Ever since I got my licence I have attended as many track days that I could, whether that was mid-week sprints, weekend time attack and mix in some of the drift days and nights that pop up throughout the year, even if it was just standing on the pit wall watching the cars go past, and of course taking shots for coverage on here. But it was always a goal of mine to host our own track day. A Downshift track day. Matyas and I had spoken about it numerous times over the years, but this year we finally decided it was time to do what we had always wanted to.


The first port of call was to choose a track to hold the event at. We already have our morning Circuit & Coffee cruise sessions and breakfast at Queensland Raceway (our next one us actually coming up in June), so we wanted to change it up from that. We threw around ideas on where and how to hold it for months it seemed, until Sharpy suggested Norwell Raceway, just in between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It is a tight, difficult yet forgiving circuit used primarily for private functions, driver training and race car experience days. Norwell can only facilitate 60 cars for racing purposes, which was right down our alley. Being our first track day, we didn’t want to start off with a 100+ entry list. Sharpy put the plan in motion, then we went about getting everything we needed sorted. After that it was the anxious wait for the day to roll around, but everyone was pumped! When the dawn of the day finally came, it was literally the most perfect weather. The sun bathed the horizon in golden light as we were at Norwell setting up.


With a 5:30am wake up and a 7am arrival at the track, we did a bit of a briefing and got ready for the entrants to roll in. As with any event, there are a few early birds and then they all come in droves. Watching the cars roll in was something else, our entry list was filled with dream machinery and had so much variety, which is exactly what we were after. With everything from dead stock AW11 MR2s and NA MX5s to Lexus LFAs, Porsches and a 1000hp R32 GTR. The DS Crew were excited, I could see it on their faces, and I couldn’t help but smile as well, I was pumped for what the day would bring!!



For the time attack we had 9 groups, with each consisting of 4-7 cars, keeping them nice and small for more space on track. Each group would get 1 warm up lap, 3 hot laps and 1 cool down lap. This may seem like quite short sessions, but by the end of the day each group had well over 5 sessions each, some people getting as many as 10 sessions in before the day’s end. The racing ran almost flawlessly. While we had a few hiccups with timing and lap counting and obviously the odd car going on a detour through the grass, they were only minor setbacks that didn’t hinder the racing at all. Since I was waving the cars out all day, I got to hear from all of the drivers and everyone was raving about the day. That’s all I wanted to hear: people having a blast, driving their cars and enjoying themselves. That is EXACTLY what we set out to do.



My favorite car of the day had to be the Next Up Performance R32 GTR, just for pure unadulterated insanity. Will, Skinny and the rest of the Next Up crew brought two of their shop cars out to support Downshift and also promote their workshop, and they certainly got a lot of attention from it. The R32 GT-R in question makes 860awhp thanks to an OS Giken RB30 crate motor, GTX42R turbo and everything else you can imagine. It puts the power down through a Holinger sequential and just lights all 4 through the first 3 gears with ease. Watching it on track was nerve wracking and exciting all at the same time. Big thumbs up to the Next Up boys for coming out!




Here are some of the ‘detours’ I was talking about earlier! Jared, one the of the DS crew went walkabout in his Mazda 6 and then laughed as I had to clean up the dirt. I’ll get him back.



The only break on track from the racing was a cruise session that was held in the middle of the day. This was basically for everyone to be out on track at once, taking it easy, having a few stabs down the straight and taking their mates for passenger laps. Was a hell of a lot of fun.




Such a soft spot for Tim’s DC2 Integra. TE37s, Spoon front lip, stripped and just awesome.


While time attack was running, we also had the skidpan operating. This was 5 minutes of sliding fun on a fully fledged, professional skidpan with water jets keeping the whole area soaking wet the whole time. There was a 6 car deep queue for it for the entire day, everyone had a go.




Tony’s RWD Forester causing some head scratching. Look out for it in an upcoming issue of Fast Fours!






The pits were bustling all day long with cars coming in and out of skid pan, the time attack group changeovers and spectators checking out the action. It was a perfect day to chill, watch some great racing, have some laughs on the skid pan and enjoy the music. You cannot really ask for a better way to spend your Sunday.


Turbo 86 anyone?








You can buy an R35 GT-R for a pretty reasonable price now (sub-$100K). Would be fun as a daily, easily doubling as a track car!


At the start of the day the Time Attack started out pretty relaxed with most people just getting used to the track and enjoying their cars. But as soon as the times started being posted, the drivers started taking matters a lot more seriously. It was awesome to watch the drivers push their cars to the edge to take top honours for the day.



Was so awesome to see Anthony’s S14 back out and running again. Long time readers will be familiar with this car, previously rolling on some huge SSR Professor SP1s and being slammed on its ass. Ant has turned it into a track car so he can enjoy it more these days, and with a 420rwhp SR it is easy to see why.


People are finally starting to dribble through a few Toyota 86s on the second hand market. Don’t expect much depreciation though, cheapest is still over $30K.




Some of our good friends from the Brisbane supercar club brought their exotic machinery out for the day to enjoy the track and skidpan, but it seemed even they started taking things seriously. JP in his chrome-wrapped LF-A posted a best time of a frankly ridiculous 1:04. While it was 3 seconds off the day’s fastest, pushing a $900,000 supercar that hard takes some serious passion, skill and determination. I think everyone watched with open mouths [and ears! -Matyi].







Nick posing for the camera mid timed session. Now here is a man who knows what’s up! How can you not love his Porsche 997 turbo though? I mean look at it, carbon everywhere, RS wheels, TechArt rear bar, Vorsteiner front bar and side skirts. It is literally modified car perfection!



By the end of the day it had certainly come down to the wire with the top 5 cars being separated by 1.5 seconds. We had 10 trophies to hand out all together, as well as a $500 CASH prize for whoever managed to hold the crown at the end of the day. With that kind of incentive here are how the standings at the end of the day were:

Fastest FWD – Paul Kenyon (EG Civic)
Bris Honda Crew’s ‘Fastest Honda of the Day’ – Paul Kenyon (EG Civic)

Pauly who is a good mate of mine managed to walk away with two trophies at the end of the day. Taking out fastest FWD and fastest Honda with a 1:03.1 which put him just 1.6 seconds away from 1st place, and 5th position overall. His golden EG Civic is a crowd favorite at every event it goes to. Not to mention it is an old school build, having been a familiar face in the QLD car scene for well over 5 years. Running a Jackson Racing supercharged K24/20 it is certainly no slouch.



Fastest AWD – Karl Grice (GRB WRX STI)

Karl was a man on a mission all day long. His STi had only been recently finished and no one had set eyes on the car before. It may look like your everyday STi but it actually houses a fully built 2.5 litre under the bonnet, with a GTX35R on a twist-mount setup. It was making a run in power figure of 300awkw at 16psi for the Track Battle. Karl pushed the car to its limits though and pulled off a frankly insane 1.01.9, which meant he had EVERYONE chasing his time in the last two sessions. It was however only good enough to net him second place.


European Dominator – Guy Harding (Golf R)

Unfortunately we do not have any shots of Guy’s Golf R, but it is in fact the APR Demo Car for Queensland and a good one at that. Tying 3rd place on the day with a 1.02.7 it was nothing to scoff at. Most people were completely unaware of the animal that APR has built, with 380awkw through a DSG double clutch gearbox it is monstrously fast. Guy actually lead the standings for most of the day, only just after lunch was his time finally beaten. You can see our feature article on Harding Performance here. [Here’s a pic of the car at Guy’s shop in Coorparoo -Matyi]

Harding Performance

Muscle Master – Joel Zito (HSV Maloo)

The muscle side of things was certainly lacking in attendees, but even so Joel still managed a 1.08.2 in his HSV Maloo, a two tonne ute that was certainly NOT built to go quickly around circuits. He did extremely well and the car looked awesome out on the track, such a vibrant red and awesome exhaust note. Hopefully at our next track battle the Muscle trophy is more hotly contested.



Fastest P Plater – Corey Harradine (Integra DC5)

We actually didn’t even realise Corey was a P Plater until after the event, since some people had gone home before the trophy presentation we were unsure who walked away with the Fastest P Plater award. But later found out it was in fact Corey, and with a best of 1:05.0 he was absolutely tearing up the track in this DC5 Integra. Having ditched the K20 for more displacement in the form of a K24 it has certainly proved beneficial as Corey was one of the most consistent cars of the day. Looking forward to seeing this car out more and watching him improve if this is what he can do while still on his P plates. Plus just look at this Mag Blue TE37s.


Crowd Favorite – Chris Coroneos (R34 GTR)

I was both surprised and not surprised that Chris’ R34 took the crowd favorite trophy. I was expecting the LF-A to walk away with it to be perfectly honest. But watching this thing around the track was certainly something else, his pace was absolutely insane, and the 4ft flames that were being shot on every gearchange were just beautiful to watch; sent shivers down my spine. I am unsure on the specifics of Chris’ R34 GTR, but it wears the GT Auto Garage sticker and they are synonymous with some of QLD’s most insane builds so it would not be surprising to see a myriad of HKS gear under the bonnet. Stay tuned for a full feature on Chris’s killer R34 GT-R in the coming weeks.


Fastest RWD – Matt Sheather (AE71 Corolla)
Japanese Legend – Matt Sheather (AE71 Corolla)
Track Battle Champion – Matt Sheather (AE71 Corolla)

Yes, a little AE71 Corolla did in fact take the crown at the DS Track Battle. But not just any old AE71, Matt’s built one is a seriously ridiculous car. This little red rocket is running a full 13B rotary conversion from a series 5 RX-7, and with a T67 turbo strapped to the side of it, it is certainly not short on power. Matt came to crush egos and achieved that, warming himself up by absolutely insane times all day, until finally a 1.01.5 was posted and officially took the crown. Nothing could match the pace Matt was setting and after looking over the car you begin to see why. Caged, power, fully stripped, Hankook slicks wrapped around Minilites. Matt was certainly giving it his all and I cannot wait to see him destroying lap times at the next Track Battle. But will he be able to keep his crown? Time will tell!




So with the day wrapped up and trophies handed out, we set about packing up and talking about how the day ran. All the DS friends and family were raving about how awesome the day was, it ran perfectly, very few hiccups and perfect weather. We could not have asked for a better event or a better reception with the attendees. We would like to thank everyone who attended, the drivers, the spectators and everyone who helped out on the day. A big thanks goes our to Chris aka Sirck Photography who was our photographer for the day, he killed it (as you can see by his shots throughout this feature). As well as a massive thanks to Just Car Insurance and Super Pro Suspension who without, this event would not have been possible. Plans are already in motion for our next one so keep your eyes peeled. For now I will leave you with some of the DS Crew and friends jumping on the skid pan at the end of the day to have some fun.

Our video guy and P Plater Mods bro, Jordan.


Ash forever killing it, snapping necks all day in the pits and then drawing crowds all day on the skid pan.


Sharpy all crossed up in the jet.


Jared giving his 6 a good smashing.


I have no idea who that is in the driver’s seat, but pretty sure it’s Nigs in the passenger. -M


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,