One of Taupo’s saving graces at round four of the Prowear NZ Superlap series, is the fact that it’s hours away from where most competitors live, forcing most streetable cars onto the back of trailers. Something everyone was thankful for, as the mechanical carnage that happened this round, won’t be beat

The fourth round of the Prowear NZ Superlap series, which this year was held in Taupo over the weekend of January 9–10, is one that plenty have been looking forward too. It’s the first round of the season that most competitors take off on the Friday afternoon beforehand for, and book a motel, or hotel, to enjoy a weekend away racing. 

Taupo is a longer circuit than both Pukekohe Park Raceway and Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, taking all drivers around 30 seconds longer to complete a lap. Thirty seconds a lap in anger can prove punishing on mechanical componentry, as several competitors found out this weekend, with broken gearboxes, water leaks, and oil leaks causing major setbacks. 

Jason Shortt was one driver who suffered a terrible fate, thanks to a broken billet-selector fork, however a quickest time of 1:41.384 was posted beforehand, which is impressive considering the amount of tarmac his Subaru WRX has seen, and its 270kW power level. 

I couldn’t get enough of Jason’s build, albeit not being finished. Expect to see a much closer look into the build in an issue coming up soon. 

Shamil Arachchie was another Superlap competitor whom I paid close attention to. His Supra has always been one to watch in Pro Street, and this time was no different.

At the first round of the series the 2JZ ran a bearing, and after being repaired it has now developed an oil leak, which his team quickly remedied before heading back out into the action on Sunday. 

Running a single turbo, huge Alcon brakes, and a large set of Nitto NT-05 tyres, Shamil will be one to chase, providing the 2JZ doesn’t have any more problems. Shamil ended the weekend with points, and a low 1:43. 

Barry Manon once again showed just how potent his Toyota Levin is, but first there had to be problems, as was the trend over the weekend. Another damaged selector fork forced Barry to retire the Levin very early on Saturday.

Barry and his team drove all the way back to Auckland to repair the gearbox, and were lined up for racing come Sunday morning — certainly the most committed team of round four. After posting a 1:38.3 during the first session on Sunday, Barry’s Levin once again damaged the selector fork, forcing yet another early retirement. 

The Jtune Engineering Honda Accord CL7, owned by Jason Hsu, and driven by an array of talented drivers, is always a competitive vehicle in Street class.

This time around though, things got a whole lot more serious, with Jacky Tse and the team bolting on a supercharger kit. Now with around 240kW, ‘Fanta’ was humming along very nicely and managed a fastest lap time of 1:46.609.

Iain Clegg was a newcomer this season who blew everyone away at Pukekohe with an extremely fast Pro Street–class machine. The R35 GT-R isn’t completely factory, but has a few upgrades such as a tune, an exhaust, and bigger injectors.

It looked as though the R35 wasn’t quite ready for the sharper turns that Taupo had to offer, as the R35 was sideways on most. Once Iain dials in the suspension, he will no doubt be able to shave some decent time off his current PBs. 

There are more and more high-powered GT-R’s entering Superlap than ever before, and Faizal Ramzan’s example is a welcomed sight. The RB30DETT engine under the bonnet is good for over 1000hp at the flywheel; but come race day, Faizal turns the boost down and runs a conservative 480kW at the wheels. 

A few small issues on day one resulted in a very wet windscreen, thanks to the washer-water pipe leaking, but once resolved, Faizal went out swinging.

Day two, with much cooler air temps, looked to be a good one, however in the second session the R34 snapped a power-steering belt. Once repaired, and the tyre pressures tweaked, Faizal managed a very quick 1:43.32. 

It seemed as though every time I pointed my camera at Glenn Hodges’ extremely powerful Nissan 300ZX, it would go sideways. Not that we’re complaining or anything!

Glenn’s 300ZX not only looks extremely clean, with some very tasteful fabrication, but it also goes very well. Glenn took out Street class with a 1:42.175.

Another GT-R worth mentioning is Emil Roshan’s Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R. You may recognize this machine from the cover of NZ Performance Car Issue No. 226, where it was featured with three other high-powered machines. 

Emil always seems to have a few small issues at Superlap, and this time around it was a bung wheel alignment thanks to an inaccurate machine. Once remedied, it was found the R34 was oversteering more than usual, with the transfer case not transferring any torque to the front wheels.

A fluid change over the weekend improved things slightly, but Emil was still fighting. Issues aside, Emil manhandled the large R-chassis to an uber fast 1:46.545 in Street class. For a closer look at Emil’s R34, click here

No Superlap post would be complete without a mention of the fastest man on the circuit. Scott Kreyl’s Mitsubishi Evo showed everyone who was boss, with an untouchable 1:32.411. 

A few head-lifting issues were resolved with a re-torque and the mighty Evo ran all weekend. The aero work really has to be seen in person to understand just how gnarly it is. There’s also nothing like the sound of the highly strung 4G63 hooking through gears at an astronomical pace. 

This time around, with Kaz out of the building, Kerri Mareeba and Jacky Tse left to run the weekend, which ran without any hitches. Kerri even had time to get her Mazda RX-7 FD out for a few laps! 

Leon Scott suffered gearbox issues alongside both Barry and Jason. Unfortunately, fifth gear in his dog box destroyed itself, so Leon had to shoot over to Tauranga on Saturday night to pick up a replacement part. 

With his dedicated team on board, Leon's Evo was up and running for Sunday and finished the weekend with a 1:36.630. Keep an eye out in the next issue of NZ Performance Car (Issue No. 231) for a closer look at this machine. 

Glenn Darrah, owner of this immaculate Evo III unfortunately suffered engine problems throughout the weekend.

Thankfully, gurus like Jacky Tse were around to help, which got Glenn out on track on Sunday — but the problem would happen again, ending Glenn's racing. 

I'm excited to see Glenn's 319kW-at-25psi Evo III driven in anger next time around. 

If you’re keen to spectate, or get involved at the next round, the event will be held March 6, at Manfeild Autocourse. Head to for more details and entry prices. 

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.