15-year-old Liam Honnor, New Zealand’s youngest drifter
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At just 15-years-old Liam Honnor is New Zealand’s youngest competitive drifter in the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship.
Typically, young up-and-coming Kiwi racing drivers look to make their way through karting and single seater formulas. However, Honnor stands out as the exception to the rule.
Having begun his drifting career at a young age by comparison to his older Pro-Sport rivals, Honnor said he’s just looking to have fun and build on his experience in his debut season.
“I’m just out there to go and have some fun,” said Honnor. “I just see the older drifters as another competitor. I finally get to battle them after watching some of them for 10-plus years.”
Honnor’s debut in the development Pro-Sport Series came at round two held at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon. He struggled with mechanical woes, but that didn’t stop him from trying to qualify his Nissan Silvia S14 for the top-32.
Unfortunately, with issues putting him on the backfoot, he wasn’t able to qualify for the battle stages. It didn’t stop him from enjoying the weekend, though, and he believes it’s good experience as he aims to reach the upper echelons of the Pro Series.
“The goal for me is to just go out and have fun. I’m not aiming to get anywhere near the front, and I’m not going to be gutted if I don’t. It’s just to go out, have fun, and then next season it’s all on.
“I’m definitely hoping to someday win the Pro-Sport Series, and then go for another time in the Pro Series with even more backing.
“I’m really looking forward to running the car, and working my way up the ladder. And just one day getting to battle with all the Pro Series guys.”
Despite having his eyes set on this year’s Pro-Sport Series as a year of learning, Honnor is already looking at overseas expeditions.
“At the moment, for next year, there is a trip booked to Ireland, so we’ll go and compete in the Irish Drift Championship with one of our naming right sponsors.”
Honnor’s fixation with drifting started at an even younger age since his father, Ross Honnor of Dobson Dyno Tune, took him to drifting in the early years of the D1NZ series. He said he admires the drifters who built road legal racecars as well as driving them too and from the circuits.
“Back when Curt Whittaker and Tony Brennan, when they used to run, back when they used to drive their cars to the track like Vincent Langhorn does now. I reckon that’s pretty cool to drive your car pro-spec racecar to the track, daily drive it, and then go drifting.”
He said his father had a significant influence in his racing career and knows he’s in good company with the years of experience his father holds in New Zealand motor racing.
“Dad’s always been a big influence in my racing. He’s been tuning drift cars and has had his own circuit cars for 25 or 30-years since he’s been in business.
“He’s always been tuning and fixing them, and I went to my first D1 event when I was only about three-years-old. He’s giving me heaps of advice and letting me change what I want on the car too.”
Honnor was fortunate enough to be selected as part of the D1NZ fleet heading to the Leadfoot Festival in Hahei over February 4–5. There, he’ll unveil his new look Nissan Silvia S14, with a naming rights sponsor set to help his domestic and international drifting ambition.
The third round of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship takes place over February 24-25 at ASB Baypark Stadium, with tickets available on the gate or throughiTicket.co.nz.