Two-time Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship title winner Daniel Woolhouse ('Fanga Dan' to fans and rivals alike) has confirmed that he will wield a newly built Formula Drift-spec RTR Ford Mustang for the upcoming drift season.
Woolhouse's new car will replicate the Monster Energy Mustang that former Formula Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr campaigns in the US; complete with a 700kW Roush Yates V8 that red lines at 9,000rpm, left-hand drive, and plenty of carbon-fibre construction.
"It's a dream come true. I've been walking around with a smile on my face every day," Woolhouse told Driven.
"It didn't feel real until I had my hands on the activation car. Then it really hit home about two weeks ago when Vaughn Gittin Jr did a video for us to play at Big Boys Toys. Even telling you now it's making me shiver.
"I would've never dreamed of it. I'm just so stoked to have the support I've had from my existing sponsors, they're so happy for us."
As reported by Driven in September, Gittin Jr will compete at next year's Leadfoot Festival in Hahei in a newly built RTR Mustang drift car. At the end of that event Woolhouse will take ownership of the new car, where it will then adopt the look of his activation car [pictured].
The announcement is a checkpoint at the end of a series of calls and connections between New Zealand and the United States that's helped cement a relationship between Woolhouse, RTR Vehicles in the US, and New Zealand's agent for Ford Performance and Roush performance upgrades; CTB Performance and Accessories.
Talks began after a Ford drive and experience day at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, when Woolhouse was approached by Sam Bakalich from CTB.
"He said 'I see huge potential in what you guys do, and you're good people to work with,' which was pretty awesome. [CTB] had some ideas around some Mustangs - they happen to be one of my favourite cars," said Woolhouse.
"As that was going on, Sam had started making some noise over in the States with Ford Performance; telling them we were going to be building a drift car and asking them how they could help us and support us with this.
"[Ford Performance] got off the phone and rang Ian Stewart - a New Zealander and part owner with Vaughn Gittin Jr of RTR Vehicles. They said 'these guys in New Zealand are building a drift car for a guy called Fanga Dan', and Ian said 'ah, I know who Fanga Dan is. I think I need to make a call to New Zealand...'
"Things built on from there, and we were officially accepted into the RTR family with Vaughn. My way of explaining it was that we made a quantum leap. We were here, getting ready for next year with our old car. And next minute, everything got flipped upside down and we started fresh."
Headed by Gittin Jr and Stewart, RTR Vehicles are best known for their exploits in motorsport; namely for the former's wild Ford Mustang Formula Drift weapon, and for the all-wheel drive 'Hoonicorn' Mustang that's featured in several of Ken Block's precision 'Gymkhana' videos, as well as on an episode of Top Gear.
But the brand also builds road cars, having just recently revealed their 2018 Ford Mustang RTR at SEMA. It sports aggressive spoilers and bodywork, and engine upgrades that pump the power output to more than 500kW in Spec 3 trim.
This new relationship will lead to the company's arsenal of parts and special-edition cars becoming available to New Zealanders in the coming months, for both the current Mustang [pictured above] and the incoming 2018 model.
Having competed in D1NZ since 2003, Woolhouse meanwhile hopes the new connections will help him add some international events to his 2018 roster and kick off the next phase of his career.
"We want to look at possibly doing Japan and doing a few other overseas events next year, and just see where it takes us," he said.
"We've had discussions over some events that happen overseas - that's one of the reasons I changed to left-hand drive. I want to be able to go overseas without having to learn how to drive a different car.
"It's aligning myself with the possibilities, and driving myself to my full potential."