Do You Catch My Drift? Introducing Motul Ambassador and Athlete Xavier Lachkar
Xavier Lachkar Motul Ambassador and SUPERDRIFT athlete

Mauritian citizen, asphalt rally driver and popular social media personality Xavier Lachkar is not yet a household name here in South Africa, but he could well become one during 2023.

He has a couple of things in his favour: a natural talent for speed and precision driving,  the growing popularity of his chosen sport, drifting, and his exceptional sportsmanship. After several years racing in his home country, he’s more than ready to make a real impact on the highly competitive SA drifting scene.

If you’ve not yet watched a drifting event, then you must have been living under a rock during the last few years. During that time, local legends XS Promotions have been perfecting events like the Triple Crown Championship and SUPADRIFT Series. Drifting now attracts big-name corporate support (the SUPADRIFT Series is sponsored by Motul), and the word has spread around the world of motorsports. That means that SA drifting events can now attract top international talent like Xavier, who has already come here twice this year to compete, and has big plans for 2023.

Drifting has become extremely popular as fans discover the delights of squealing, smoking tyres and of watching specially modified, high-powered cars sliding sideways at high speeds. “The demands that the SUPADRIFT Series places on cars and engines provides the perfect playground to showcase Motul’s superior lubricant range,” commented Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean.

But what is drifting, exactly? Unlike most motorsports, it’s not all about speed – although the action is often fast and furious. Competitors are instead judged on their line (their ability to stick as closely as possible to a pre-determined layout, keeping front and rear portions of their car within specified zones, and brushing identified “clipping points”; angle (achieving the maximum angle without having to slow down, and entering and leaving the course smoothly and swiftly); and style, or impact (how they put the whole drive together, and how aggressive they are).

Xavier’s most recent drifting event took place in Secunda late last year and saw him fly back to South Africa to compete. “It was great to have Xavier Lachkar join us again from Mauritius for his second SUPADRIFT Series event,” commented Mike Skelton and Jim McFarlane of XS Promotions. “He’s exactly the kind of driver who attracts more fans to the sport, and as well as being a Motul ambassador and athlete, he’s a great ambassador for drifting in general,” they added.                                                           

Drifting in Mauritius is quite a different sport; there, it consists of a single car on a narrow track. In SA, the tandem format is more common, and Xavier had to familiarise himself with two-car drifting by doing research and practicing the precise, high-speed driving required to succeed in the SUPADRIFT Series.

Xavier’s previous successes have seen him build up a significant following on social media, and he was warmly welcomed by fans and fellow drivers alike in Secunda just as he had been in Klerksdorp. His first SUPADRIFT Series experience taught Xavier the importance of pre-race preparations, and helped him get used to driving a more powerful normally aspirated V8 car.   

Secunda saw Xavier avoid the mechanical issues that had plagued him in Klerksdorp, and a solid run during qualifying (after a few practice runs to get used to the long drift style) saw him paired with eventual champion Jason Webb. Xavier attributed his car’s performance to his use of Motul products and the efforts of the XS Promotions technicians.

Xavier described his opponent in his first-ever Tandem Elimination Round as a very talented and aggressive driver. Nevertheless, he was concerned about accidentally knocking Webb out by colliding with him. It’s that kind of fair play, talent and his evident enjoyment, that is helping Xavier make a name for himself in drifting.

As the chase driver, Xavier had to aim for maximum proximity without getting ahead, and follow and mimic Webb in the lead car. Webb, meanwhile, had to maintain his line and angle without compromising these in an effort to get away.

“I lost, but I lost to the best. More importantly, I gained the feeling of truly belonging to the SA drifting family,” commented Xavier. “I can’t wait to come back for more in 2023, and I’ll be over the moon to podium at a SUPADRIFT Series event,” he added.

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