DRIVER BLOG: Driftsquid’s Final Saga in D1NZ
Hey Drifted fans!!
Round 6 of the D1NZ series has come waaay sooner then I thought it would. It feels like yesterday I flew into Christchurch for the first round of D1NZ haha.
Hampton Downs Raceway was the venue for the final round and what an event it was shaping up to be. With the championship being so close and everyone worried about how many points they can lose in qualifying alone! Anyway it was my mission to come along have a heap of fun and become a points wrecker haha! I was in no contention for the championship as I have missed a few rounds and had a few mechanical dramas. But this round my car was ready, my crew was ready (Lee) haha and I was getting so much support from the Kiwi’s it wasnt funny!
My car was shipped up finally from Christchurch to Auckland. Thanks to Paul Tomlin for not only making my car run again but organising to get it up to MadMike and Toni’s factory in Auckland.
MadMike and Partner Toni have helped me out more then enough this year and for the final round they took care of everything. Thanks so much guys!!
I flew in a week early to get things sorted for the final round and my good mate Lee Boehm came with. We had the car checked on the dyno thanks to Cromey and then the car was aligned by Autolign in Auckland. After that we spanner checked the car and gave it a birthday!! In the mean time Mike and his crew were busy trying to solve the ignition issue he was having with the MadBull. The car is so awesome is just not funny!!!
Before we knew it the Wednesday was here and we loaded the car into Mikes Fursty Rig. This Rig is the coolest truck I’ve ever been in, I’ve been in a lot of rigs but this was just so damn cool. 500 horsepower, straight through stacks, makes for an awesome induction note and engine brake!
So we had everything loaded up and ready to rock for the Thursday practice. Time for a quick nap and up early for the trek to Hampton Downs.
Thursday Practice Day
Up at 6:00am and in the Red Bull Rig to trek down to Hampton Downs Raceway. The Red Bull rig of Mikes is not only a mad looking truck but with its straight through stacks its fricking loud as all hell. Almost more of an attention puller then Mikes 4 rota FD! We got to Hampton Downs Raceway around 7am and unloaded the Rig. I was so damn excited to finally drive my car after it’s been so long and almost losing it when it was in the Christchurch earthquakes.
Drivers briefing was done and dusted and I caught up with all the drivers and people involved with D1NZ. Before we knew it the cars were on the grid lined up ready for the first practice session. I had left my wing on but straightened it up to create minimal down force. With the YOKOHAMA S Drives pumped up to 50psi I was hoping I had little strain on the car but still enough grip to be competitive.
The first session is always the session to find your balance on the track you’ve never been on before and it’s exactly what I did. Found the right gears to be in and pushed for the maximum speed to go through each corner. After 3 laps I went into the judged section to complete a full run and on my scando the power steering belt came off. My steering locked up and I just couldn’t drive with it so back to the pits I went. Anyone knows when your car runs power steering and the belt comes off its crazy hard to turn it due to the fluid still being in the rack etc…
Got back to the pits and knowing I didn’t have a spare belt I had to get some from down the street. While Lee went off to get them I went looking for one in the pits. I managed to get a couple from Carl and Adam but Lee made it back in time to use brand new ones. Being it only a practice day I wasn’t too worried about getting in heaps of track time. Another belt went on and out I went for the next session.
Just two laps in and the belt come off again, I was worried now as I knew something wasn’t right. Id already stopped myself from getting close to the limiter on the engine as the vibrations wouldn’t help the belts stay on at all. We couldn’t do much besides moving the idler I had on the setup and putting a new belt on. We decided to pull the wing off also just so we had a far more aggressive entry in the first corner. See the video here for the second practice session I had. I was driving the whole track and not just the drift section haha.. Got to take advantage of being in another country right!!!
By this stage it was the afternoon and only one more session to go for practice. We changed a few things and put another belt on the car, I went out and being really cautious of the belt coming off I took it easy and made sure I had the hang of the track. It was hard trying to be so careful on my car haha, not only was I nursing the standard box but I was staying off the limiter all together and when my car has all its power in the top end it was fricking hard!
I got through the whole session and the car kept the belt on fine.
The car felt good enough to qualify and I was pumped for the Friday’s main day. In fact I had enough grip out of the S Drives I decided to take the wing off just to make sure I wouldn’t break a gearbox. We put a set of brand new 255/35/18’s YOKOHAMA S DRIVES on the rear and filled it up with E85 ready for the Friday’s action. The car was kept at the track and we drove back to Mike and Toni’s in Auckland for a good nights shut eye.
Friday Qualifying and Main Competition
Another foggy early morning in Auckland and we were all pumped to get down to Hampton Downs for today comp. Mike was having issues with his ECU/ignition and was really hoping his car didn’t play up for today’s action. My car how ever was fine apart from chucking the odd belt off. The car seemed to be fine now so it was all looking good.
We got to Hampton Downs and setup everything ready for the big day. Lee and I did a quick check over of the car and everything seemed all ok. Another check on the power steering belt and it seemed fine so the first session in the morning was practice and then after that it was straight into qualifying.
I went out in the practice session and found the feel again, the car felt heaps slippery compared to Thursdays practice sessions so we downs the pressures in the tyres slightly. I managed to get around on the third lap and the damn power steering belt come off again!
As I came back in Lee knew exactly what was wrong and we put the last belt we had on the car ready for qualifying. Being in another country I didn’t have my normal spare parts like I do back home so we couldn’t do much besides putting on new belts and making the odd change with the pulleys. Being Good Friday all the shops were closed too so I was on my last belt and had no other choices.
We made a game play for qualifying and that’s all we could really do. Qualifying was now up and we had to form up. I went into my first run really worried the belt would come off and I would somehow have to drive through without the power steering. I managed to pull my first run without any issues and my thoughts were “it was an alright run but nothing special”. See I didn’t have time to check out other peoples driving and had hardly any tandem practice so I had no idea how others were driving. With Lee being in the pits waiting to check the car in between runs I didn’t have a spotter or anything like the other guys do. So I came back in the pits and got Lee to re-check the belt and had to go straight back out to do my second qualifying run.
Second run was up and I was even more worried now, I had to give it my all and that I did. In other words that limiter was hit hahaha and as I finished the run I knew it was good enough to make Top 16. As I was coming back around to the grid to come back into the pits I look at my gauges and the water temp was rising…. I knew straight away that the water pump belt had come off and I shut the car down straight away. I was towed back into the pits and Lee and I knew it was the harmonic balancer that was the issue. I did a quick shout out on the radio for a balancer from someone in the pits and before I even got to talk to Lee Adam Wyndham came up and said “bro take mine off my car”. I missed my third qualifying run but wasn’t too worried about it as I was fairly sure my second run was good enough. We got quickly too it and took Adam’s balancer off and swap it with mine. Pun, Lee and Adam were going like cut snakes trying to get it done as the Top 16 gets introduced and then its straight into battles. I didn’t know if I made Top 16 yet but if I did I wanted to make sure my car was running for it.
As the guys were half way through taking my balancer off they called the Top 16 qualifiers and to my shock I pulled 3rd spot. Just behind the 2 top qualifiers by only a couple points I was fairly happy with that result. But I still had an issue and the count down to the battles was on. The D1NZ crew came up and said we had to get to the grid ASAP. The guys were still working on the car and having issues with getting the new balancer on my car. The Organisers came up and said a final call so I got suited up and in the car while the guys did the finishing touches on the balancer. The guys did an awesome job to get it done and on time. Thanks heaps to Adam, Pun and Lee for getting it all sorted and done.
Having found what we think the issue was I was pumped for the battles. We went out for our Top 16 introduction for the crowd and as we pulled up to the front on the crowd I thought I’d check the belts to make sure they were still fine. As I pulled up the bonnet I saw the power steering belt had jump a cog and I was freaking out. They introduced us and I rushed back into the pits before my battle to get the belt back on. I had just enough time and cam back out to the grid to line up against Bruce Tannock.
This was my second tandem battle for the whole year, I couldn’t believe the excitement I had for this battle and as I was the higher qualifier I was leading first. I had a decent run but was lacking huge amounts of drive out of the car. Lee was out on the form up grid to help with any issues with the belt as we just didn’t know what was going to happen so as I came back around to swap over to chase, Lee quickly checked the belts and all was good.
My turn to chase and I find nothing more exciting then chasing. I left a little bit of room between Bruce and myself on the entry and I caught up more then I thought coming into the second corner. Bruce ran wide and I managed to pass him on the inside down the hill. I won the battle and was into the Top 8!! Stoked!
I was faced off against Fanga Dan in the Top 8. To say I was excited for this was a small understatement haha. I’ve looked up to the like of Fanga, Gaz and MadMike since I was a kid and this was like a dream come true fro me so I just wanted to get this battle underway. As I came back around we dropped my tyres pressures down to 30psi to try getting some drive out of the car. Checked the belts and everything seemed to be in place and ready to roar. Fanga and I wished each other good luck and we were off. I was leading first being the higher qualifier and went into my run full steam.
I pushed a little too hard and ran slightly wide coming up the hill and finished the run fine. As I pulled up to the start grid again to swap positions Lee checked the belts and all was good. Sweeeeet!!
Now my turn to lead and as we came into the entry I lost a lot of drive coming out of the corner leading up to the first corner as the wheels were just spinning up and in turn Fanga pulled a fair gap on me. I tried to catch up and managed to stay the same distance from him but didn’t lose any ground on him. I knew it would have been a close call and Fanga went through with the win.
I ended up coming 7th overall and was happy the car stuck it out for the battles. I just wish this happened 6 rounds ago haha! I just want to say a huge thanks to Adam and Pun for the help of the balancer. Lee for going like a cut snake all day making sure the car was on song and missing out on most of the live action (sorry mate). Mike and Toni for taking me under their wing and making sure everything was just right and lil Linc for making sure my Easter involved a damn good egg haha!! Thanks so much guys.
Paul, Troy, Hugo, Cromey, Damo and everyone who helped me with the lead up to the final round. Ian and Boxer for coming over from Oz to do some filming, footage to come people!! The whole D1NZ crew for making the series happen. ADVAN Australia, HI OCTANE DIRECT, ICON helmets, PPG, ASR, Lewis engines, Helps Metalwork’s and MCA for supporting me throughout the whole season. All my friends, family and fans back home for the great support throughout the year. Considering the season I had I’m so pumped to have experienced it all and made some awesome new friends.
Now with everyone from NZ coming over for World Time Attack in August I cant wait, its going to be one massive event you wont want to miss. For more details on the event click here : http://www.worldtimeattack.com/index.php/jake-jones-returns-to-compete-in-tectaloy-drift-challenge/
Jake ‘Driftsquid’ Jones