THE LOW-DOWN ON THE LONG-AWAITED EVERGREEN DRIFT PARK
or decades, drifting has been prevalent on New Zealand shores, but, in all that time, we’ve never had a venue solely dedicated to its pursuit. We’ve had to make do, using existing circuits as makeshift sportslands with cones and tyre markers to resemble those that we admire overseas, fighting management and racers from other disciplines for recognition as a legitimate sport. It’s been a hard slog, and it’s about time drifters had a proper place to call home.
And, thanks to a dedicated bunch of local drifters, now we do. Headed by ex–D1NZ Pro driver Sky Zhao, the Evergreen Drift Park, located within the Meremere motorsport complex, is a 1km long, six-corner hitter that takes its design cues from the most famous tracks in Japan and caters predominantly for the grass-roots community. This is where power isn’t a must and the DE-bangers can reign supreme — although, if you do have a few ponies, things will get even more interesting as you hone your technical skills.
The tight, technical switches through the shorter corners favour the underpowered, forcing you to manoeuvre through a chicane and a series of banked dips and rises, with a final test to see if you have enough go to power through the final double-apex sweeper, only to manji the front straight with epic wall rides back into corner one and do it all over again.
This is the kind of injection that drifting in New Zealand needs to encourage newcomers into the sport. With events run almost every weekend and private-hire dates available, there will be no shortage of opportunities to get amongst it.
It’s all about the second-gear heroes here, and most will only attempt a third-gear slap through the final sweeper