Two-time Valvoline D1NZ National Drifting Championship title winner Cole Armstrong has been confirmed as a late inclusion for the opening round of the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series next weekend at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
Armstrong will partner Shane Helms in his Audi TT VLN [pictured below] for what will be his first time racing on a circuit at a competitive level.
“Shane [Helms] just hit me up and asked if I’d be keen to do a bit of circuit racing and drive an enduro,” laughed Armstrong. “The drifting season’s finished, and I’ve quite enjoyed doing a bit of track driving. It’s something so different.”
The Tauranga-based drifter is one of two D1NZ champs using the upcoming endurance season to make their circuit racing debut, with Darren Kelly taking on both the north and south island championships in an Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3.
While he hasn’t raced competitively before, Armstrong has performed some recent track miles in a Mazda RX-7 and an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 as part of the motoring show he co-hosts with Mike Dawes; the Mike & Cole Show.
“There’s a lot more discipline in it I think, to have that self control and not be a silly bugger,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t think I’d ever get into it, because to be honest I thought it was a little bit boring just going around in a circle.
“But after finally giving it a go and seeing how late you brake and how hard you brake, it gobsmacked me. The grip and the downforce that these cars have … I was a little bit hooked when I had a go.”
Armstrong hopes to squeeze in a test day in the Audi TT in the build-up to the event, and remains realistic about his results expectations.
“I’m definitely a competitive person, but it’s something I’ve got to keep in my brain that winning isn’t everything. It’s more about being part of a team and listening to the pointers. It may even help my drifting.
“I want to be part of a team and hopefully show that I can adapt to circuit racing.”
The opening round of the North Island Endurance Series takes place on September 18–19 at Hampton Downs, before travelling to Pukekohe on October 23–24.