After a season away from the popular Manfield Racecourse in Feilding, D1NZ finally returned for the inaugural round of the 2014/2015 D1NZ National Drifting Championship. I’ve always held this track as my overall favourite in New Zealand, and now that Taupo is off the schedule I think most of the other drivers have the same feeling. The high speed entry combined with the banked corners through “splash”, and the tricky final corner hairpin all add up to a great combination of corners and close battles.
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.
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.
When building a car to drift, you’re constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries. And seeing as getting sideways with big angle is the whole point of the sport, steering lock is something that all drift cars need upgraded at some point as the driver gets more confident behind the wheel.