You can easily spot Lemoine on the track thanks to his 1999 Chevrolet S-10 pickup. Here's what he had to say after the fourth round of the 2013 DMCC in Victoriaville, Quebec.
Marie-Laurence Paquin (Auto123): How did you start drifting?
Maxim Lemoine (ML): I bought my truck when I was just 15, and didn't even have my driver's licence yet. A year later, I was drifting all the time in empty parking lots, practicing my clutch kicks, and loving it. I attended a few DMCC events and wanted to be a part of it. I tried to sell my truck to buy a Silvia, but it didn't work out, so I decided to turn it into a drift car. I said to myself: “I learned how to drive with this truck; now, I'm going to win races with it!
I started the tuning process six years ago. Every penny I earned -- and a few more I borrowed -- went into it. My parents helped me a lot so that I could live my passion. In 2011, I took my truck to the track for the first time, and I performed minimal tests as part of the 418 Drift Days. It was still a prototype -- an ugly black-and-yellow prototype with a welded suspension!
Auto123: What drove you to enter the DMCC Pro Am Class in 2012?
ML: During the 2011-2012 off-season, I modified just about everything by myself: the engine, the chassis, and so on. At the time, entering the Pro Am Class cost $800. I was very motivated, and I worked hard to get the cash.
My first-ever competition took place on a rainy day, but since I was so used to drifting in the snow it felt easy and I actually won. The truck drove on worn-out rubber, so I invested my $1,000 prize into a brand new set of tires. And what do you know? I won the second round, too! I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately, I finished 12th in the next event, which hit me really hard. Still, I managed to post good results over the remainder of the season and became the Pro Am champ!
Auto123: What modifications did you make to your Chevy this past winter?
ML: Well, I replaced the engine with an LSX 454 developed by Chevrolet Performance. It generates 700 horsepower. Then, I fitted wider tires and wheels to enjoy a better grip, and I changed the suspension following my crash in Montmagny late last year. I also had the truck repainted.
Auto123: Do you think it's harder to modify a truck than a car?
ML: No, not really. It's all manual work. I have leaf springs in the rear and adjustable coil over shocks up front. If drift racing with a big truck like that was a real handicap, I wouldn't be leading the DMCC!
My top priority is reliability. It's a lot less stressful during the competitions: I see other teams scrambling to repair and adjust their cars, while it's smooth sailing from where we stand.
Auto123: Tell me, what's your goal for this season?
ML: Back in the spring, my goal was to qualify in each round and keep progressing from the Top 16 to the Top 8 and then the Top 4. I never really aimed for the podium. Of course, after finishing 8th in Montmagny to kick off the season, I won the next round in St-Eustache! With my second place in Ste-Croix, I needed to revise my plans.
Between you and me, I would love to win the championship, but sometimes I think it's next to impossible. I'm still a rookie in the Pro Class, after all. I go up against drivers who've been doing it for 10 years -- guys like Pat Cyr, my childhood idol, whom I almost beat after a “One More Time” at the beginning of the season. Going neck-and-neck with him was surreal!
The amount of time I spend on the track gives me an edge. Beyond the competitions, I train and practice at least a dozen times throughout the season.
|Photo: Antoine de Cardaillac|