EXCLUSIVE | This Cape Town racer is ready to burn rubber at the Intercontinental Drifting Cup

Image: Supplied / Juan Stemmet
Image: Supplied / Juan Stemmet
For Juan Stemmet, representing South Africa in the biggest drifting stage was never something he could dream of. And to think, he began competing in this sport only a few years ago and already he’s at the pinnacle of his game.

Stemmet is the only African chosen by the FIA to compete at the 2019 FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup (IDC) in Japan.

Stemmet says that he only partook in the sport as a hobby to pass the time, but it soon turned into something a lot more serious. Competing against big names such as Shane Green, Tommy Beirowki, and Bronni White, Stemmet had to prove his metal against these local giants of the sport.

And for the 25-year-old Capetonian, it was always about proving his worth against the best.

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                                Juan Stemmet - Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

FIA approved

In 2017, the FIA (the governing body that also runs Formula 1) began a new racing series in support of drifting around the world. The series kicked off epically and soon expanded its footprint. The series, that runs following FIA rules and regulations, aims to not only promote drifting around the globe but also for it to be practiced safely.

According to the FIA Drifting Cup website: "The FIA manages world-class races such as F1, WEC, WRC, etc. IDC will also be treated in a similar manner (FIA drifting). FIA focuses on not only promoting traffic safety but motorsports as well.”

This year, 31 competitors from 40 countries around the world will gather in Japan between 29 November - 1 December, to determine who will be crowned the 2019 Drift Champion. The winner will receive his trophy alongside racing competitors like Lewis Hamilton and Marc Marques at the FIA’s end-of-year award’s ceremony in France.

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                                Juan Stemmet's Nissan 200 SX. - Image: Charlen Raymond

One of 31

When Raziek Raja, Race Master and Executive Producer for Razor Customs and Drift Outlaws, approached Stemmet with news that he’s going to Japan, the young man could not believe his ears. Raja, too, said that it only it home once he saw Stemmet’s name on the entry list.

For these two men IDC is not just for them, but a stepping stone for South Africa’s drifting community as a whole. Stemmet’s antics and skills were seen by the FIA and his entry to the race was determined by an FIA-appointed panel of judges. 

Stemmet said with a smile: “I’ll give it my best and drive as hard as I can. And try to make my country and fellow Drift Outlaws proud."

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                                Raziek Raja with Stemmet (middle) and Samantha. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

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