Kiki Sak Nana - Calling time on a glittering career

Kiki Sak Nana - Calling time on a glittering career

17.02.2017: Thailand has produced a string of contemporary star racing drivers that have gone out into the world and demonstrated their skills,

Thailand has produced a string of contemporary star racing drivers that have gone out into the world and demonstrated their skills, carrying the national flag high and with pride.

But without any disrespect to any of our currently racing champs, one driver really stands out – his is the first name off any fan’s lips – but more than just an idol to motorsport fans such has been the winning narrative of his career that he’s long since made the less common transition to mainstream celebrity in his own right.

That driver is Sak Nana, who is known simply as ‘Kiki’ to many millions of Thais. And the news that will shock his legion of fans is that he’s hanging up his helmet and retiring.

Synonymous with the discipline of drifting, Kiki has just one final appointment on his racing calendar – the famous ‘drift show’ at the Bangsaen Grand Prix, coming up next week. It will be an emotional farewell at an event that always features a packed house, but more of that later.

So why after a stellar career that has brought such impressive rewards, particularly during the last few years and especially so in the season just gone where he’s been bang at the top of his game, has Kiki decided now is the right time to retire?

 “Time’s up,” he answers simply, explaining that he’s reached the peak of his career. “I’ve spent a lot of my life in racing and especially in the last three to five years in Germany I have tried to reach as high a point as I could and I reached it,” he says.

“I’ve drifted all around the world and I’ve been top of the rankings in the world, three times in the top five in three of my years and I’ve gone as high as I can, especially racing in Germany.”

Many drivers prefer the comfort of being a big fish in a small pond but that route never really appealed to Kiki, even if his huge home following would have still been 100% behind him win, lose or draw.

He took the challenge of mixing it with the best of the best in the world head on – in recent years he has raced in Germany, arguably the toughest domestic racing scene in the world. And Germany is where Kiki has excelled and made his mark. Further arguably, the Nürburgring 24 Hours is regarded by many as the toughest race in the world.

 Held on the Nordschleife and known simply as the ‘24’ to those who participate in this manic race, it was dubbed the ‘Green Hell’ by Jackie Stewart and the nickname stuck. Conditions are insane, rain, hail and snow can hit the track at any point while the other side could be dry and sunny – it’s so lethal that Formula 1 turned its back on the Nordschleife 40 years ago.

Kiki first went there in 2012 and a year later he won his class – an historic achievement and one of the greatest ever results by a Thai driver in history. When he crossed the finishline he had truly cemented his name into our record books in big block letters.

Two years later he was back on the podium while last year in the ‘VLN’ series he claimed five class wins from ten races. “No grip, can’t see, push hard” he recently captioned a post from VLN on Instagram – that sums up VLN racing, professional race driving in general and of course this man himself.

It’s pretty hard to top the achievements of the last five years and Kiki admits that helps to make it the right time to stop.

 “I’ve done what I set out to do, what I wanted to achieve,” he says. “I have a daughter and a lot of business commitments, I’ve given racing all my time for the last five years and there are many more things I want to do with my life.”

His journey in the cockpit actually started back in 1991 in Formula Ford at Donington Park, as far removed a setting from the warmth and comfort of Thailand that you could get. He started getting wins and the podiums under his belt in the UK and moved onto saloon cars.

It was in 1997 though that Kiki embarked on a career change that would cement his place in Thai urban folklaw as he began drifting – it was like a duck taking to water and he remembers fondly some of the biggest highlights of his racing career.

“I started drifting at the big tuning events, the Birmingham Motor Show and the Max Power Show at the NEC [in the UK], at shows in Ireland and the Motorsport Show at Hockenheim,” he says. “That was between 2000 and 2005 and I drifted in almost every country in Europe, it was great to bring drifting to the shows and to the fans.”

He even represented Thailand during the ‘Race of Champions’ when it came to Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium in 2012. This is what, who described him as the ‘Guru of Drift’ after seeing him in action, said at the time:

“We were immediately impressed not just by his love of drifting his Toyota GT86, but also his disregard for the rules!” Never a truer statement, he defined his drifting in his own showman style.

While chasing racing glory around the world, Kiki never forgot to keep close to the Thai fans and was always a regular face in Super Car. During the TSS era he will be fondly remembered for racing a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 and Porsche 997 GT3-R in Super Car Class 1 as well as for electrifying the crowds with the Krating Daeng Drift Team.

Now we are about to come full circle. Next weekend in Bangsaen when the sun starts to drop towards the glittering ocean and the late afternoon shadows begin to lengthen it means only one thing – the ‘drift show’ is about to begin.

 It’s the main attraction and the fans cling to every available vantage point to get a better view as the squealing of tyres signals that the gladiators have arrived. It ends in clouds of smoke drifting across the ocean’s waters and into the sunset. Now the greatest drifting gladiator is about to enter the ring once more and there isn’t going to be a dry eye in the house.

Kiki promises a special show on a track he loves. “Bangsaen is one of the greatest places to be,” he says “In my heart there are only two places I want to race, Bangsaen and the Nordschleife; in Bangsaen I love everything, I love the track, I love the atmosphere, I love the food, I love the fans and I love the hospitality, I really love the place.

Khun Sontaya Kunplome has done so much for Thai motorsport, given so much, so it’s great to drift in Bangsaen. But now it’s time for a new generation to do my job, to show what they can do.

“The track is something special, it’s difficult and it changes, you need twenty different settings in one lap,” he says, while promising to put on a real show.

 “I want the spectators to enjoy it, I promise a hardcore drift show that everyone will remember and this time I will have a spare car with me; usually I don’t have a spare but I will be able to put on a hardcore show. I will also have a lucky draw for our team’s fans to sit alongside me.”

TSS is clearly as excited as everyone else to see Kiki back in action in Bangsaen but we will deeply miss him. He’s given so much to the sport and offered so much support for the series so we wish him well for the future and now look forward to the grand finale.

- Edd Ellison, photos TSS


17.02.2017 / MaP

Weitere Beiträge

Thai legend to hang up his helmet after Bangsaen
We’re heading into the final countdown to the 10th Anniversary Bangsaen Grand Prix; the racecars will take to the track for the first time in just four days’ time for the opening practice sessions while this time next week the opening races will be about to get underway weiter >>
Darryl O'Young rejoins B-Quick Racing in Bangsaen
B-Quik Racing is pleased to announce that Darryl O’Young will rejoin the team for the 10th Anniversary Bangsaen Grand Prix, 21-26 February; the Hong Kong driver being reunited with our Porsche 997 GT3 Cup for his third shot at the prestigious street race.  weiter >>
Relentless push for ever greater safety in Bangsaen
While the Bangsaen Street Circuit might look broadly visually similar along its 3.7 km length to the casual observer the big two-year push to attain FIA Grade 3 homologation has seen virtually every aspect of the safety barriers lining the two sides of the track renewed, changed, upgraded or evolved right down to the very tiniest details. weiter >>
TA2 set to preview its pump in Bangsaen
“TA2” (which stands for “Trans-Am 2”) is an exciting new ‘one make’ racing formula that’s busy establishing itself around the globe and is now getting set to burst into life in Thailand. In short it’s a pukka U.S.-built racing weiter >>
TSS to join Bira Circuit 30th Anniversary Celebrations
Thailand Super Series is pleased to take part in the official celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Bira International Circuit, which will take place this coming Saturday, 4 FebruaryThe event was originally planned for last October but was rescheduled due to the national perio weiter >>
TSS: Downsizing for a new future
Super 2000 has earned its place in the affections of Thai motorsport fans as arguably the closest fought championship on the calendar, without fail it guarantees door action in true touring car style as the top Thai drivers pull no punches in the quest for victory.It's had a st weiter >>
BIg changes in Bangsaen
The final pieces of the jigsaw for the 10th Bangsaen Grand Prix are rapidly falling into place and one of the biggest – and most visually striking – pieces is the brand new purpose built permanent Race Administration Building tha weiter >>
Ian Geekie to join B-Quick Super Car line-up at Bangsaen GP
B-Quik Racing is pleased to announce that Ian Ross Geekie, a very familiar name in Asian motorsport circles, will be joining the team during the 10th Anniversary Bangsaen Grand Prix next month to drive the second of our entries in Super Car GTC. Ian will pilot the weiter >>
Return to Bangsaen
B-Quik Racing is tweaking its lineup in both Super Car GTM and GTC for next month’s 10th Anniversary Bangsaen Grand Prix, bringing in one returning driver and adding one new face to the team. The latter dr weiter >>
Douglas Khoo to join TCR mix in Bangsaen
We will welcome a new name to the TCR Thailand ranks next month in Bangsaen – Douglas Khoo. The Malaysian driver is relatively new to racing but he’s racked up a lot of experience already and interestingly he’s fully onboard t weiter >>
TSS: Last of the Mohicans
Well it would be slightly difficult to mistake him for a native American warrior, certainly he wears an FIA homologated race helmet rather than a flamboyant headdress. But Super 2000 is a category exclusively reserv weiter >>
Countdown underway to inaugural Tour of Bangsaen
“The Tour of Bangsaen 2016” is a brand new 115 km cycle race that has been rescheduled to take place on 5th February 2017 and is promoted by Racing Spirit. It complements the Bangsae weiter >>
A moment for motorsport to reflect and pay its respects
The Royal Automobile Association of Thailand Under Royal Patronage organized a special event a week last Sunday afternoon that allowed the Thai motorsport community to come together as one to pay respect and offer condolences to the re weiter >>
Thai Motosport pays its repects
The Royal Automobile Association of Thailand Under Royal Patronage organized a special event that allowed the Thai motorsport community to come together as one to pay respect and offer condolences to the recent passing of His Royal H weiter >>
Thailand Super Series race calendar 2017
Press Conference 2016 Champions Night 2015 4 May 2016 Asiatique, BangkokRound 1 & 2 19-22 May 2016 CIC, Buriram Round 3 & 4   7-10 July 2016 CIC, Buriram Round 5 & 6 8-11 S weiter >>
Caterham’s visit Thailand for the first time
TSS was joined during the last round at Bira Circuit round by the Caterham Motorsport Championship, a so far Sepang Circuit based series exclusively reserved for the historic Caterham Seven single seater racecars, which slotted into t weiter >>
TSS Super 2000 at Bira Circuit:Veni, Vidi, Vici
With all due respect to Super 2000 championship runaway leader Kittipol Pramoj Na Ayudhya who came to Bira Circuit for the penultimate round of the season last September with a clearly focused mission to rack up the points he require weiter >>
TCR grows in Asia with arrival of China series
TCR’s growing presence in Asia has been further strengthened by the recent launch of a China series in addition to the existing Asia Series and TCR Thailand, the first national TCR series on the continent, which was launched las weiter >>
Porsche Carrera Cup coming to Bangsaen
This year will see the Bangsaen Grand Prix shifting from its traditional end of year calendar date to July, just in time for the eleventh edition and that’s one of a number of major strategic changes that accompany the ki weiter >>
Thailand Super Series gearing up for an exciting 2017
We’re quickly heading into 2017 and the fifth year of Thailand Super Series (TSS) – while it already promises to be the most exciting season yet. The Bangsaen Grand Prix’s entrance onto the world stage weiter >>
B-Quick to join Bira Circuit 30th anniversary celebrations
B-Quik Racing is pleased to take part in this coming weekend’s 30th Anniversary celebrations of Bira International Circuit with two of our racecars set to be on show and in track action while we will also be supporting the event as a sponsor.Bira Int weiter >>
TSS to join Bira Circuit 30th Anniversary Celebrations
Thailand Super Series is pleased to take part in the official celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Bira International Circuit, which will take place on 15 October.We will present a trio of racing machines that provide a snapshot of t weiter >>
TSS Round 3, Bira Circuit Super 2000, Sunday review
Thailand Super SeriesTSS Round 3, Bira Circuit Super 2000, Sunday (Race 6 of the year).Sunday’s second race saw a front row of Phatwit and Ekprawat with Kittipol and Munkong lining up on Row 2 while the previous day’s winner, weiter >>
TSS Round 3, Bira Circuit Super 2000 Saturday review
Thailand Super Series TSS Round 3, Bira Circuit Super 2000 Saturday (Race 5 of the year).Pole position eventually went to Chayut Yangpichit in the TT Motorsport Honda DC 5 as he was elevated post-qualifying from his berth on the other side of t weiter >>
Bangsaen infrastructure upgrades well underway
Significant elements of infrastructure upgrades in order to achieve FIA Grade 3 homologation are progressing at the Bangsaen Street Circuit and with less than a month and a half now remaining until the 10th Anniversary edition gets underway it’s a case of weiter >>
TSS - Super 2000 delivers up the thrills at Bira
Thailand Super Series at Bira CircuitFuse Super 2000 with Bira Circuit and the sparks are always going to be flying. It was no different a story when Thailand’s long running headline ‘touring car weiter >>
TSS Super Car GTC Race 2 Saturday at Bira Circuit
Thailand Super Series - GTC  - race 6 of the yearAt the rolling start Manat got a real flyer and came thundering down the inside, surged ahead of Narasak and took the wide line as the cars braked and swung left and uphill through Turn 2 for the weiter >>
TSS Super Car GTC Race 1 Saturday at Bira Circuit
Thailand Super Series - GTC  - race 5 of the yearThe two impressive KTM X-Bow GT4s took up their position on the front row in the early afternoon heat and it already looked like no one was going to get a look in over the following 22 laps. For the fi weiter >>
Vattana sweep up in Thailand Super Series GTC and TCR at Bira
Vattana Motorsport swept up at Bira International Circuit in two of the standout categories on the bumper Thailand Super Series (TSS) programme – Super Car GTC and TCR Thailand. The team rac weiter >>


© 2001-2017 full copyright