MEREMERE DRIFT PARK LAYOUT REVEALED
D1NZ Pro-series driver Sky Zhao has dropped a surprise announcement that he will create the country’s first dedicated drift circuit at Meremere Dragway by year end. Needless to say this got a few people excited, and craving more information, ourselves included. After chatting with Sky we can answer a few burning questions.
The approx. 1km-long Meremere Drift Park will be a tight, technical circuit that focuses on low-speed drifting where big power, or the need to carry lots of momentum, is not necessary — but if you have it, a damn good time is sure to follow. The idea is to create a facility that is friendly to both beginners and advanced drivers, with the former being able to develop their technique without the risk of destroying their cars — assisted by the open-plan set-up that allows obstruction-free run-off — while advanced drivers can push their abilities to the limits by carrying higher speeds, and using the concrete-walled straight for proximity training and nasty wall scrapes, much like those you’ll see at Japan’s Meihan Sportsland.
From the current layout, you can tell Sky has a soft spot for small circuits. He told us, “I started drifting on small circuits in Japan over the last few years, and it’s where I’ve had the most fun. They force you to concentrate on developing your skills and having close battles, then after that you can take those skills to a bigger track and apply the same techniques in a higher gear.”
The surface will be constructed from an asphalt mix with polymer lining to ensure better flexibility as G-forces are forced through the surface from the inevitable multi-car tandems, and to help prevent future cracking.
The development will also include a large open-top pit area and separate entrance, accessed from the motorway turnoff.
In terms of hireability, the track will function much like the Meremere extension does currently. Organizers will be able to hire the track for their own use, be it a public or private event, while Sky and his team will host open-to-the-public-style events on selected dates — he hopes to have these approximately once a month.
Sky will oversee everything as the track manager during the initial stages, before bringing a more permanent manager on board to continue.
To stay up to date with development, follow the ‘Meremere Drift Park’ Facebook page.