DRIFTING FANS WILL DETERMINE FUTURE OF D1NZ'S STADIUM CIRCUITS
Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship Managing Director Brendon White is calling on fans to decide whether they want to see stadium based drift circuits become a regular fixture on the series calendar in years to come.
The series began the 2016–’17 D1NZ calendar with the Southern Hemisphere’s first indoor drift event at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. Now D1NZ is undertaking its second stadium based drift event in less than three months as the series takes on Tauranga’s ASB Baypark Stadium.
With traditional circuits putting fans at a distance to the cars on track White said stadium based drift events give fans the most exciting and closest spectator experience to drifting in New Zealand.
“This is the closest you will ever be to high speed drifting in New Zealand, you’re going to be right there,” said White.
“Nowhere else can you sit in an elevated grandstand with all the amenities where you can see the whole track for $25. You may never see this track again. This could be your once in a lifetime opportunity to see it in the flesh in this setting.”
The American Formula Drift Championship sees all but two of its Pro events take place on high banked speedway circuits. The move by D1NZ towards stadium and speedway based venues follows a world trend towards giving spectators the closest experience possible in motorsport.
Whilst the stadium setting may be one of the best locations for drifting events outside of traditional circuit venues, the cost of constructing drift circuits needs to be met with great crowd attendance to make the ventures viable.
“As a promoter our dream would be to fill the stadium. Realistically we know that’s not going to happen with a major event that caters to the same crowd a week earlier.
“What we want to see is a strong local crowd of 6,000 on the minimum side. 10,000 would be our dream and we’d be really happy. That’d probably be one of New Zealand’s biggest drifting crowds.
“The thing for us is if motorsport fans in New Zealand want this type of event then they need to come—otherwise we won’t be doing it again.”
In years past the series built drift circuits in car parks at venues like Mount Smart Stadium, Mystery Creek Events Centre in the Waikato, Whangarei’s Toll Carrier Yard and ASB Baypark Stadium.
Baypark debuted on the D1NZ calendar in 2013 to great fanfare as the first event sold out. The event first began as a day event but transitioned into a day/night show.
This year the series moves inside the stadium with concrete being laid atop the banked speedway circuit. Only a few thousand could fit into the former car park setting, but nearly 20,000 spectators can fill Baypark Stadium.
White said he wants to see the region support the event and get as close to the action as possible. However, if the spectators don’t turn out for the annual event then there will be no choice but to limit stadium circuit builds in the future.
“We will go back to the fundamental track elements which make up the series if people don’t come. So if you want to see drifting and motorsport next year progress to a totally different level, then people need to let us know that this is cool and this is what they want to see.
“We’ve pushed the boundaries for ages but as a promoter you take a certain amount of calculated risk. It’d be a shame if we had to go away from it.”
The third round of the series will not only see drifting take place inside Baypark Stadium, extreme sports will play support including BMX demonstrations.
The former circuit venue behind the stadium will serve as the location for the dedicated Cooper Tyres My Maunganui Hardpark.
The third round of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship takes place over February 24-25 at ASB Baypark Stadium, with tickets available on the gate or through iTicket.co.nz.