Watch: step behind the scenes of D1NZ's enormous Baypark circus
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New Zealand's motorsport scene is a reflection of our car culture; a sporadic mish mash of 'everything goes' mind sets. For better and for worse, there are dozens of motorsport classes all around the country, ranging from the single-make SsangYong ute championship, to V8s, to open wheelers, to rallying ... we cover almost everything.
The issue we've got is saturation, and numerous categories in that line-up struggle to attract handy grids because of it. Thus, the amount of classes in New Zealand that are truly healthy can easily be rattled off with the fingers on one hand. And one of those classes is the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship.
For a number of seasons now the series has fielded impressive grids of increasingly impressive cars, and now it stands as one of the most competitive drift championships in the world.
But, a desire to get bigger and bigger has led to the series taking multiple steps to try and reinvent itself. In 2016 they embarked on their first ever stadium event — doing so in Dunedin — and for this year they've added rally cross, UTVs, and supermoto to their repertoire.
It's been ... a challenge. That's been compounded by round one and two of the current season being played out on custom-made stadium circuits; created during the week, drifted on come Friday and Saturday, and then ripped apart on Sunday.
"They’re managing to pull it together," Team DMNZ's Drew Donovan told Driven last week. "And it’s cool, because it brings a whole lot of other motorsports and other fan bases together. You’re collaborating with all these other groups around the country, and that can only be a good thing. It gets more bums on seats, and exposes us and ourselves to more people. It’s probably got a wee way to go, but so far so good.”
So what's it like being part of such a big project? This attached video offers plenty of insight on last weekend's round at ASB Baypark Stadium in Tauranga; into the creation of the circuit, the way the cars play on the unique surface, and quite simply the scales that are being worked with.
After an array of stunning battles throughout Saturday, Drew Donovan landed his first win in the series. Tune in next week for event highlights, which helps kick off a season of exploration into this most decisive of motorsports.