With only three weeks until the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship final at Pukekohe Park Raceway, NZ Performance Car driver Darren Kelly finds himself sitting atop the championship 35.5 points clear of Curt Whittaker. Darren's performance this season has earned him a first, a second, and two fourth places putting him in a strong position to take his first D1NZ Pro championship in only his second Pro season.   

Heading into Pukekohe the RB30-powered R34 Skyline has undergone a transformation, welcoming on board new title sponsor Hi-Tec Oils from Australia. Hi-Tec are big supporters of drifting in Australia so it's exciting to see the brand moving into the sport, and the market, here in New Zealand.

They said to NZPC, “Hi-Tec Oils are excited to announce our partnership with Darren Kelly Drift as the naming rights sponsor for the final round of D1NZ, and look to support him in future years. 

“We first ventured into drifting in 2014 partnering with Hi-Tec Drifting Australia and this opportunity to work with one of the most prestigious drift series in the Southern Hemisphere, by sponsoring a top car within the D1NZ series is a great fit for Hi-Tec Oils.”

Hi-Tec Oils management continued, “We look forward to building our relationship with D1NZ, and wish all of the teams the best of luck for the final round of the D1NZ series — we can’t wait to see them on track.”

Alongside the fresh look, the R34 has never been more competitive following a season of heavy development in both the suspension and engine bay. Finally Darren believes the car has found a good balance. 

“I decided to make the switch to E85, as you can’t argue with the results, but a few things needed to be changed first. The old .63 rear housing on the turbo was great on pump gas, but would seriously hold us back on E85, so I made the move to a .82 rear housing. I also had a new exhaust system fabricated and the fuel system upgraded to something capable of handling E85. We weren't quite sure what it would make on Glenn Sucklings dyno, but were pleasantly surprised when it made 410kW at the wheels on 12psi, 479kW on 17psi, and 527kW on 20psi,” Darren said.

In the suspension department the car nows runs a full TDP super angle kit up front and Parts Shop Max drop knuckles in the rear. 

“We are still fine-tuning the Skyline's set-up, so we’re excited to see what the future brings once the package is all dialled in properly — much like Gaz Whiter has managed to achieve over time with his Nissan Silvia,” Darren told us. 

Heading into Pukekohe, Darren will be changing diff ratios to ensure the car has the wheel speed for the infamous sweeper. Other than that it will just come down to getting in some practise as the R34 has never been there, and the last time Darren drove at Pukekohe was six years ago, unlike most of his competition, which ran in Pro there three seasons back.

Bring on Puke! 

Marcus Gibson

Marcus Gibson has spent his life getting a little grease under his fingernails growing up with a fascination for all things loud, fast, and low. Growing up during the boom of the import scene, the last ten years have seen him work for a few publications, as well as running his own website before taking up a role at NZ Performance Car in 2011. Marcus is as at home with a keyboard or camera in-hand as he is getting dirty in his workshop or at the track, championing that Kiwi DIY attitude.