Gregory Chivchyan is a double FIA Intercontinental drift champion. He has his own workshop and drift track in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. It’s the perfect place to host a Zimkhana – which translated from Russian loosely means winter-khana. We sat down with him moments after he wrapped up his third Zimkhana to get a penny, or rather rouble, for his thoughts.
You just finished staging another Zimkhana. How do you feel?
I’m so incredibly happy that we have such a strong community for drifting here in Krasnoyarsk. People say it’s the capital of drifting in Russia and, the fact we have this event here, is the proof. We’ve so many talented drifters here. I wouldn’t have my own racetrack if it was just for myself. I built this place to be shared with the many. I think having the event yesterday on the Red Ring is also one of the reasons that this event works so well because without it I don’t think we could have so many drivers attending here.
There were a lot of experienced drivers as well as some younger competitors. In a way you’re helping the next generation get into drifting.
Yes, I don’t really see it as my duty or anything but I’m always very excited when I see young guys take up the steering wheel and start drifting. If I can see a way to help them I always will. There are so many bad places for youngsters to end up in terms of hobbies or bad friends and I think drifting is a really good and accessible one.
One of the big stars of the event is Masato Kawabata. How important is it for you to have him here?
I’ve known Masato-san for quite some time and we’re good friends. I think it’s important to have people from all places here and have them discover what winter drifting is.
We’ve briefly spoken about your test track. How did that come about?
When we built this shop, we knew we had to lay a lot of asphalt, so my first thought was “why do we have to make it straight?”. So, we looked around and rebuilt one of my favourite tracks.
When I look at your workshop, apart from the Ladas, I see a lot of Japanese cars. Where did the fascination with Japanese machines come from?
That’s easy. When you look around this city you see a lot of Japanese cars. In Krasnoyarsk we have a strong Japanese car culture. When I grew up here, I saw so many cool Japanese sports cars. I love the way they’re designed and the way they drive. On top of that they’re so well engineered that it’s very easy to get a lot of horsepower from them.