Meeting Deane is a bit like meeting the jolly green giant. He is not a typical race car driver’s five-foot-not-so-tall build, standing closer to the six and a half foot mark. He is soft spoken, yet relatable, and it is easy to see his passion for the sport come through with each fan interaction he has. Many of the American enthusiasts already had an idea of who he was via Youtube, but seeing is certainly believing here in person stateside.
As Fall dawns, 2017 has been an unpredictable year. History’s typical indicators of success or failure seem to be off-axis in the world, a carry on effect from the prior shake ups. Drifting and its statistics are no different- they say it’s bad luck to win the season opener in Long Beach, they say that a championship lead never lasts through a full year, and they say that near-rookies aren’t supposed to win championships. Deane has no problem playing the spoiler, and doing so in a fashion that is unprecedented for the US sport at large. He is conquering territory in a way that fellow Irishmen who came before him were never able to do, in an untested chassis that was put together halfway across the globe.
This dark horse on the outside is full of nothing but humility and spirit for the purity of the drift, the first to congratulate his rivals when they lay down a solid run against him. The unassuming Worthouse/Falken Tire Nissan S15 perhaps then is the perfect companion – on the outside, it could be just another modern S-chassis from a far away land. Yet its inside was bestowed the heart of a lion, beating fast with Toyota muscle to relentlessly fight for the title.
Deane is very likely to take this maiden championship, and one only wonders what more he’ll do in seasons to come if this marriage continues.
To stay up with the latest, follow Deane on social media @jamesdeane130.