Jeff Dunkel - Drag Racing to Drift & Beyond

Sideways ... Dunkel style.  Source: Supplied Sourcing stories for the HighRPM page is a great experience and none so more than meeting u...

Sideways ... Dunkel style.  Source: Supplied
Sourcing stories for the HighRPM page is a great experience and none so more than meeting up with, what I found out, is an iconic individual who has given so much to the pursuit of his dreams and professional aspirations and helping others achieve their goals. 

This individual's association with NT motorsport goes back many years and his involvement with the development of his own business has created an outstanding example of persistence and professionalism. 

Drift car building

First car was Nissan Skyline R32 – Car was bought purposely as a project for drifting and to introduce himself into imports. Jeff taught himself to drift and won powercruise.

Founding of TEDA
After the first powercruise in 2007 came to Darwin and the realm of drifting was introduced to “darwinites” – it became clear that a gap was missing for drifting in the NT.

After seeing Jeff dominate drifting at Powercruise in 2007, Shane Davidson was told that Jeff would be the person to approach to talk to about drifting. Shane Davidson approached Jeff Dunkel as he had already wanted to establish some form of drifting club. After much convincing from Shane, Jeff agreed and they became “partners in crime” and formed the Top End Drift Association (TEDA) in 2007. Jeff – president first Shane - vice.

Sponsors and crew
Jeff ran self-sponsored by his own business Balistic Customs.

Initially a customer of Balistic Customs, Matthew Lawson approached Jeff about wanting to drift. Soon after he got bitten by the bug and wanted to take drifting to the next level and a two car team was then formed, which is now known as the Panda Drift Team. After building two identical drift team cars, funding would then be needed to see out the racing season as a racing team.

Sponsorship was then sought for the team, and Hobby World, a subdivision of Super Toyworld Darwin, was then on-board to fund the running costs of the two Nissan 180sx with identical setups and signage. Making them the first northern territory drift team

Boost sales for Hobby World – any extra profit made will go to drifting.

Drift crew – includes
Crew Chief – Chad Oliver
Media – Tam Nguyen
‘Drift Mum’ – Tracey Van Loon                                                                             

Race Day Assistant – Steph Dunkel
 As the cars were not street legal and needed to be towed to the track, Scott Munro from Top End Towing came on board with the team and allowed them to utilise his tow trucks for getting the cars to and from the track.

The team was lucky enough to do a road trip to SA to compete at Mallala Raceway G1 Drift Event, where unfortunately mechanical issues ruled the team out in the early stages of the competition. Funds came from Matt asking Mike to lease a space in the shop for firecracker sales to be had at Toy World – money from that went to SA trip- drift at Mallala
 Team mate

Matthew Lawson –
Sadly in 2013, Matt Lawson passed away, but Panda Drift Team are now like family, and the team and family will always remain and will continue in future events under the Panda Drift Team banner.

Panda Drift Team is still a two car team with one of the cars undergoing an engine conversion and re-engineering process for future events.

Life member of TEDA –
Awarded life time membership as well as co-founder Shane Davidson in 2012
* Special thanks to Stephanie Dunkel for the information.





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HIGHRPM: Jeff Dunkel - Drag Racing to Drift & Beyond
Jeff Dunkel - Drag Racing to Drift & Beyond
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