In case you have been under a rock for the past few months the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship is making a return to Pukekohe Park Raceway this weekend. We attended the media day today as we were too damn excited that drifting was finally back at Puke and here are ten reasons you should not miss this weekend's action!
10. It's been four years since D1NZ hit the iconic track
For most of us that live in the upper North Island, Pukekohe is the spiritual home of drifting. We got our first taste of the sport there, and it spurred on a generation to build cars and give it a go. For many years it looked like a few disgruntled locals had ended the fun for everyone, but D1NZ pushed on and fought to get it back!
9. It's fast
Amongst all this talk about 200kph entries you almost forget how fast that actually is until standing mere metres away from a car throwing it sideways, separated only by a concrete wall. All the drivers had an ear of caution during today's first session, you could see it in the driving. It's not easy drifting at those speeds, it separates the men from the boys.
8. It’s scary
Most drifters have a few screws loose inside their heads, and fear is not often found in their psyche; but entering two metres early or two metres late and you're in for a wild ride. We saw many of the big names have scary moments this morning at over 180 clicks, that is no joke! Then there is standing trackside to get these photos! Now that certainly gets the heart racing.
7. It takes skill
Most people with half a brain and a big set of nuts can attempt it, but entering on someone's door at 180kph-plus, and staying there so you maintain proximity for the entire section and not throw the battle will make for some insane viewing. The Puke monster is not just about the sweeper, it's just that it's a key element to nailing the entire section.
6. It’s a challenge to get the car working
Four years ago these cars had a lot less grip, a lot less power, and were essentially easier to drive. The sweeper does not require mechanical grip to drift; it relies on momentum to initiate, and then speed to get you around the bend safely and complete the section in a haze of smoke. This is a good test for not only the drivers but the teams engineering the machines.
5. 200km tandems are no joke
When is the last time you went 200? That's fast even in Ricky Bobby’s language. Speed = thrills and excitement that few other tracks offer anywhere in the world. If there is one event where it’s safe to buy into the hype, it’s Puke.
4. There will be carnage
We aren't hoping that there will be any crashes as that's not cool, but we are sure there are those bloodthirsty cretins amongst you that want to see crashes! This is one track that is almost guaranteed to deliver that for you.
3. It’s basically one of the best views you will ever get at a drift track
If you splurged for the VIP grandstands or you’re in GA, the viewing is pretty damn good at Pukekohe — you're close to the sweeper and can see all the way to Castrol with ease. Bang for buck, the stands are the best and the noise echoes up there, all adding to the atmosphere.
2 Watching a live-stream will never get your heart racing
Sure there is a free live-stream running all weekend, and that's cool for those that can’t travel or live overseas; but getting your arse off the couch and to the track will reward you with feeling alive! Go on — get as close to that sweeper as the D1NZ crew allow and feel your heartbeat race. If that doesn't get your heart racing, then perhaps the guaranteed swag of promo girls strolling the place handing out free stuff will get you to the gate!
1. A champion will be crowned
Lets not forget why we are all there in the first place, and that is to round out the 2014/2015 Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship and crown a new DK in both Pro-Am and Pro. With a handful of drivers still in with a chance, it's going to come down to the wire. Some might go as far as saying (us included) that Sunday is going to be a nail biter.