Im finally back in Australia and have had a day to reflect on what was a whirl wind tour of New Zealands premier drift event, want to know the full story? Then read on. Photo credits to my sister and Joey at Jackedit
Im going to head right back to the start of my drifting career, growing up in a small country town in the late 90s i loved BMX, then Motocross and then Cars, my family would take me to drag events, summernats and all types of muscle car events. When i was old enough to get my licence it was 2001 and my love for japanese cars started to take over, i didnt really know about the internet and my only outlet to the world was through my newsagent. There was one magazine that i would look forward to every month NZPC it was a magazine that showcased NZ’s love for hardcore japanese cars and it put NZ on my “todo” list long before i could even own a car.
So its 2012 and im in a racesuit preparing to head out on a track, nearly everythings new to me, im on a track ive never driven on, a car i have never driven in, tyres i have never driven on and competitors ive never encounted before. Like always i push away the nerves and concentrate on the job ahead.
The car in question is a S14 Kouki Silvia, ill give you a quick run down on the car and my impressions. The Sellers family started with a damaged shell and prepared it with a full weld in roll cage, they cut out most of the useless sheetmetal that isnt needed, the windows all bar the front and rear have been replaced with lexen, the doors were guttered and fitted with alloy door cards as per D1NZ rules, the wiring was all ripped out and redone from scratch, the suspension setup runs HSD coilovers, Adjustable toe and camber arms in the rear, Garage H knuckles up front with the rack moved forward and S14 LCA that we scolloped out a little on the friday night for more lock.
I still didnt get a photo of the engine bay, maybe because its been so reliable that it never gets to see the daylight. Starting at the front the boys did a neat V mount radiator and intercooler setup with removable rad support, from there the motor is a dead stock NA SR20DE plus turbo, thats right its a $100 motor that has lasted many a beatings at the hands of Matt and Jason over the last couple of years. The turbo is an old T3-T4 cheap job thats also lasted a long time aswell supplying the 18 pound to the DE and making 240 odd KW at the wheels thanks to the guys at E&H motors Pukekohe. The upgraded 5 puck clutch is a great match for the factory S14 5 speed as its a little forgiving on the factory box, from there its out to an R200 2 way diff, the Sellers family are smart and have this car dialed in super well, its a lesson in building a semi competitive car with brains over raw $$.
My first laps out on the Hampton Downs circuit i was impressed with car, it needed some more lock (which we found) but apart from that it amazed me, compared to my car it was a little stiffer, a little lighter, stopped a little better but didnt have that hard TD06 power punch that my car gives, although we have much the same power figure the TD06 seems to make that midrange feel a lot greater. After 1 lap my nerves had gone, the 1000 questions in my brain about how the car will drive had been answered and i was just having fun.
There is no doubting that the best driver/car combos are in D1NZ, not only that but the style they use to drive is a little different to other countries. There dosnt seem to be the drag race culture that you commonly see in other countries, there never seems to be those few cars that can pull car lengths on others through the course.
Friday was spent practicing and learning about the car, i dont think i have had this much seat time at a competition for a long time, i got the feel for the track and started concentrating on clipping points line and entry markers.
D1NZ judge and all round nice guy Justin Rood gave me some pointers on what to do at Hampton Downs, the key was keeping the first clip tight and fast with a quick switch over the hill and then a clean outside clip on both the right and then left of the track.
Carrying speed through the first clip allows the car to run out wide and get closer to the outside clip, Matt’s S14 lacked about 30KW in this area as it started to grip up and straighten out making it harder to extend the corner without driving too shallow. I did my best and managed to qualify 15th.
This put me straight into the top 16 and up against Dan “Fanga” Woolhouse in his Castrol Edge Commodore, Dan is known for his aggressive driving and i was cirtainly the underdog in this match up. My crew made sure that i knew not to let Fanga run away from me on entry, i knew what to do as i practiced against some faster guys earlier in the day.
My battle with Fanga went to plan and i was able to match him through the course, on my chase run i made sure that i initiated later than Fanga to be able to get up beside him, the brakes on Matts S14 where amazing and with the new front tyres on the car it pulled up really well making battles like this a little easier.
I returned back to the startline and sat next to the big commodore, this is where i started to feel a little nervous, what if i win this battle? Here i am flying in for one round and this guy is in the points chase for the championship he has worked 6 rounds for.
We were told to go again for a rematch.
On the rerun Fanga really pulled out all stops and made up the judges mind for them, i returned to the pits and was happy for the fight i put up.
As the day came to a close and i watched the final battles i was really happy with everything that had gone down, theres a few people that i must thank.
First of all the Sellers family, you guys had given up your car, your time and your hospitality to us, to be able to book a flight, orginize some tires and rock up to the racetrack with nothing but my gear bag was an honour.
D1NZ officials and crew, Brendon thank you for allowing me into the series and to drive against some of my idols, Justin Rood thanks for the tips and pointers for the circuit and how you guys judge, you did a great job and made us feel very welcome.
My family for their support over the weekend, my sister for the photos, my girlfriend for her support, Joey for the shots, Roger Steve and Bro for coming along.
Also thank you to those in the crowd for the support, if you cheered, bought a Tshirt or had a chat with me over the weekend then you made a difference.
D1NZ i hope to see you again later in the year!