Catching up with four-time Gymkhana GRiD RWD Champion Luke Woodham

by Vince Pettit

This weekend the Gymkhana GRiD finals hit Carnival City, Johannesburg and one man is in the hunt for his fifth consecutive RWD title, Britain’s Luke Woodham.

It’s been three years since we last caught up with Woodham and a lot has changed, we asked him to give us a brief run through of the last few years…

“I’ve raced Rallycross in the Swifts, fantastic fun, good result with a third place and driver of the day.” explained Woodham.

Credit: Monster Energy

“I won Gymkhana grid 4 times – Spain, UK, Greece and South Africa as well as the UK Gymkhana Championship in 2016 and 2017.”

“I’ve competed in drift events across Scandinavia, Podium at Gatebil drift series the last two years with Team Monster Energy; and had another go in the British Rallycross, this time in the RX150 class.” (which we will get back to later).

Aside from competition, Woodham has been busy on the promotional trail, “I filmed with Castrol and Need for Speed for global advert.

“I went to America with Castrol USA as a guest at Pax East Gaming Conference, and have done demos with World RX across Europe. I also did a cool video project with Castrol/Monster using my S14 driving it in a gamer view.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQoSKBL-m3w

Another standout highlight of the year was the opportunity to drive an Electric powered Nissan R32 drift car. In a world that is reluctantly moving towards an electric powered drivetrain, it was an interesting project to be involved in.

“The project came about with me being asked to test the car, it was great to drive, with savage power delivery making it extremely fun to drive.

“We developed the car to suit my driving style and then took it to France for the World RX to show what I can do in front of 80,000 spectators.

“The reactions where what I expected, split opinions, who knew something so quiet could make so much noise?”

Woodham has also got a new toy to play with this year, a Pro Lite Truck. “This I believe is the only one in Europe and it’s awesome to drive.” he explained.

“I am planning on using this as much as possible at World RX for demo driving and passenger rides. I have some mad ideas for this truck with different video projects in mind.”

Looking back at competition, the Monster Energy backed driver was given the chance to compete in the RX150 buggies at the end of season British Rallycross Championship race weekend.

“I loved racing the RX150 at Silverstone, it was great fun. The RX150’s are super fast and I would definitely consider racing again.

“The Steve Harris Racing RX150 is powered by a 1000cc fireblade motorbike engine, the racing is close as all vehicles are the same, this is why I enjoyed this because it shows the drivers talent and skill.”

Credit: Monster Energy

As mentioned at the top of this article, Woodham has taken the last four Gymkhana GRiD RWD titles, we asked him if there was a favourite year.

“All four titles each have their own special meaning, it’s hard to favour one of them. The first win was special because I had been working hard to get on the top step, since then I have had a target on my back which makes me want to win even more.

“The three following championships have been hard in their own way and equally rewarding. After each win the target seems to get bigger and bigger!”

Credit: Monster Energy

While the target on his back gets bigger, competition is growing stronger in the competition, this hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Every year the others get faster and faster. With more drivers being introduced to the growing sport of Gymkhana Grid, it brings new challengers with all different levels of skill.

“The cars are being purpose built these days by drivers from different racing backgrounds such as Rallycross, drifting, rally and auto testing.

“You can’t underestimate anyone, all I can do is bring a developed car and make sure I drive to the best of my abilities.

Closing the interview we asked Woodham who he would like to see compete at Gymkhana GRiD in the future, “I always like a challenge, it would be great to see some more household names from drifting, rallycross and circuit racing, maybe even some celebrities would be cool.”

Woodham heads in to the weekend on a strong note, with practice and qualifying already done for this weekend’s Gymkhana GRiD he topped the timesheets, it’s looking like it’s going to be another tough year for those who go up against the four-time champion.

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