The year was 2000, and this Japanese form of driving a car sideways through a set of corners, known as drifting, was beginning to take the world by storm. Here in New Zealand a handful of pioneers was leading the way, with the first taste of the sport shown in NZPC from late 1998 with the guys from Auckland-based car club NiZan. The cars were basic at best, often with no cage, no power, and super-skinny wheels with 50psi or more needed just to break traction. Little did these guys know that the sport was about to explode in New Zealand — NiZan hosted the first drift track day on the old Taupo circuit in October 2000. Over the next few years it grew and grew, until the formation of teams like Driftcorp, WSR, and many others. 
In 2003 D1NZ hosted its first competition round at Manfeild, and 12 years later the series is still growing strong. 

If you recognize a driver in the gallery, comment below! 

This article was originally published in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 227. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below:

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.