In the world of competitive drifting there is a big rush towards large-capacity function warriors that seem to forgo the uniqueness that drew me and many others to the sport all those years ago. And I get it, grass-roots and top-tier drifting are not one in the same, and that's fine. But it's refreshing to see those amongst the Pro-Am ranks who still value car style as much as they do getting on the podium.
Ben Jenkins, the younger of the two Team Jenkins Motorsport brothers, has just completed his rookie season in the Demon Energy D1NZ ranks, finishing ninth overall in a campaign that included a first place in Pro-Am at Pukekohe for round six.
The win was a huge confidence boost for the young wheelman, proving to himself that he has the car and skills required for the job. This coming season Ben plans to run in the new Pro-Sport category, which is sure to breed a more experienced driver as he goes up against a selection of top-level drivers looking to step down into the more affordable class.
“It's definitely going to be fun to drive with whoever steps down. Being able to drive with people at 100 per cent, there is no better feeling,” stated Ben.
Picking up the car as a going concern around two years ago, the Audi apprentice mechanic wasted no time in setting up the car to run in Pro-Am. There is no denying that he has built one of the coolest-looking cars on the Pro-Am grid, and he works hard to keep it looking that way round after round.
Already caged when he picked it up, Graeme Smyth at SMS Fabrication added in a few more bars for good luck. Despite this, Ben has also kept a very street-car feel with door cards and full dash still employed. Note the secondary B-pillar bars and the cross in the roof; this shell is now bombproof.
A pair of Bride Zeta 3s, a Grip Royal wheel, Parts Shop Max handbrake, and Parts Shop Max shift knob complete the interior set-up.
A staunch member of the SR20 gang, Ben's S13 has a great bark. “I'm SR at heart, I know them inside out and they make good power. I haven't had one issue all season.”
That's not bad for an engine that Ben and Adam Hedges screwed together overnight before round one. The block is an S15 item and remains stock on the bottom end, although it will be forged soon. The head runs a pair of Brian Crower 264-degree cams and valve train, along with a Cosworth head gasket and ARC sump. Backing the SR is an Ogura Racing clutch, RB25DET five-speed, and R200 diff. Being a small-capacity SR, it's the diff that is frequently changed in search of the perfect ratio to keep up with those RB boys.
Sitting on a C's Garage mid-mount manifold is a Kinugawa TD06-20g turbo, which is currently producing 16psi of boost. Hidden out of sight is the 44mm Turbosmart wastegate. An E&H Motors–tuned Link G4+ controls everything, including the Sard 850cc injectors. The 270kW package provides a very responsive power curve with little in the way of lag. It might not be producing the numbers bigger-capacity engines are, but Ben is looking to add the larger TD06 and a little more boost to reach around that 300–320kW mark.
Cooling is taken care of by a Fenix race radiator, Fenix oil cooler, and Parts Shop Max mid-mount intercooler kit. The best thing about these mid-mount kits is the fact that they keep the coolant pipes short, and also make use of the air flow through the grill keeping the cooler out of harm's way.
Lock is handled by C's Garage 555 lower arms, knuckles, and subframe re-locators. Parts Shop Max coilovers, camber arms, toe arms, subframe risers, and rear drop knuckles take care of the rest. The S13 runs a very aggressive alignment and some pretty-low tyre pressures to keep up with the Jones'.
“Its an animal to drive, the accelerator is more of a button; on or off. It's really grippy for the power, but if we can get a bit more mechanical grip that will be good — you still have to keep up with these guys,” he says.
Ben is running staggered Work XD9s measuring 17x9.5 inches to aid with lock up front and 18x10 inches at the rear. As per both the Pro-Am and Pro-Sport rules the 10s are wrapped in 235 non-semi-slick rubber. Parts Shop Max adjustable spacers make sure the Works are filling the Origin Labo front and rear over fenders.
The Orgin Labo over fenders are topped off with the Origin Labo streamline kit. A roof wing and small rear spoiler finish the bodywork off.
This car has both form and function, and blurs the lines between the two with little effort. In the world of competition drifting, if this is what the next generation of New Zealand drifters are bringing to the table, then all of those worried about a sea of jacked-up V8-powered function warriors can breathe a sigh of relief.
Ben would like to thank his crew: Alex Weir, James Wildon, Vince Pieterse, Mike Doak, Alex Peters, Tarran Smith, and Ben Rice for crewing throughout the past D1NZ season.
Brian Roberts Towing
Origin Labo NZ
Parts Shop Max
The Wrap shop
Concept Parts NZ
Nathan at Tyre Plus Newmarket
Graeme Smythe at SMS Fabrication
Adrian at Fenix Radiators
Dan Kane at E&H Motors
And, as he says, “anyone who helped in anyway to get me sorted.”