It’s been a while since I have spent some time at the racetrack watching drifting.
When I heard about the DClub Animal Style GP that was happening at Hampton Downs in Auckland New Zealand I knew it would be one event that I couldn’t miss.
Events like these got me into drifting, the jam style layout that promoted exciting driving always brings the best cars.
Rueben from DClub had Julian Jacobs and Jason Bostrom over from the USA to borrow his own 180SX and the CsGarage shop car.
The CsGarage brothers Adam and Joel have been pushing this style of driving for many years now with Graeme Smyth also joining the ranks and pushing his S13 to be one of the best drift cars I have ever seen.
Apron landing in New Zealand I got picked up by Mitch who was heading out to the test day the night before and we both made our way out to the track.
I hadn’t seen the new Hampton Downs layout before, this track extension had been in the works for a long time and only in recent years was added onto the main circuit.
I have fond memories of Hampton Downs, I visited my first D1NZ round there, met some great people who I still call friends, later competing in a round of D1NZ in Matt Sellars S14 and then filming Dream Build Drive in my Hilux.
I had been talking with Joel from CsGarage about coming over and had been really interested in the evolution of their cars over the past few years.
The cars had evolved with this new Hampton Downs layout, the track along with the regular drift days made it possible to develop and use the cars in a more Japanese style.
Its because of the fast right hand entry with its outer wall clip flowing into a switchback and then a back straight away that promotes regrouping for teams and cooling of engines.
With input from Naoki Nakamura for the Pink Style GP held a few years ago the boys started a new era of drifting in the north island that involved some different knuckle dimensions, higher ride heights (especially at the front) revised rear subframe alignment, larger rubber and a host of other changes to get the cars to perform with the higher expectations they now had after Naoki taught them a thing or two regarding drift car setup.
This knowledge along with the fabrication abilities of Adam and Graeme has lifted these cars to be the best examples of privateer drift cars I have ever seen.
To build cars to this level and to also keep the origins of the sport intact shows how much respect these guys have for drifting and preserving its roots.
The setup combined with the track layout made the friday afternoon test session raise my excitement of what was to come the following day.
The event didn’t disappoint with all drivers absolutely getting in the groove early in preparation for the afternoon sessions.
I had the job of judging the afternoon team competition with Mez from WreckEm and Palmer from Animal Style and we all agreed that the Cs boys put on the best show with the BStyle crew from the South Island impressing us all on this new track layout.
What an event, the cars, the level of driving, the friendships and the good times in the pits exemplified why drifting is such a fun community to be a part of.
Now I just have to figure out how to get my 180SX over the ditch and get some practice in to mix it with these boys!