10 Jan
10 January 2019

New Zealand drifting grand final moves from Pukekohe to Manawatū

Smokey circles, deafening engines and the stink of burnt rubber will ring out from a ManawatÅ« raceway as it gears up to host New Zealand's coveted drifting championship.

The D1NZ grand final will come to Feilding's Manfeild Park for the first time when it rolls into town on April 26. 

The event's finale has spent the last four years at Pukekohe Park Raceway, regarded as the spiritual home of drifting, although the Auckland track will only host round four this season.

Organiser Brendon White said the competition would be brought forward two months to seek warmer weather for spectators and better track conditions for drivers to tackle some of the fastest drifting corners in the world.

The series is a sanctioned championship under Motorsport New Zealand, the official governing body of motor racing in New Zealand. It began in 2003 as a small competition consisting of several drifting teams from around the country to organise and regulate drifting meets.

It has since grown larger and turned professional, involving international-ranked drivers.

The sport, first popularised in Japan in the 1970s, has drivers oversteer their vehicles with a loss of traction, while maintaining control and driving the car through corners.

Competitions are judged on line, show, angle and speed.

White said Manfeild's circuit featured a fast-paced drift section with a technical last sector and it would be somewhat of a homecoming for the popular event, he said. 

"D1NZ has had a long-standing relationship with Manfeild. It's where some of the first events were held over 15 years ago and it feels fitting to close this chapter out with a track that has a rich history with our drivers.

"It would be good to see drivers in top gear battling for those final championship points."

The championship begins on January 12, with round one at Trustpower Baypark Stadium in the Bay of Plenty.

Words by Sam Kilmister, Stuff