A big shout out to upstairs for bringing the rain for round two of the Prowear NZ Superlap Series, held November 21, at Hampton Downs Raceway. With the copious amount of water being dumped onto the racetrack came a few upsets, namely Leon Scott taking out the overall win and class win with Garth Walden present in his recently updated Mitsubishi Evo. 

A 1:10.842 wasn’t Leon’s fastest time at Hampton Downs either — however, thanks to the rain, Garth was unable to catch Leon’s dry time. Where was Garth during the dry morning you ask? The Hell Evo was suffering a few aero issues, which were, painfully enough, sorted just in time for the rain.

Photo: Kaz Kostiuk-Warren

NZ Superlap competitors were in good spirits despite the weather, and more cars than ever before entered in the series, it was shaping up to be an action-packed one-day event. 

Jason Shortt made the trip to contest round two. Running on full slicks in his impressive-looking 2003 Subaru WRX STI Spec C wasn’t the wisest of moves, but he did get in a few laps to give the car a much-needed shakedown.

Jason’s Subaru is running a forged EJ20, using Mahle pistons and M&H rods. The heads have been worked with custom Kelford cams and the turbo is a Roger Clark Motorsport twin-scroll unit. The radiator, a SW20 MR2 item, has been V-mounted. Tuned with a Link G3 ECU, the EJ20 pumps out a reliable 273kW at the wheels.

Handling and braking is taken care of by HKS Hipermax Pro coilovers, 24mm Whiteline sway bars — front and rear — J’s Racing fender braces, Brembo calipers with Pagid pads, and DBA-slotted rotors. The massive full-slicks are 280/60/18 Hankooks from a V8 Super Tourer. I’m excited to see what this car is capable of once it has cut a few laps.

Unfortunately, Brad Jesson suffered serious engine-oil–pressure issues on the day, which seriously set him back. Not one lap was driven in anger all weekend. At least it looked warm under the car ...

Brad did extremely well on his first outing last round, so I’m excited to see what his 400kW-plus Mitsubishi Evo can pull out of the bag at Pukekohe, next round. He’s upgraded his roll cage and seats too, so he’s definitely getting serious. 

I’m not sure how, but Jtune managed to rope Kiwi racing-legend Ray Williams into pedalling their highly strung Honda Accord CL7, owned by Jason Hsu. 

Powered by a K24 engine, the CL7 is no longer a grocery-getter. Ray managed a 1:21.361, which in wet conditions is extremely fast. Ray even went on to contest 2K Cup in-between sessions. He may be getting older, but he certainly hasn’t lost his drive. 

Khan Machesney is no stranger to NZ Superlap, and he improves his times with every outing. A new turbo set-up, tune, and fuel set-up will see numbers drop again, but thanks to the rain, round two wasn’t that day. 

One driver that never fails to impress me, is Joe Ardagh. Every round, he drives his 1.6-litre non-VTEC Honda Civic down, and drives like a bat out of hell. Joe wants to learn the car, and improve his skills before adding any more power. Something admirable indeed; something I have mimicked with my recently purchased EK Civic, but more on that another day. 

Joe even brings a few distributors down to the track for good measure, usually needing at least one replacement over a weekend’s racing. A few mishaps off the front straight at crazy speeds saw several pairs of underpants being utilized, but Joe always came in grinning. A blast was certainly being had. 

Michelle Snell also had an incident on turn 10, however it didn’t dampen her spirits. Fluids were changed, bled, and checked, and she was out on the track again — alongside partner Michael Nealis. Their Subaru Legacy GT-B seems to run faultlessly with the upgraded WRX engine, and always shows decent pace. The duo’s best time a 1:25.606. 

A special mention must go out to Barry Manon, who once again took out the Pro Street category in his extremely potent front-wheel drive Levin. Barry’s best time was 1:11.314. Kat Benson placed second, with a new personal best of 1:14.959. 

Photo: Kaz Kostiuk-Warren

It was great to see not one, but two R34 GT-Rs out on the track competing this round. Emil Roshan is becoming somewhat of a regular amongst the NZ Superlap crowd, and this time around managed to run a 1:17.453, after fitting new suspension. Last round, Emil was suffering from serious instability in both corner and braking, and it was soon found that one of his struts was bent. Faizal Ramzan also made an appearance in his 600kW-at-the-wheels capable R34 GT-R. 

I’m chomping at the bit to get down to Pukekohe for the next round, held December 12–13. Pukekohe is a track not many drivers have raced competitively, so it’ll sure mix up the points. A huge thanks to Replay XD and Prowear for making this event possible. See you all next round! 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.