Matt Panic


FB Gallery Driver

Name: Matt Panic

When did you first get truly excited about drifting? 

On vacation in Japan in 2001 some friends took me street drifting. It was basically their version of street drag racing over here, but way more exciting. I wasn't into cars at that point and didn't even know how to drive manual. That trip not only got me into drifting, but cars in general. Two years later I started street drifting myself back in the U.S.

Who influenced you to develop the drift style you have? 

Well, I don't know who they were, but those guys I saw on the street in Japan started it. Watching Option videos on VHS taught me the basics, but I didn't have my own style yet. Just being able to drift at all was my focus until one pivotal day. I remember very clearly when and where I learned about style. It was August 31st, 2003 at Irwindale Speedway. This was the first D1 event in the U.S. I met many of my heroes that day including Keiichi Tsuchiya, Max Orido, and Yoshinori Koguchi. Meeting them was a dream come true, but not necessarily influential. However, what I saw on track that day changed me forever and continues to influence my driving style and approach to drifting. There was one driver who shocked me with an aggressive style that seemed to be born out of necessity. He ended up in first place that day with the lowest horsepower and oldest car in the field. Watching this happen and our conversation in the pits have stayed with me ever since. If you read this Mr. Katsuhiro Ueo, thank you for changing my life that day and showing me what was possible. 

Why did you choose to take the path through drifting that you did?

My path in drifting has been a consequence of how I approach it rather than a choice. After seeing Ueo at Irwindale I wanted to drive like he did. That meant doing the most I could with what I had. My philosophy is that maximizing effort maximizes satisfaction and impact. Drifting at the absolute limit of your machine leaves no room for mistakes and makes you a better driver as well. Anyway, here's a quick run down of where this has taken me. 

For the first three years I learned to drift with a nearly stock single cam S13. In that time I maximized what I could do with such a basic car winning competitions and getting noticed by sponsors. In 2006 I started competing in an AE86 owned by a company called Drift Office. Many of my friends had commented that I drove my S13 like an AE86 driver. They were right and the new chassis was a perfect fit. We performed well together making it to the podium several times. After a few years, a 4ag powered AE86 was no longer competitive so I parted ways with my sponsor and competition. Not satisfied that I had maximized what I could do with an AE86 I bought one for myself and drifted it for another 2 years. The culmination of my effort to maximize came in 2011 with my current car a 1973 Celica. I have been drifting this car for eight years and would say that I'm still only able to drive it at 90%. The remaining 10% is where the path ahead lies. 

Next stop: Final Bout Gallery with my team ShaDynasty. See you there! 


Machine Check


Engine: 3SGE Beams

Turbo: NA

Footwork: Stance, Xcessive

Cooling: Koyorad

Aero: Toysport


Special Thanks!!! ~ to all the photographers that supplied photos! Be sure to check out their respective Instagram accounts - THEY HAVE AMAZING PICTURES! @squaredphoto @tfworks @ryanlopez Chris Cambell, @Joe_Ayala, Korbin Smith @escoexposure, @tyrphoto, @justdriftofficial, @modxmode, jeffrey santiago photography, @loweredlifestyle, andy eineichner, @speedhunters (if your photos are being used in the post and would like them to be tagged please DM us ~ THANK YOU!)