year in the British Drift Championship Pro class and he took home 3rd place in the championship, finishing up only 5 points behind his brother and 2015 BDC, 2016 BDC and 2017 IDC champion, Jack Shanahan.

Conor is also following his brother into Europe and will contest the 2018 Drift Masters European Championship this season, and is set to have one of the busiest seasons of any driver on the grid. It’s safe to say though, that won’t stop him from trying to pencil his name on the IDC Pro class trophy this season.

Alan Hynes

He’s mastered the world of online gaming and he was narrowly pipped to the IDC Pro-Am title at Japfest last season by Conor Shanahan, but Alan Hynes is back and is, as always, a force to be reckoned with, as seen at “Drift on the Docks” last season, when he stood atop his S14 after claiming top spot on the podium.

With no reset button available if he gets it wrong at Round 1, you can be sure Alan is ready for the challenge ahead of him in the Pro class this season!

These are just our favourites, who do you think will light up the championship this season?