Night drifting has been going for some time here in Sydney and happens every two weeks, so is it about time it became a regular thing in New Zealand?

I’m going to be honest here, when you’ve relied on your car and car mates for so long, you kind of forget how difficult it actually is to get out and make friends in a new space. Maybe it isn’t the same for everyone out there, but I certainly don’t have a ‘squad’ here in Sydney after the few months I have been here. However, just recently, a Kiwi who had also made the move to Sydney reached out through Facebook, after reading the article about me moving here. Callum Roberts, originally from Christchurch, invited me along to a night drifting event held on July 9, west of Sydney at Sydney Motorsport Park. Callum owns an R34 GT-T Skyline with 254kW that he uses for daily driving and, just recently, for drift use. I hadn’t been to a drifting event here in Sydney yet, so I said heck yes! 

Not knowing what to expect, I made my way out to Sydney Motorsport park for Skid Pans Saturday. After passing several trailer-bound drifters on the heavily tolled highway, the excitement amplified, and only when I arrived did I come to realize how big the event was.

With a vibe very much like Night Speed Drag Wars had back in 2007, this event was packed. Friends were hanging out within street-ready full-interior drift cars, talking slide-talk, and having an awesome time. 

After catching up with Callum, I went on the hunt. What would be the most common drift car here? In New Zealand, R32 sedans, A31 Cefiros, and pre-facelift S14s seem to be the cheap entry-level drifter, however, in Sydney those vehicles are all extremely expensive and sought after. If you’ve got an A31 Cefiro here, you’ll have more followers on the ’Gram than Dan Bilzerian. 

S13s — S13s everywhere! The S-chassis tax is rife in New Zealand, and, as a result, a clean S13 will set you back in excess of $8000. In Australia, though, $4000 will buy you an RB20DET-swapped example, set up for the street, but more importantly, drifting. 

From tidy streeters to V8-swapped competition cars, there was an S13 for everyone here — all being put to use in the car park, on the wet pan, and the dry track. If you’re an S-chassis fan, I would suggest you move here. 

The wet pan was extremely successful on the night with four cars at the same time sliding around in unison. The wet pan, with an extremely wet and slippery surface, is for those who don’t have the skills for the dry track, want to save their tyres, or simply don’t want to stress the driveline of their road-going vehicle. 

This keen gentleman was power sliding his BMW 1M next to cheap beaters — a terrifying concept, but in reality, all were out to have fun with the utmost respect for fellow drivers. 

Meanwhile on the dry track, Callum was having a blast, and had already chewed through a pair of tyres on a set of factory alloys. With a second pair bolted up, he wasn’t holding back after getting the hang of the dry course. 

With that pair soon demolished, it was on to the wet pan on the road tyres. There’s nothing like a modified RB cracking off the limiter and turbo dosing during a switch. 

Now, I’m left with a question. Should New Zealand hold grass-roots night events such as this? With the new club circuit at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, there are two small tracks that people could make use of on a Saturday night, and there’s enough room there for people to park up and drool over the cool-looking stuff. It seems to be working extremely well in Sydney, so it would be great to see something similar held back home. Maybe Meremere is the answer? 

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you think there should be something similar in your hometown?

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.