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International eyes on Valvoline D1NZ season opener

Marking their claim for the 2023 title, 22 drivers square off at Hampton Downs this weekend for the first of five rounds – televised live.

The international popularity of the D1NZ series also rings in a weekend of change. Shifting from a standalone event to being alongside other categories puts a lot of extra eyes on drifting as a sport.

With change comes opportunity – exposure to a wider audience and three international entries: Australian’s Mitch Larner and Jason Ferron, from New Caledonia: Jeremy Slamet.

“Over the last few years, I’ve been competing all over the world. Somewhere we haven’t been is next door – New Zealand, and I’ve finally got the opportunity,” said five time drift champion and Australian Mitch Larner. The 26-year-old Perth pro has competed in Australia, US, Ireland, U.K. and Cyprus.

“I’ve been posting about D1 since I was 16 years old and to finally be here, I feel is something I’ve had to check off the list.”

Starting the season alongside the New Zealand Grand Prix brings a change to the weekend format with track action on the Friday and Saturday. Sunday concludes with the Toyota FT-60 cars contesting the Grand Prix race.

Fronting the D1NZ field is 2022 pro-champion Fanga Dan Woolhouse and pro-sport champion Connor Halligan.

Each class has a 45 minute qualifying session on Friday afternoon with top-16 eliminations from 4:15pm Saturday

Elevate the exposure of the sport to an audience tuned into watching the other supporting categories

The live broadcast package includes coverage on Sky Sport 5 (New Zealand) Fox Sport (Australia) and Pasifika TV (Pacific nations). Livestream is available via


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