In my years of being on set for a lot of media projects (many in Toronto, Canada) with directors, producers, stunt coordinators and drivers, I've learned that the common race car driver is not always best suited as an on-screen precision driver.
"Good drivers are a dime a dozen", there's no disagreeing with this phrase. In the media world there's more to being a great or fast driver that would make you favorable to the director. Most of the time in a lot of movie scenes, the speed is simulated to look like the cars are going faster than they actually are, for numerous reasons (safety, filming accuracy, etc).
There are so many factors as to what makes a precision driver. Yes, you have to increase the intensity of the shot, so knowing how to exaggerate a scene by making it look faster than it actually is, is important. Drifting does come into play here, but overdoing it is not always what the director wants, it has to look believable in the situation. Most common race car drivers spend a majority of their seat-time making the car grip to put down the best lap times or to be competitive head-to-head, but a car gripping the asphalt (although faster than drifting) isn't usually that desirable on the big screen. Aside from knowing how to drift a car thoroughly (which is also important since knowing how to drift is part of accident avoidance), best safety practices for EVERYTHING is the top priority. There is so much potential for damaging the cars and cameras, not to mention the people you are working with such as the film crew and cast (and don't forget about you)! One slip-up and there's a good chance you will not be called back to do any further driving scenes.
Being a precision driver is fun, but it's serious work. It's fun when you can look back on a successful day of filming, but on-set can be stressful and demanding. It's all a balance of great communications skills, being responsible and of course, being a thoroughly trained professional driver.
Please also check out www.driftcontrol.ca this is my drift school located near Toronto, Ontario, where we provide the cars to teach you drifting and skid control.