Daynom Templeman is a man who is driven just about everything. Starting in off-roaders aged 11 he had a reasonable amount of success, winning races and championships here and Australia. Aged 18, he swapped mud for tarmac and entered Formula Ford for a few years, then F2000 circuit racing in Asia, followed by Australian Formula 3. Then, back on the mud and gravel in Group N rallying for a couple of years, before giving V8s a bash, then the Toyota Racing Series. A drift car is in the making, so we’ll see Daynom putting his off-road skills on the tarmac and attempting lurid slides around the nation’s tracks.
So, he’s got plenty of talent and experience to scare the bejesus out of unwary passengers. I joined Daynom at Pukekohe raceway during a controlled testing day for a ride in the Instant Kiwi Pulse Racer, operated by Takes2. Able to lap Pukekohe in 57 seconds with a passenger (which is V8 Supercar territory), this Bertram Schafer-built Dallara Formula 3 car is one of only two in the world. It’s been especially modified to take a passenger by inserting a section in the middle.
Powering the beast is a genuine Opel Spiess race engine — a two-litre, four-cylinder unit that will put out an unrestricted 350bhp (or around 200bhp with the 24mm restrictor) running on Elf WRC fuel, at an eye-watering $9 per litre. At only 575kg with the driver, this car is a whole lot of fun to drive. Despite the advanced aerodynamics and undertray, Daynom reckons it’s more stable than a Toyota Racing Series car, but it’s still “busy in the cockpit.”
Time for me to get busy in the passenger seat. The quickest car I’ve driven around Pukekohe is a Redline Sprint, capable of 65.5 seconds, so the Takes2 F3 car is at significantly quicker, and this time I’m not in control. Anyone who has got into a cramped single-seater cockpit will know that you need assistance in getting the belts done up, let alone tight. I let the lads at Takes2 sort that out before giving the car a helping push, Indy Racing-style, from the pits.
I’ve done plenty of laps around Pukekohe myself, so I know there are only two braking points: into the esses, and at the end of the straight, and it’s pretty much flat out the rest of the time. Accelerating out onto the right hand sweeper, the car is capable of getting to 100kph in less than four seconds. Left-right through the esses, and right again onto the back straight. Here Daynom opens up the Dallara, flat-shifting through the five gears to reach a maximum of just over 225kph. Just when you think he’s never going to brake, on go the anchors and you’re hanging in your harness while over 2G of deceleration caused by the four-pot front and two-pot rear Brembos attempts to dislodge your retinas. A tight right turn into the hairpin, a quick correction for oversteer, and we’re heading towards the double left-hander and the famed bumps that unsettle the car. The turn-in is vicious — when the tyres and track are warm, this car will pull almost 3G in the corners. Setting the car up for the long blind right hander over the hill, it feels as though it’s travelling on a magnetic rail as we enter the pit straight. On the rev limiter right at the end and into the right hand sweeper, that’s a lap of Pukekohe.
If you would like to experience a ride in a Formula 3 car, you’re in luck. Daynom’s family runs Takes2. You can purchase 4 laps around Pukekohe as a passenger in this sleek blue rocket.
It’s a great gift for anyone who thinks their road car is quick — it’ll redefine their expectations of braking and handling.
What we like
- What’s not to like?
What we don’t like
- Take the restrictor off and let’s have another go
Words and photos Darren Cottingham