Auckland brothers double down on wild Toyota 86 drift builds
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Auckland brothers Ben and Troy Jenkins are embarking on a summer holiday mission to get their Toyota GT86 drift cars ready for the 2018 D1NZ National Drifting Championship.
Having campaigned their Nissan Silvia S14 and S15 chassis’ in Pro-Sport and Pro respectively for the best part of half a decade, the duo have decided to change things up. Initially they were looking at running two identical S15s, but with such a strong Nissan presence in the series already they thought they’d try something different.
The duo have a goal in sight; get backing from Toyota New Zealand. However, they’ve got to get their cars done first before they can go searching.
“Running something that’s current like the 86 will be positive for us,” said Ben Jenkins.
“It’s no secret that we are aiming for Toyota 86 sponsorship to be factory backed. I think we’ve got the right chassis to head that way.
“We’ll continue on with that and see how that goes. It’s not going to happen overnight, but with as much effort as we’re putting hopefully something comes of that later on.”
The process of building one D1NZ-ready machine can be an arduous process, usually taking anywhere between three months to three years depending on the build. But the Jenkins brothers are going one better, building two Toyota GT86 drifters to campaign in the Pro Series field.
With round one at Max Motors Family Speedway in Wellington over January 12–13 approaching fast, the team have conceded they won’t have both cars ready. Instead, they’ll campaign their Silvias.
It wasn’t what they wanted, but the brothers want to ensure they’ve got the formula right and don’t want to still be building the cars throughout the season while campaigning them.
“We would like to say we’re 70 per cent there,” said Troy Jenkins.
“Everything is in the works at the moment, it’s just getting it done. Obviously over the Christmas break its super hard to get everything done with everyone going on holiday, but that’s alright, we’ll get it done over the break and continue on with the second chassis.”
The hope is both cars will be ready for round two in Tauranga, and if not both, then definitely Troy’s. That’ll be held at ASB Baypark Speedway where they’ll be riding the walls of the outer oval.
However, it’ll be a short shoot between Wellington and Tauranga, with only three weeks in between rounds. Troy said both cars are nearly at the point where they can start bolting in more bits.
Both cars have been fabricated at DKM Fabrication by Adam ‘Keg’ Maulder in Auckland with the bare shells both fitted with roll cages. Suspension, wheels and Wisefab steering racks have all been fitted to Troy’s car, with Ben’s not far behind.
The biggest challenge they’re facing at the moment is Ben’s Nissan Silvia S13. While competing recently he blew an engine, which meant he’s had to rebuild his motor before round one.
It’s a problem they didn’t want and one that has put them on the back foot a bit.
“It’s been hard obviously for me, my old motor decided to let go and we’re having to pull some strings to get it back together,” said Ben.
“It’s been quite hard actually. We’ve not got much to do, we’ll get there. We’ve got pistons now and just have to put it together.
“It’s just a bit of machining and a night and a bit of work and it’ll be up and running. I just want to be ready because I’m stepping into pro. I want to be there and give myself the best possible chance I can. I don’t want to turn up with a shit car that’s not going to work.”
Once complete both cars will effectively be identical all except for a few minor set up changes and seating position.
Both cars are set to be fitted with a full version three Rocket Bunny wide-body kit. They’ll be the only cars in the country running the look, let alone in a racing series.
The brothers are excited for the challenge ahead. They’ll have to adapt to the new chassis having only ever driven the Nissan platform.
Adding to that too will be the new engine package. Both cars will run a Toyota 2JZ, typically found Toyota’s high-end ‘90s Supras and Aristos.
“It’ll be a new challenge learning a new car,” said Ben.
“But I’ve been driving a four cylinder low torque motor for years. I stepped into Troy’s car not long ago and that was a dream. It’s cool to drive with a bit of torque because I can put the car in the right places and not have to worry about getting it there.
“I’m looking forward to focusing more on my driving and not worrying about the car. My goal is to win a couple of battles in Pro and just prove to myself and everyone else that I deserve to be there.
“That’s the biggest thing for me. We’ve done some really cool stuff. I just want to get out there and by the end of the season be ready for the 2018–’19 championship really.”
While Ben is keen to prove he has what it takes to be in the Pro field, both of them are keen to just get their cars running strongly and in a position where they’re reliable. From there they’ll look to get more ambitious results.
“I think just getting these cars up to spec and be competitive on track at the same time,” said Troy.
“We’re not going to see results straight away, but getting into the new cars we’ll be pushing hard for they guys who have backed us this season and having a bit of fun at the same time.
“Teething issues shouldn’t be too bad. We’re trying to get the cars fairly simple as race cars. We’re trying to keep it simple and we aren’t doing anything too trick.
“We’re just trying to build it once and build it right and have it done from the start so we don’t have to build it throughout the season. That means it has taken a little more time, but the fruit it bears from that will pay off in the long term.”