The story behind engineering NZ’s high tech drift weapons
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The Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship is home to some of New Zealand’s highest quality racing machines, with some of the top end competition cars valued at well over six figures.
Auckland based outfit DKM Fabrication is the official fabrication workshop of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship.
Owned and run by Adam Maulder, the operation is focussed on fabricating drift cars with services like roll cages, tube framing, exhaust manifolds, steering racks, suspension contemporary and cooling set ups.
“We are basically drift cars, that’s really what we do,” said Maulder.
“We did start out with road cars but sort of moved away from that. We still help people out doing certifications, engine conversions, and that sort of stuff, but our passions is really drift cars.”
Maulder has seen numerous cars come through his workshop, and is responsible for some of New Zealand’s wildest builds including the D1NZ Toyota Hilux four-seater, the Toyotaz Galore GT86, and Darren Kelly’s title winning Nissan Skyline R34.
He said he can’t count how many drift cars he’s worked on in his career having been a part of D1NZ for well over a decade.
“When I opened my own company I started helping Brendon out. Basically I’ve built every single promotional vehicle for D1NZ, so it’s pretty cool.”
Hong Kong drifter Arthur Lee [pictured above] is one of many to come through Maulder’s workshop with ambitions of building a drift car.
Maulder built Lee arguably one of New Zealand’s most expensive drift cars, which began life with only intentions of being a weekend warrior for track days. However, the build quickly escalated and the car soon transformed into a top level drift weapon.
“It started out as an immaculate Spec R Nissan Silvia S15 that we were throwing a cage into just for a weekend drifter.
“Then he kept coming to track days with us and seeing people breaking things so he just went ‘man, I don’t want my things to break’, and then it just got out of control.”
The Silvia runs a Nissan RB28 with an HKS stroker kit pushing 500 kilowatts, with cooling taking place at the rear of the car Aesthetically the car features a gooseneck rear wing, styled similarly to a GT3 racing machine.
“Everything on it is just the best you can get. We originally did build it to go to China so everything cooling wise was made to be run as cold as possible. We didn’t want it to get hot because it’s really hot in China, so we really wanted the cooling to be as good as it could be.”
Lee lives in New Zealand with his mother, but between rounds makes the journey back to Hong Kong for work.
“I stay with my mum in my spare time, she’s getting old,” said Lee.
“I’m really old too. But she doesn’t come to watch me drift, I don’t want to worry about her having a heart attack!
The 42-year-old is used to the Chinese drift scene, but is still getting to grips with the larger New Zealand circuits.
“This year has been about learning for me. At the last round I was still just getting used to the car. It was the first time I drove it at round two. It’s so easy to drive, but I’m just getting more comfortable driving it.”
“I’m not used to the big tracks. The tracks in China are a lot smaller like the stadium circuits, but I quite like the New Zealand tracks. Taupo is my favourite, but as we know the series isn’t going there—It’s a nice track.”
Lee said he has no great ambition to be dominating the D1NZ Pro-Sport Series this year as he looks to find his feet in the new car and the new scenery.
“I just want to keep learning, nothing special. A lot of people they have been drifting for over 10-years. I’ve been drifting in China, but not for that long.