Coming off the back of a second place finish at D1NZ Round1, I was feeling pretty good about coming into the first of the custom street circuit tracks on this years’ D1NZ schedule. While it is an awesome venue for spectators, with seats that put you only metres away from the action, Mt Smart stadium has never really been the best in terms of a “drivers track”. The converted car park has multiple surface changes, concrete walls that can suck you into them, and bad visibility at night. And all of this is why they call it the “concrete jungle”.
Last season, the RX7 was practically unchanged mechanically, as I had a great 2012/2013 year and wanted to keep that momentum going with a proven package. The main thing we did was upgrade the exhaust from my less than ideal setup to a full custom Sinco item. What I found out, is that alot of what we had setup was good at the time, but we had also taken some shortcuts and not thought things completely through. You can’t move forward without change, so it was time to change some things about the FC.
Even though it was two months ago, I still feel like I’m recovering from the only South Island stop on the D1NZ tour. Mike Pero Motorsport Park just outside of Christchurch, is one of the longest drift sections and is known for breaking cars.
The host track of last years final round, Ricoh Taupo Motorsport Park is often referred to as the “drivers track” of D1NZ. The track is run in reverse direction, and is a fast, flowing, full throttle section that leaves my car chewing Achilles tyres in 4th gear the whole run. Taupo also has the best pit area setup of the series, with proper garages and viewing from the corporate boxes above them.
After missing round 2 of D1NZ at Whangarei due to injury, I couldn’t wait to get back behind the wheel at round3. The custom built track at Mt Maunganui’s Baypark Stadium is one of the most fun courses on the calendar, bringing together not only speed and technical aspects, but also one hell of a crowd and an awesome atmosphere.
Over the last 5 years, I’ve worked closely with Dodson Performance and used their products on many of my race and street cars. When building the RX7, we chose to use their HSD suspension and it has worked very well over the last 3 years, providing a low ride height and great performance on the track. While there was nothing wrong with our previous setup, with the constant progression of drifting we are always looking to improve the car and it’s handling characteristics. So the decision was made this year to switch to another brand of suspension also available from Dodsons: OZ Racing Suspension.