Local Tauranga drivers will line-up alongside some of the worlds best drifters when the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship comes to Tauranga’s ASB Baypark Stadium January 8-9, 2016.
Round 2 of the championship held at Baypark will also be the championships only night event, with competitors competing at the tight and technical circuit in the evening.
With over 60 drivers competing over the two-day event, drifting has become one of New Zealand’s most popular motorsport disciplines.
Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. A car is drifting when the rear slip angle is greater than the front slip angle, to such an extent that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn (e.g. car is turning left, wheels are pointed right or vice versa, also known as opposite lock or counter-steering).
Professional drifting competitions like the Demon Energy D1NZ are judged according to the speed, angle, showmanship and line taken through a corner or set of corners, it gets more intense when judges ask competitors to slide the car past specific clipping points on the track with only millimeters clearance and another car chasing door to door all while maintaining the drift.
Lining up to do battle on the ‘concrete canyon’ Baypark circuit will be a host of local Tauranga drivers including Cole Armstrong, Drew Donovan, Adam Davies, Dave Steedman, Calvin Clark and one of the countries top female drifters Jodie Verhulst.
For Tauranga local, Jodie Verhulst (27), the Baypark circuit is a high risk complex where contact with the concrete barriers is inevitable.
“Baypark is really a concrete canyon and has some pretty big risks involved. Every driver who has had an altercation with the walls knows how fast and easy it happens, it’s not a case of if but when you are going to hit them. This is a high risk track with no room for error, definitely not for the faint hearted,” says Verhulst.
Growing up in a ‘petrol head’ family, Verhulst says it was only a matter of time before she herself got involved in some form of motorsport.
“I grew up with a ‘petrol head’ brother and a mechanic father so there wasn’t a lot of chance of being anything different! Drifting started for me when my partner Drew (Donovan) bought a car and started drifting. He gave me the opportunity to drive his pride and joy at a track day and I was instantly hooked. I have been driving alongside him ever since and now compete alongside him in the D1NZ Pro class.”
Verhulst will line-up for the event in her Milwaukee sponsored turbo charged Toyota Supra a car she works on and prepares herself.
“I do work on my own car with my dedicated team and would not be what you call a “typically” female. I take a lot of pride in my car and have been 100% involved in the build every step of the way. I think more females should give it a go!”
Not only will fans get to see the local drivers battle it out with the nations best, but they will also have the chance to see top professional US drift driver Ryan Tuerck compete in the championships wild-card 450Kw 6-cylinder D1NZ Toyota GT86.
Tuerck is expected to be a big draw card for the event, with the high profile American star relishing the opportunity to come to NZ and rub shoulders – or panel and paint – with the best of the Kiwis.
“I am super excited to travel back to New Zealand, one of my favourite countries in the world. This time to battle door to door with some of NZ’s best drivers under the lights of Baypark in D1NZ, says Tuerck.
Also competing will be one of Australia’s top drifters, Michael Prosenik who crosses the Tasman to compete with up to 60 other drivers including leading kiwi drivers such as current champion Darren Kelly (Auckland), and Curt Whitaker (Waihi) and Fanga Dan Woolhouse (Whangarei).
Fans will be treated to new cars, new drivers, a Demon Energy Freestyle FMX Show, car Show n Shine, a kids zone, Trade Stands, Free Pit-Walk and door to door battle action at one of the country’s most exciting drift sections.
After Round One of the championship held at Manfield in November, Whangarei’s Fanga Dan Woolhouse leads the championship from Curt Whittaker and Cole Armstrong.