Ahmad Daham - Redbull Drift

Interview with Ahmad Daham – “Sideways is the new way forward”

From the age of 14, Ahmad Daham was obsessed with cars. It’s an obsession that rapidly grew into a career, thanks to Ahmad’s natural talent and sheer determination. From the moment he sat behind the wheel of his first car – a bright-red Toyota Corolla – Ahmad demonstrated an uncanny affinity with all things automotive. Within two years, Ahmad was racing at local tracks, and by the time he was 18 he took first place at the University Speed Test Championships for Students.

Ahmad is also unusual in the racing fraternity in that he knows as much about what’s going on inside the engine as he does about going around a track. His ability to tune ECUs to go ever faster not only gives him a unique understanding of the cars he races, but also acts as a line of finance to keep him on the track.

Ahmad has never been a ‘conventional’ racer, and in 2011 he discovered drifting. He also found out very quickly that he was even better at going sideways than he was going in a straight line! The Red Bull Car Park Drift circuit beckoned, and he won all three of his first drift events, going on to represent Jordan in the final stage of the high-profile Red Bull event in Lebanon.

So what drives Ahmad to go sideways? At Al-Futtaim FastFit, we’re always keen to talk to like-minded people who love cars as much as we do. Our car technicians don’t just work on our customers’ cars – they’re passionate about racing and automotive sport, too. So when the opportunity came up to talk to Ahmad, we grabbed the chance and chatted with him in between events.

How did you start drifting?

We began by asking him about his inspiration, and it’s clear that at the heart of his love of automotive sport comes from his family. “Being from a family who loves motorsport, my older brother introduced me to autocross racing back in 2003 which then evolved to drifting in 2011 when it was first introduced in the region.”

So what makes a good car for drifting?

According to Ahmad, it’s all about the power, and that all-important rear-wheel-drive set-up. “Any RWD car is good for drifting, but the more horsepower you have and the more angle you have the better for sure, and of course a hydraulic handbrake.”

Any tips to prevent damaging the vehicle when drifting?

Pushing a car around a circuit sideways is bound to put a massive strain on every aspect of the vehicle, from the chassis up. Ahmad pointed us in the right direction. “Of course, you have to have a well-maintained car since drifting takes quite a toll on the car, and some good tyres all the time. And practice makes perfect, so the more practice the less possibility of crashing or damaging the vehicle.”

Any safety tips on drifting?

And finally, we wanted to hear from the best how to drift safely. This growing motorsport is drawing in an increasing number of participants, especially here in the UAE. So if you’re new to drifting, how do you do it safely? “Number one tip is to never do it on public roads, always at a safe environment which is the race track. And always wear a helmet and seatbelt while doing so.”

You can always call and book an appointment with Al-Futtaim Fastfit to have your car checked and get expert advice on safety.