Whether you like or dislike European cars, there is no disputing that DTM touring cars are some of the finest race vehicles on the planet. Back before the days of V8 Supercars, small European sedans were the most publicly acknowledged saloon racers on this side of the world. During the ’80s it was E30 BMWs, RS Cosworths and A4 Audis battling it out around the Wellington waterfront during the legendary Nissan Mobil 500. Once the V8s had taken over and the local politicians put an end to the street race, the only glimpse most New Zealanders got of British Touring Cars was on TV.
“The R32 Skyline RB26DETT engine fit the BMW engine bay remarkably well, helped by the decision to ditch the twin turbo setup”
Dunedin businessman Chris Henderson must have seen more than his fair share of the Euro monsters battling it out, most likely during the mid ’90s when E36 BMWs reigned supreme. Although the genuine British Touring Cars never raced on New Zealand soil, it was a glorious time for New Zealand motorsport. Kiwis Paul Radisich and Chris Amon were gaining international recognition against big names such as James Kaye, David Leslie and Alain Menu. Chris Henderson was competing in motorsport himself at this time, albeit on a far smaller budget than his European counterparts. But this didn’t stop him from dreaming of one day owning a BMW Supertourer.
Fast forward to 2003. Chris’s business was at a point where he could look seriously at racing competitively, and what better vehicle could there be than a BMW? After making the trip to Europe and checking out some genuine Supertourers, Chris made a smart decision, one that would undoubtedly save him thousands of dollars. The 10-year-old genuine factory race cars — while being well used — still commanded a serious price. This is not what put Chris off purchasing one; it was the repair and maintenance that was the last straw. If a car was purchased and exported to Chris in Dunedin, what would happen if anything went wrong? Sending parts across the world is costly, and would also result in huge time delays. So the plan changed. Chris wouldn’t buy a car that no one knew how to work on; he would build his own. And it would be more powerful and much simpler. All it required was a few talented locals and some strange crossbreeding that could only be done in the Deep South.
As Chris owns a car yard, it wasn’t long before the perfect sacrificial lamb showed up. The innocent-looking 1994 318i BMW sedan was soon to have a new heart with a whole lot more punch than its old one. Over the next 18 months, the vehicle evolved bit by bit into a wild amalgam of Japanese and German engineering. GT-R Skylines have had a huge impact on world motorsport, winning just about every event they have been allowed entry into. So what better than to take a Skyline motor and drop it where the anaemic German anchor once resided?
Phil Winter, a familiar name in these pages, helped out with the conversion, and as with Phil’s previously featured 2JZ-powered Altezza race car, all fabrication is top notch. Another NZPC regular, Mike Lynn, owner of Dunedin’s Turbo Shop, was another invaluable contributor to the project. As Chris puts it, “Whatever Mike said, we did”. Once Christchurch’s Scott Fitzgerald completed the comprehensive roll cage the car was sent back to Midway Motors, where the rest of the build would take place. The R32 Skyline RB26DETT engine fitted in the BMW engine bay remarkably well, helped by the decision to ditch the twin turbo setup. In place of the factory cast manifolds and small turbos is a beautifully crafted steam pipe manifold that holds a Garrett GT3540 turbo. “I would love to have a tubular manifold,” says Chris, “but it wouldn’t be strong enough to hold the turbo for endurance events.”
For boost control Mike recommended a Tial 42mm external wastegate that vents into the vehicle’s 3-inch exhaust. As reliability was more important than outright power, Chris has spent the money where needed, without chasing unusable horsepower figures. The engine’s bottom end remains as the engineers at Nissan intended, with the only exception being a freshen-up of bearings and rings. Helping the hard-working straight six to keep well-lubricated is a Brennan Racing dry sump, with the 10-litre tank mounted in the rear foot well.
Cooling is the most important area of the car when it comes to engine reliability and longevity, so as well as the dry sump the car runs a large oil cooler and remote mounted filter. Water cooling is taken care of by a three-row alloy radiator, while intake charge is cooled with a 100mm thick intercooler.
“While it would be tempting to add even more power to the car, the 450hp it produces at the wheels will keep even the most experienced of drivers busy”
The fuelling side of the engine is where a substantial amount of time, effort and money have been spent. The stock injectors remain, but they’re now fed by an A’PEXi twin entry fuel rail. Braided lines lead into each end of the rail from a large custom-made surge tank mounted in the boot. Just below and rearwards of this is the huge 120-litre fuel cell and twin Bosch 600hp capable fuel pumps. With twin quick fill inlets, topping the tank takes just seconds. Being able to carry such a large amount of fuel is great for reducing the number of pit stops during endurance events, but not so good when looking for weight savings. But placing the setup behind the rear axle and as low as possible has aided with the car’s front-to-rear balance, as well as helping traction.
Recently Phil has remanufactured the vehicle’s rear end. The custom diff cradle now sits far higher in the vehicle and is braced directly to the roll cage. This was because of the car’s healthy appetite for CVs with the previous drive shaft angle. The diff itself is also from a GT-R Skyline and runs a 4.5:1 ratio on an LSD head. Further forward up the driveline is an RB25DET 5-speed manual gearbox with an OS Giken twin-plate clutch. To get the ratios exactly as Chris wanted, a custom lower ratio fifth gear has been produced.
Suspension-wise, KSport coil-overs are used in all four corners, along with King Springs, a custom front strut brace and custom sway bars. These items, plus the extra-stiff roll cage and custom-built rose jointed rear arms, ensure a precise and predictable handling package. Another outstanding part of the vehicle is its brakes. Up front, 6-pot AP Racing callipers have been mounted to the BMW hubs and clamp on 330x32mm vented rotors. Down the rear are 4-pot Wilwoods and 300x30mm rotors with carbon metallic pads. Thanks to the Wilwood pedal box, brake bias is adjustable on the fly and a solid, un-boosted pedal is assured.
Along with the pedal box, the rest of the interior is a full race affair; all creature comforts are long gone. Inside the vehicle a lengthened steering column allows for the rear-mounted Racetech carbon/kevlar seat and Momo race wheel. Mounted in place of the stock instrument cluster is a MoTeC digital dash, which receives its information from a MoTeC M600 engine management system.
Since it was partly the aesthetics of the factory race cars that attracted Chris to run a BMW, it was essential the car look the part. All four wheel arches have thus been substantially flared and a custom front splitter added to the bumper. For weight savings a carbon/kevlar bonnet and boot lid were added, the latter with a large carbon fibre rear wing. Both headlights have been replaced with black covers, which not only provides a staunch look but also allows for airflow through the headlight cover to the Uni Filter. Chris’s choice of ANZ RS 18-inch wheels also adds to the appearance, and there is no doubting that the 245/45R18 Kumho slicks mean business.
The build totalled two-and-a-half years, which is about normal for one of this magnitude. Since completion the car has been highly successful in a number of endurance events. While it would be tempting to add even more power to the car, the 450hp it produces at the wheels will keep even the most experienced of drivers busy. The decision to build the car using a Japanese motor and local knowledge means that mechanical dramas and repair bills have been virtually eliminated. With the genuine race car Chris originally looked at requiring an engine rebuild after almost every event, I’d say he made a very wise decision.
Occupation: Business owner
Previously Owned Cars: CA18DET-powered AE86 race car, 13B-PP Mazda RX-7 rally car, Mazda BFMR rally car, AE86 Trueno race car
Dream Car: DTM Touring car
Build Time: 2.5 years
Length of Ownership: 4 years
Chris Thanks: Midway Motors, Kumho Tyres, ANZ Wheels, KSport suspension, Collision City Mosgiel, Scott Fitzgerald, Rick Deihl, Mike Lynn @ Turbo Shop, Mike Patrick @ Cropper Smash Repairs, Jason Bouzaid @ Collision City Mosgiel, Phill Winter, Tony Wilson, Brent Russell @ ANZ Wheels/KSport suspension, Craig Russell @ Automotion and everyone else I forgot.
1994 BMW E36
Engine: Nissan RB26DET 2.6-litre DOHC 24v in-line six, Garrett GT3540 turbo, custom exhaust manifold, Uni filter, heat-wrapped intake, A’PEXi twin entry fuel rail, 2x Bosch 600hp fuel pumps, 120-litre fuel cell, custom surge tank, 3-inch exhaust, Turbonetics 42mm external wastegate, three-row alloy radiator, MoTeC M600 ECU, MoTeC digital dash, Turbosmart bleed valve, Brennan Racing dry sump, 100mm intercooler, remote oil filter
Driveline: Nissan GTS25T 5-speed gearbox, custom fifth gear, OS Giken twin-plate clutch, GT-R rear diff, 4.5:1 diff ratio
Suspension: KSport struts, King springs, custom front strut brace, custom sway bars, custom diff cradle, rose-jointed custom rear lower arms
Brakes: AP 6-pot callipers, 330x32mm front rotors, Pagid pads, Wilwood 4-pot rear callipers, 300x30mm rear discs, carbon metallic pads
Wheels/Tyres: 18×8.5-inch ANZ RS lightweight alloys, 245/45R18 Kumho slicks
Exterior: Flared guards, M3 front bumper, carbon/kevlar bonnet, carbon/kevlar boot lid, fibreglass splitter, Lexan windows, carbon fibre rear wing
Interior: Racetech carbon/kevlar seat, Momo race wheel, lengthened steering column, MoTeC digital dash, carbon door trims, custom roll cage
Performance: Dyno Power — 450hp @ wheels (18psi boost), Ruapuna — 1.31, Levels — 1.07, Teretonga — 1.04
Professionalism it’s something that is often sorely lacking from our ever-growing import scene here in New Zealand. We have the cars, the ability and the knowledge to lift things to an all-new level, but in classic Kiwi style, most of us would rather just sit back and take things as they come! if they come.
Jairus 'JT’ Wharerau is one of the most recognisable names and faces in the Kiwi import scene. We spent an evening with his latest rotor-powered sled
While it’s what we love about our laid back, seemingly nonchalant culture, I sometimes get the feeling that there are many Ã¼ber-talented New Zealanders out there who are destined for more, yet never quite get there for fear of trying. There are exceptions to this rule of course, people who have the hunger and the desire. People like Jairus Wharerau.
Although you shouldn’t really need an introduction, I’ll give you one anyway. Growing up a troublemaking kid in the far north, Jairus has spent his entire life thus far doing, well, what most would regard as stupid s**t. Whether it’s slamming off
one of his Honya pit bikes, pouring beer down journos’ shirts (thanks buddy), or hustling through the Pukekohe sweeper full lock at 180kph, JT is just one of those guys who always has something to say and something to do.
When it comes to the scene itself, Jairus is about as OG as it gets. Hell, even before anyone knew what drifting was, Jairus was plastered across the pages of NZPC with a feature on his turbocharged EG Civic. Since then it has been a veritable whirlwind of feature cars in the magazine and five full seasons as a D1NZ competitor, one of which ended with him as champion.
The thing with rotors is, as long as you don’t cheap out on the build, you get the right person to put it all together and you look after it properly, you can run 500hp all day, every day
Now that JT has made a bit of a splash with his latest weapon, NZPC decided to coax him and long-suffering partner Alicia out into a cold winter’s night to get the skinny on his awesome new machine, based on an FD3S Mazda RX-7.
After so many years competing at the top level of drifting here in New Zealand and overseas, JT knew that it was time for him to step things up a level or two. This meant that although the S13 K-Style Silvia he had been campaigning was a good car, JT needed something that could compete against any of the world’s best drivers and their machines.
After a bit of research, it was decided that Mazda’s venerable FD RX-7 chassis would be the best option if JT was ever to raise the level of professionalism here on Kiwi shores. “I knew it would have grip, which is what most cars here were lacking at the time, plus it is relatively easy to get big power out of the 13B motor. It is just the perfect front-engined, rear-wheel drive setup, with awesome suspension geometry, amazing chassis and, of course, beautiful aesthetics.”
It didn’t take long for JT to get the wheels grinding in his grand plan for world domination, and there was soon a bright yellow S6 Bat sitting on a boat destined for Auckland Harbour. Once through customs and finally in JT’s hands, the year-long process of turning this beat up sled into one of New Zealand’s top drift cars began.
In regards to the body, I think most will agree that JT has chosen well; in my opinion there is simply no better looking car to ever come out of Japan than Mazda’s FD platform. The factory sweeping lines and muscular haunches of this particular Bat have been enhanced with a combination of Vertex and Vanquish bumpers and side skirts, supplied by Street Pro Kits.
The body tends to take a bit of a beating every time JT hits the track, so a good kit sponsor like Street Pro is an absolute must when it comes to drift cars. Then coated in the classic Drift Corp white by fellow sideways slider Steve Sole of Steve Sole Customs, the car was looking good, but in order to be great, it needed a serious amount of vinyl.
A very effective and eye popping scheme was designed and applied by Brown Brotha’s, and although very intense, it works with the car’s shape to give it that top D1GP drift monster look.
As with any slide ride, looks are all good and well, especially when attracting potential sponsors, but if you want to compete, big power is needed. One thing JT was a little unsure about when choosing the FD was the rotary engine package. Would it be reliable? Would it be strong enough to take a hammering out on the track all day long? Now that JT has been competing in the car for a few months, he says he shouldn’t have worried. “The thing with rotors is, as long as you don’t cheap out on the build, you get the right person to put it all together and you look after it properly, you can run 500hp all day, every day. I haven’t had the slightest bit of trouble with mine.”
So who is the “right person” then? For JT it was Brent Curran of Curran Brothers Racing, a young fella quickly establishing a name for himself in the local rotary engine-building scene. Although the more exact details of the engine’s internals remain hidden, what I can tell you is that Brent has given it a mild Stage 2 porting, although that is soon to change to Bridgeport in a bid for more power.
It was decided that Mazda’s venerable FD RX-7 chassis would be the best option if JT was ever to raise the level of professionalism here on Kiwi shores
Externally, the motor pulls in air through a very large Masterpower turbo, sharing space with a 50mm Turbosmart wastegate on a custom stainless steel exhaust manifold. The super-heated charge is cooled by a V-mounted intercooler, meaning instead of being straight up and down in the front bumper, it is mounted nearly flat, cutting down on piping length and keeping those precious fins well out of harm’s way.
Fuel is fed to the uprated injectors by a pair of meaty 500hp Walbro pumps, which in turn are fed by the original Mazda pump.
As with the majority of other hard-tuned rotor motors, JT’s 7 uses the awesome MicroTech LT-10S engine management system and MicroTech igniters.
Once a 3-inch exhaust system and custom alloy radiator were bolted up, the computer helped the total package make an honest 500hp. When combined with the relatively light shell and a set of Mickey Thompson ET Streets, that’s good enough for a ticket into the NZPC 10-Second Club. A full-blown drift car doing 10s? That’s right. Jairus recently hit Meremere drag strip and, after a day of low 11s, cracked out an impressive 10.96 @ 206kph.
Back to the main job at hand on the sweepers, JT needed the best of the best when it came to suspension. Luckily, Autolign came to the party and supplied him with a set of Tein Super Drift coil-overs, complete with electronic in-cabin damper control, known as EDFC. In terms of drivetrain reliability, the FD is blessed with a fairly bad-assed 5-speed manual transmission that seems to take a fair amount of abuse before it will let go. This is simply mated to a six-puck solid centre clutch, and feeds power to a factory locked rear differential, and then out to a set of black 17×10-inch Cyber rims, wrapped in Kumho rubber.
All in all, if JT had to pay retail and labour costs without the help of friends and sponsors, this machine would have cost around the $70,000 mark to build. “I really can’t thank everyone on my list enough. Without them it just would not have happened,” he says.
So with solid results for the car in the past, and surely even better on the way, has the new FD been deemed a success? “Most definitely,” says JT. “The RX is leagues ahead of any other car I’ve driven, let alone owned. It handles perfectly, is damned fast, and looks angry. I’m stoked with it!”
A kick-arse car, bucket-loads of driving talent and plans to push the professionalism of the sport far past its current standings. Is this where JT saw himself all those years ago when he first got into cars? “It was a distant dream back then and now it’s a reality. It’s all relative though, I just have bigger dreams now.” Now that sounds like a man well worth keeping an eye on.
Engine: Mazda 13B-REW, Stage 2 mild port, custom apex seals, custom CBR motor build, HKS air filter, custom intake piping, Masterpower 500hp turbocharger, 50mm Turbosmart external wastegate, stainless steel exhaust manifold, Turbosmart blow-off valve, V-mounted intercooler, alloy piping, 2x 500hp Walbro fuel pumps, factory pick-up pump, Sard Racing FPR, factory primary injectors, 1500cc secondary injectors, MicroTech igniters, 3-inch stainless exhaust system, A’PEXi TI muffler, custom alloy radiator, external water pump, external V-mounted cooler, MicroTech LT-10S engine managementsystem
Driveline: Mazda 5-speed gearbox, 6-puck solid centre clutch, factory locked diff
Suspension: Tein Super Drift coil-over shocks/springs, Tein EDFC controller, factory 4-wheel disc brakes, Znoelli rotors, competition pads
Wheels/Tyres: 17×10-inch Cyber rims, Kumho tyres
Exterior: Vertex/Vanquish body kit, gloss white paint, custom race graphics, blue tints, strobe lights in headlights
Interior: Full MSNZ-spec cage, Racepro Tarmac seats, Momo steering wheel, HKS gear knob
Performance: Dyno Power — 500hp @ 18psi, 0-400m — 10.96 @ 206kph
Previously owned cars: Honda Civic EG9 turbo, R32 Nissan Skyline GTS-t, A31 Nissan Cefiro, C33 Nissan Laurel, S13 Nissan Silvia, R34 Nissan Skyline in the build
Dream Car: Something flash so no one calls me a boy racer Build time: 10 months
Length of ownership: 15 months
Thanks to: Justin and Shamus for all the long hours re-assembling the car, Ian Sheppard for all the fabrication & the roll cage, Henry & the team @ Autolign (Tein), Steve @ Racepro, Paul @ FBI Performance, Brent Curran @ CBR, Oliver @ Frantik (Masterpower), Frank & crew @ Republic Apparel, Mark @ Tricky Tune, Leon @ Znoelli, Steve @ Steve Sole Customs, Grant @ Midas Onehunga, Brent @ Silverfern imports, Kumho tyres, Resene, Castrol Edge, Import X, Aaron and all other part-time pit crew, my brother-in-law Troy Bentley for all his solid effort and support, finally my parents Eddie & Trudi Wharerau and my stunning partner Alicia. Thank you everyone for making my dream a reality.
Words: Peter Kelly Photos: Quinn Hamill
They came. They saw. They conquered: We came. We saw. We had our asses handed to us on a plate! There’s no point in beating around the bush with the result of the inaugural 2006 New Zealand Performance Car and NZV8 magazine Drag Masters so we won’t hide the fact that the imports got dealt a hiding on January 7.
So if you’re looking for the glory speech about how the V8s beat the imports, then we suggest you head back down to your local and pick up the latest copy of NZV8 where you’ll be hard pressed to find anything else in the magazine apart from trumpet blowing.
Aside from the close personal rivalries that went on throughout the day, there was always going to be three main stories of the day. They were Reaction Times, Consistency and Reliability. It was no secret that the V8 boys had experience up their sleeves and knew how to race the Pro tree, so matching the times of the V8s off the line was always going to be a hard challenge to overcome with only a few qualifying passes before the real action started. Not only were the V8 boys good out of the box, they were consistently able to get off the line and generally run passes within 0.5 of a second of their PBs, a feat the import boys struggled to come to grips with. While this was always going to be a hard ask for the imports, there were a few that were able to run consistently off the line and run within 0.5 seconds of their PB or better it — there’s always exceptions to the rule and Jeremy Abbott, Ben Cox and Simon Dudding proved that imports can run consistently.
But even if the imports overcame these two issues, they were still faced with the less than minor issue of reliability. This was something that, as the day went on, really started to show its ugly face. Right from the start of the day, the problem of reliability (or lack of) continued to remove racers as each round of Drag Masters ran.
Even though there were breakages to a variety of imports throughout the day, there were a number of close races run. Unfortunately, for the import team, they weren’t quite close enough as we went down 44 — 7 to the V8s.
The pre-match hype for Drag Masters was huge, and how could it not be with such an impressive list of names turning out on both the import and V8 sides. The day was scheduled to have four rounds of Drag Masters pairings running against each other, but due to breakage delays (not all down to the imports) it was shortened to three rounds of pairings.
The very first run showed that the day was truly going to be a game of two halves as import captain Reece McGregor, in the Heat Treatments Skyline, lined up against the V8 captain, Chris Tynan, in Laurie Urlich’s Camaro.
This was definitely the day’s most anticipated match, a day that started as it would end. Straight off the bat these two ran an 8.56 vs an 8.57 with Chris Tynan taking the win off Reece by slightly more than 0.01 of a second thanks to some slick work on the tree.
Sadly for the rest of the day the outcome would not change for Reece, as he went down three nil to Chris Tynan in the Drag Masters rounds and in the process ran a best of 8.28 @ 166mph for the day.
Another hugely anticipated match was seeing Rod Harvey’s little Rayglass Datsun take on Reece’s brother, Kevin McGregor, in the Heat Treatments Camaro. As the Datsun had not been out racing at a public meeting since going through an extensive rebuild, there was talk about whether the car would run a seven, or whether it would struggle to come to terms with its new setup. Against the Camaro the little Datto struggled, but almost bettered its current PB when it ran an 8.24 @ 161mph pass. Unfortunately, the Datsun managed to remove its turbo and leave it on the start line on its final run of the day.
Glenn Suckling in the GDS Motorsport Mag & Turbo Skyline ripped apart the majority of the gearbox on his first pass of the day before packing it onto the trailer and leaving his partner to do single passes for the rest of the day.
Zoheb Razak in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III split a bore, which ended his day in the qualifying runs before the competition even started. This left his match-up running against another V8, also without a competitor due to Tony Bateson and his RX7 Heaven Mazda RX-7 not being ready for the day.
Andre Simon in his TSW Wheels Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III ran extremely quick once he was off the line, and reeled in cars like they were almost standing still on his way to two eight-second passes. Unfortunately though, he was unable to walk away with a win from either of these races and did not feature in the third match-up due to mechanical issues.
Another to suffer mechanical problems was Stu Lawton in his four-rotor, twin turbo’d Mazda SP20, which upon launching, left his Nascar diff on the track, and putting him out for the rest of the day.
Tony Markovina (Pole Banger) in his Markovina Pile Drivin TNRD Mazda RX-3 was unable to string together any passes indicative of the car’s potential and later joined Stu Lawton in the lunching of diffs when he left big hunks of it on the track during his last pass.
The Mazsport RX-7, at the mercy of Brent Curran, ran two low nine-second passes within reach of its PB, which was not enough to beat Gavin Oram in his Plymouth Arrow (sure it was a fair match-up!), but unfortunately, like the majority of the import team, he was unable to bring home any points for the team.
Thankfully, though, Nyle Buckley was able to put us on the board, even if it was by way of his competitor not making it off the line, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, huh? Unfortunately for Nyle, he only ran one more pass before he too ran into mechanical problems.
Warren Overton was out in the now black Kiwi-RE Series III RX-7 and earned a couple of points for the import team against a dirty NZV8 cover car after driving his way to a new PB of 9.24 @ 150mph.
Dean Hargreaves, in the Rotamax HELL 3, put on a show for the crowd as he launched and familiarised the rear end of the car with the track and himself with the sky against the massive Plymouth Belvedere. Unfortunately, he was unable to score any points for the imports or run any times around the car’s PB.
Due to a misfire on tuning, Graeme MacDonald had to pull the plug a day out from the event on his Croydon’s Toyota Supra, so replacing him was Adam Wilson in his Redline Performance VR-4. Before the event this had run an 11-second pass. With this in mind, filling the boots of a mid 10-second car was always going to be a struggle, and when Adam’s car rattled off a new PB of 10.35 @ 139mph, it’s safe to say we were nothing short of shocked. Who knew whales could move that fast?
Ben Cox in the NZ Car Parts Datto 1200 ran consistently around the 9.9s to 10.1s throughout the Drag Masters rounds after losing oil pressure on the line in qualifying. But he was able to get the car back on the track to bring home one point for the team against the 36 Dodge Coupe.
Bryce McEwan in the now black, BenQ sponsored FOURRE Series VI RX-7 ran well throughout the day and was able to bring the car home with a 10.49 @ 132mph, running a new PB, as well as picking up a much needed point for the import boys.
The big movers on the day, and arguably some of the more impressive runners, were Jeremy Abbott in his Mazda RX-3 and Simon Dudding in his Nissan Silvia S13. Having previously run a best of 10.12, Jeremy opened up proceedings with a 10.5, which he then backed up with a new PB of 9.87 before running another of 9.64 @ 142mph. Unfortunately for Jeremy, he was unable to win any of his rounds despite his new PB for the car.
Simon Dudding was quick off the line all day and piloted his S13 consistently down the track all day to two 9.8-second passes before cracking a new PB of 9.78 @ 133mph. Sadly, Simon was unable to take home any wins, even though he ran consistently all day and was quick off the line. Surely those match-ups must have been rigged in favour of the V8 boys!
Even though the imports went down this year, they will be back, and will bring revenge on that plate the V8s handed to us this year. The way we figure it, they gotta want their plate back sometime!
Words: Gray Lynskey
Photos: Clutch Clark, Quinn Hamill
Hi Vicky, looking ravishing today as per usual. Just to start off, there are probably a few guys saying to themselves, “Where do I know that chick from?” Please, enlighten us.
Well, I’ve been doing this sort of work for a few years now, so people might have seen me doing model promo work at car events, dance parties and things like that.
Yes, everything from Auto Salon to the 4&Rotary Nationals, and more recently at the drifting.
Ah yes, you had the privilege of being a Stil Vodka NZ Drift Series girl for D-Factor’s first round at Manfeild. How was that experience?
Absolutely awesome! I’m into drifting in a big way, so it was like being paid to be somewhere I would have liked to have been anyway. The day seemed to go off without a hitch and there was always some action to watch; I was quite impressed!
So how about those Stil Vodka uniforms? Pretty damned saucy if you ask me!
Yeah, they did really well in choosing them. They really showed off a girl’s best assets, if you know what I mean…
I think so. It must be asked though, how the hell do you survive with so little clothing and next to no body fat on your typical freezing Manfeild day?
Oh you know, you’ve just got to suck it up. We are there to do a job, and it always makes things easier when you are constantly meeting new people and watching hot cars go sideways at 150kph.
How about the after-party at High Flyers bar in Palmy?
Well, I don’t drink, so I didn’t really get my booze on. But a few of the D-Factor staff did, which was amusing to watch.
When it comes to drifting, do you have a favourite competitor?
Hmmm, tough call. If I had to make a choice though I’d have to go with Jairus 'JT’ Wharerau and his Mazda RX-7.
Interesting. I was really expecting you to say Mad Mike, like everyone else in New Zealand. Why JT?
Well, he has the skills, obviously, but besides that the car is amazing. It’s got huge power, drop-dead gorgeous looks and it runs 10 seconds on the quarter mile for God’s sake! Rotor and drift ¬ they’re my two favourite things.
Yes, they do seem the things to be into. Why do you think rotors and drifting are so popular here in New Zealand?
It’s simple: people like excitement. Both those things provide that. Noise, power, speed and danger all the ingredients for a good time are in there.
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I remember when I first heard a Toyota Corona had run a 10-second pass at Champion Dragway, Meremere. Back in 2003 when the event took place, the local import drag scene was still in its relative infancy, and achieving a 10-second pass was a far greater feat than it is today.
Understandably, I was impressed that another vehicle had joined the elusive NZPC 10-Second Club (there were far fewer members back then), yet I couldn’t fathom why someone would want to go to the trouble of turning a front-wheel drive Toyota Corona into a rear-wheel drive drag car.
It wasn’t until a few years later, when I became more acquainted with the vehicle’s driver and constructor Nyle Buckley, that I got the rundown. “I always wanted to build a dedicated Pro Import drag car, and knew the potential of the Toyota motors, so decided that’s what I would use. I also wanted something a bit different that didn’t cost heaps to get parts for.”
Although a Supra would make a great starting point for such a car, the basic purchase price alone was enough to put Nyle off. Having completed an apprenticeship as a toolmaker, Nyle was no stranger to fabrication and had the ability to kick off the project with the most unconventional of starting points. That’s when the Corona came along. Lightly crashed in at both ends, Nyle picked it up for a song, and after selling the original engine and gearbox it owed him nothing.
Although it may not have looked it in standard Toyota trim, the Corona fitted all the requirements for the build. It had a long wheelbase, plenty of room for large rear slicks, a big engine bay and the ability to sit low to the ground. It also fitted the Pro Import rules in that if Nyle wanted to use a Toyota engine, it would need to be run in a Toyota shell.
The initial build took just over three months — three months in which Nyle openly admits to having no life. During that time he was working during the day and then coming home to work on the car till the early hours of the morning. The most impressive part of the build, and possibly the vehicle itself, is that everything was built by the man himself. Completing such a mammoth task in such a short amount of time is a massive achievement if you’ve got people helping you, let alone doing it all yourself. The only part of the car Nyle out-sourced was the bodywork, but more about that later.
With a 'do it once, do it right’ attitude, Nyle designed and engineered the chassis to take a lot more power than he would initially throw at it. To do this, the original front sub-frame was modified and the firewall altered to allow for a roll cage that braces the front strut towers to the main hoops. The cage extends through to the boot and encompasses the mounting points for the new rear suspension setup. Below the Corona’s factory floorpan is extra bracing that attaches to the cage to stiffen the vehicle’s chassis.
To allow for the required massive slicks and a new four-link rear suspension, the floor from the B-pillars rearwards was removed and scrapped. Although now hidden behind a mass of alloy sheet, a rose-jointed four-link with diagonal fifth bar has been constructed and attached to a Toyota Hilux diff. The diff doesn’t necessarily need to be from the same manufacturer to satisfy the Pro Import rulebook, but the Toyota units are readily available and, for the money, there is nothing stronger on the market. While it would have been simple enough for Nyle to shorten the diff, he had a different idea. As custom wheels would be required either way, he had them constructed with an offset to suit the wide diff.
Transmission issues on the vehicle’s debut outing prevented any full passes from being made. Next time out, it wasn’t Nyle but his brother Dale at the wheel; during the last-minute push to get the vehicle ready, the gearbox was dropped on Nyle’s foot, leaving him in a cast and unable to drive for six weeks. It was on that outing that the car ran its first 10-second pass. Since then the mechanical package has gone through a range of setups to get where it is today.
After finding the limits of a stock 1JZ-GTE, then 2JZ-GTE bottom ends, a forged motor has been built using JE pistons and Eagle rods. The base for that build is actually a 2JZ-GE naturally aspirated block, with oil squirters from the previously destroyed motor the only real modification needed. As with the chassis and fabrication work, Nyle built the engine in his home garage with the help of mechanic brother Dale.
The head is a 1JZ-GTE item that has been heavily ported and now features HKS cams and adjustable cam gears. As with the 2JZ-GE block, the 1JZ-GTE head was chosen for its availability and far lower price than the 2JZ-GTE counterpart. Clamping the head and block are ARP studs and a factory Toyota head gasket.
Hanging off the exhaust side of the head is a custom steam pipe manifold that mounts a Garrett TA51 turbo and 50mm HKS external wastegate. As power levels were increased when the new motor was installed, the old front-mount intercooler has been removed and a custom water-to-air item constructed. Wrapped in the custom alloy housing are two 20B Mazda Cosmo intercooler cores. For maximum cooling come drag day, the tank is usually filled with a mix of ice and water. From here three-inch alloy piping sends the compressed air through an 85mm custom throttle body to a custom intake manifold. Filling the injector ports are 850cc squirters, fed on a healthy dose of C16 race gas by a pair of Bosch in-tank pumps. To ensure that all injectors are kept equally doused, each pump feeds one end of the rail, and the return is from the centre.
With such a great volume of air and fuel passing through the combusting chambers, Nyle wisely chose to over-engineer the ignition system by using six individual Bosch coils — and a few other tricks he is keeping to himself. Signal to the coils and management of the potent engine package is now under the instruction of a LinkPlus engine management system. No points for guessing who made and installed the custom wiring harness in the vehicle.
With 23psi boost dialed into the Trust Profec-B boost controller, and Kent from Warkworth’s Speed Source on tuning duty, the Corona recently ran a whopping 639kW at the wheels on the rolling road dyno — a solid 856hp in the old money, and most definitely over 1000hp at the flywheel. They’re some impressive numbers, whichever way you look at it.
Establishing a driveline strong enough to handle this much power, let alone put it to the track, is no easy task. The vehicle’s original Ford C4 trans has recently been swapped for an FB two-speed Powerglide, very similar to the one in Carl Jensen’s 7-second C&M/Venom Supra. From here a custom drive shaft from Drive Inn New Lynn sends power to the rear-end rubber. With the newfound power levels, it won’t take long for the diff to stop playing the game, so a Ford nine-incher is currently in the works.
Those massive rear tyres measure in at 31x13x15 inches, but despite their size, they don’t hook up without some assistance from QA1 drag-specific coil-over shocks. Up front are 15×4-inch alloy rims wrapped in Goodyear Front Runners. These 4.5-inch-wide strips of rubber often leave the ground upon launch, but with coil-over modified Corona struts up front, the landing is always smooth.
To date the car’s best ET is 8.97@ 249kph — but there is still plenty more to come. The 8-second pass was made on a cold track and a soft launch to ensure the diff didn’t destroy itself. Once the nine-inch is in, and some lightweight rear wheels fitted, we have little doubt that the car will run a lot deeper into the NZPC 8-Second Club zone.
Thanks to Skills4Work recently coming on board as sponsors, the Corona now looks the part when it hits the strip, too. As Skills4Work is an apprenticeship provider for courses such as the engineering and tool-making one that Nyle completed, it was felt that Nyle and the Corona were the perfect ambassadors to show what can be achieved by completing an apprenticeship. Beneath the graphics is a superbly finished PPG Mazda Snowflake paint job, applied by AJ at Whenuapai Auto Refinish. Besides its new colours, the only changes to the Corona’s bodywork from its days as a lowly street car are the addition of lightweight Lexan windows, a front chin spoiler and a large alloy drag wing.
These small touches, along with the graphics, have transformed the vehicle from one you wouldn’t normally take a second look at, to one that stands out in a crowd of impressive drag cars. The interior is a relatively simple affair but, as Nyle says, you’re there for a good time, not a long time, so it does the job.
After campaigning the car for four years and continually improving it as he goes, Nyle is happy with what he has achieved. However, he has a goal to go even quicker. How quick? Well, he’s not one to talk it up, so Nyle would prefer to just run the car and see what happens, rather than make big claims. Regardless of what times the vehicle runs, the fact that the car has been entirely built by Nyle is a greater achievement than any time slip could provide. Now that’s Kiwi ingenuity at its finest.
1994 Toyota Corona
Engine: Toyota 2JZGE 3.0-litre, JE pistons, Eagle rods, ARP studs, ATI crank pulley, 1JZ-GTE DOHC 24V cylinder head, HKS cams, adjustable cam pulleys, custom porting, ARP head studs, Garrett TA51 turbo, 50mm HKS wastegate, custom water-to-air intercooler, 2x in-tank Bosch fuel pumps, Malpassi fuel pressure regulator, 6x 850cc injectors, 6x Bosch coils, 3.5-inch side exit exhaust, custom radiator, Davies Craig electric water pump, LinkPlus engine management system, Trust Profec-B boost controller
Driveline: F&B 2-speed Powerglide auto transmission, custom alloy flywheel, Hilux dif
Suspension: QA1 rear shocks, QA1 rear springs, Toyota MR-2 front hubs, Corona struts with coil-over springs, custom rear sway bar
Brakes: Toyota MR-2 front callipers/rotors, Corona front discs/callipers rear
Wheels/tyres: 15×4-inch alloy fronts, 15×12-inch steel rears, 25×4.5×15 Goodyear Front Runners, 31x13x15 Goodyear slicks
Exterior: Custom chassis modifications, drag wing, Lexan windows, custom front lip, PPG Mazda Snowflake White with Zyrillic Pearl paint
Interior: NZDRA-spec roll cage, Momo driver’s seat, Momo steering wheel, Auto Meter gauges, Link dash,
Performance: Dyno Power — 639 kW (856hp) @ wheels, 0-400m — 8.97 @ 249kph
Previously Owned Cars: 12A bridgeport RX-2, Series 2 RX-7, 13B turbo S1 RX-7, 13B turbo RX-2 coupe, RX323, S6 RX-7, Mazda DOHC turbo, Daihatsu Charade GTti
Dream Car: Something 2JZ-powered that runs 6-second passes in NZ
Build time: Ongoing
Length of ownership: 4 Years
Nyle Thanks: Skills4Work, Kent @ Speedsource, Carl @ C&M Performance, AJ @ Whenuapai Auto Refinishers, FBI Performance, Tony @ Markovina Pile Driving, Aiden @ Drive Inn, Phillip @ Link, Dale, Mum & Dad, Ted & Rascal, Ann, Big Mike, Coxy, Cam, Chris, Che, Kyrie, Jeremy, Azhar, Rotor Keith
Lives: North Shore, Auckland
Likes: A chilled out summer day with good sounds and good friends
Where did you grow up?
Mainly in Indonesia, but I’m half Balinese and Dutch
And how’d you find it growing up there?
It was great and I’m glad that I was exposed to so many cultures and so many places. I moved around a lot when I was there too. I’ve never stuck to one place for too long, which I really enjoy. I love new things and new experiences, because I tend to get over things really easily
What is your normal job?
I recently started an office job as a sales administrator
What do you do for fun?
I like dancing, especially to hard-house. I’ve also recently started mixing (DJing) too and even though I’m not perfect it’s still good fun
What do you want to be doing with your life in 15 years?
Having a good old family with a dog and maybe a million dollar job! What’s the worst thing you did when you were younger that you
never told your parents?
Hey, if they can’t get it out of me, what makes you think you can?
Did you get into any sports, or were you too busy with other 'extra curricular’ activities? I’ve always been into dancing as a sport. I did all sorts of styles, but mainly I went full-on with Latin and Ballroom dancing
If you meet a guy in town, what should he say to impress you?
Nothing really. I like genuine guys that can just carry out a fun conversation and don’t make it too obvious he’s trying to impress. But he’s got to play a little hard to get too!
And what’s the worst thing he could do to make you walk away?
If he has the 'I’m so hot I can get all the girls I want’ kind of attitude
What’s your perfect Saturday evening?
'Lax out with mates then off for some dancing 'till the sun rises
If you had to choose between a holiday in the snow in a log cabin, or a remote tropical island in the middle of summer, which would it be?
Definitely a remote tropical island in the middle of summer. I hate the cold
Do you have any hidden talents you’d like to share with us?
Nope, no hidden ones. What you see is what you get!
What’s the most embarrassing thing you can remember doing?
I don’t think I’ve had any major embarrassing moments, but I’ve had heaps of little ones. Like hugging a stranger in a bar when I thought they were a friend. I do things like that all the time
If you had the opportunity to change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
World Peace. It sounds cheesy, I know, but the things they’re showing on TV lately are really freaking me out
Describe your dream ride…
There are a lot of cars that I dream of owning, but regardless, it would have to be black, sleek and sacked on 22-inch shadow chrome rims. I wouldn’t mind a Chrysler 300C like that
What do you cruise the mean streets of Auckland in?
I just got a Mitsubishi Diamante this week
Is it modified, or if not, do you have any plans to modify it?
Nope it’s standard. I might do a few little bits to it, but nothing extreme. My last car that I modified sucked my wallet dry so I had to sell it. So I don’t think I’ll be going down that road again anytime soon.
PHOTOS: QUINN HAMILL
Cover Model: Crissilla @ Allure Promotions
Make up: Evana@normajean.co.nz
Stylist: Charlotte Piho
Clothes supplied by Route 66 and Miss Crabb
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NZPC MAGAZINE 97
Grab Bible Tank from Route 66, $60
Nobody Sonic Jean from Route 66, $180
Mossimo Georgie Top from Route 66, $70
M-One-11 Rockin Shorts from Route 66, $90
One Horse Town Belt from Miss Crabb
Shirt Dress from Miss CrabbOne Horse Town Belt from Miss Crabb
Likes: Shopping, cars, art, dancing, snow boarding, travelling and
I just love the beach!
Dislikes: Being sick
So what do you do every day, Cathy?
I’m a uni student studying design and I also work part-time at a bar.
Studying design huh, is that what you want to be?
Yeah, I would love to become a well-known interior designer.
So where would NZPC readers have seen you before?
I’ve done a bit of promo work and some bikini comps, so maybe they have seen me there. There were pics of me in the magazine from Drag Masters too! he, he!
What are you driving?
I’ve got a Toyota Levin 96 AE111
Nice ride — any plans to modify it?
If I could do anything I’d get some new mags and a body kit. In the meantime though, I’d like to give it a new paint job as it’s a boring flat grey colour! Oh, and I need to get it lowered too!
If you had a choice what would it be: a slammed Chrysler 300C on 24-inch chrome rims, or a 700hp Skyline GT-R?
Actually, I’d rather have a Lamborghini! But if I had to choose between the two, I think I’d go with the slammed Chrysler! it sounds hot!
Drifting, drag racing, or show — which one does it for you and why?
Umm! I love action and I like drifting, but when it comes to cars, I also love style. So a bit of everything, I guess.
Describe your perfect Saturday?
My perfect Saturday would be sleeping in ’till around midday, then going to the beach with friends, then heading into town till the early hours of the morning!
So you’re night-out-with-a-friend girl, rather than a stay-athome-watching-a-DVD one?
I like a bit of both, but I’d have to say I am more of a night-outwith-a-friend kind of girl.
Do you want to come back and be on a NZPC cover again?
For sure. I had heaps fun!
Carhartt Track jacket $160
Adidas military Dress $175
Carhartt Track pants $115
Elwood Metal top $65
Nobody straight Jeans $265
Clothes Supplied by: Route 66 Model: Cathy @ Allure Promotions Make up: Evana @ Norma Jean
Styling: Amanda Carter @ Allure Promotions Bikini (cover): Bright Pink bikini Teazeclothing.com, Melon Bikini Moontide
Occupation: Make Up Artist
Hi Chloe, how are you today?
I’m a little on the warm side but otherwise great, thanks.
You look familiar, where would our readers have seen you before?
I do a lot of promo work at import events, and I enter into quite a few bikini comps.
Ah yes, I believe I did a bit of cheering for you at the Import All-Stars after party in Taupo before I passed out on the bar! How did you do?
I came first equal actually, so it was a good night for me.
What did you think of the day?
It was good fun! The weather was awesome and I spent the whole time sitting in the sun, having a few drinks and watching the drags.
The first rounds of the bikini comps were held at the event themselves and the crowds were huge. Do you ever get nervous?
Not really. I’ve been a ballet dancer all my life, so I’m used to getting up on stage in very little clothing. The only time it gets weird is when the crowd doesn’t get into it and things go quiet.
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So you’d rather all those munters that yell things like “show us ya tits!”?
It doesn’t really bother me; at least they are making noise. Usually it’s my boyfriend yelling all the worst stufff anyway (laughs).
Ever had any embarrassing moments at a comp?
No, I haven’t actually, but you hear all the horror stories. Girls accidentally showing the crowd what only their gynaecologist should see, that sort of stuff.
Is it competitive, or do all the girls get on well?
Generally it’s pretty good; we all tend to get on pretty well. Sometimes when there is a lot of money involved it can change people a bit.
What do you do in your spare time, besides looking good in a bikini?
To be honest, I sleep a lot. I’m a big fan of mooching around the house in my pyjamas and eating.
That’s a little surprising. So you’re not a big party girl?
Nope, I got over that whole scene pretty quickly.
Interesting. Where did you grow up?
I’m from up north, a town called Warkworth. It’s not a big place, so everyone I grew up with is going to see this.
Lucky I didn’t ask you any embarrassing questions then. Thanks for your time Chloe.
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