For the last few years I have been running Torque Media Australia with the aim of capturing what the Australian Car Culture is all about. While we enjoy our cars just like many others from around the world do, we certainly have our own way of doing things.
Being that Australia is geographically so close to Asia along with the fact that we have become so americanised over the last few years, we have a strong JDM, Drift and Stance scene with regular events. But we have always had a strong presence of Japanese cars throughout our scene. From the 70s and 80s with Toyota and Mazda sedans running the drag strip and showing the big aussie V8s that the little cars can play too, through the 90s and 00s with the "sex spec phase" filled with chrome dinner plates for wheels and a minimum of 37 TV screens in your car and now with the influence of JDM, the scene has shifted. The fact that our strict vehicle regulations means many of these cars attract the unwanted attention from the police, the fans of these cars do what they do because its what they enjoy. It has been a gradual rise in popularity over the last few years with younger kids moving away from domestic cars like Holden and Ford along with licensing restrictions prohibiting them from driving V8, Turbo/Supercharger or Powerful cars, many have turned to smaller Japanese cars to fulfil their car needs.
The domestic car market has seen a substantial decline over the last few years, to the point where both Ford and Holden are ceasing all manufacturing in the country in favour of imported cars. But that hasn't stopped many Aussie car enthusiasts from dusting off the barn finds or getting their grandparents old 60s utes out of the shed and putting their own modern day twist on them. This is especially the case in the strange world of exotic fuel burning, tyre destroying action that happens all over the country and many different events. Im not sure how to categorise these events, or give them a name, but i guess Horsepower Parties would be a good place to start. Nearly every weekend somewhere in the country you will find one, whether its a burnout event (actual burnouts, not using a 3mx5m concrete slab with concrete walls and timber chocks for the front wheels...looking at you America) Gup's Powercruise events which give people the opportunity to really use their car in a controlled yet fun environment or the two longest running events, Motorvation on the west coast, of the biggest Horsepower Party of them all SUMMERNATS. To some its just a massive drunken weekend filled with bogans (Aussie equivalent of a redneck) and expensive beer, for others, its years of hard work getting their car ready for the event. They may only want to cruise around with friends and enjoy the atmosphere, they may be one of the top 20 burnout competitors throughout the year competing for the Burnout Masters Crown or they may have spent years building their perfect car to compete with the cream of the crop of Show Cars from around the country in the hope of being crowned Summernats Grand Champion.
What I really think a lot of you are hear to see is Burnouts. To a lot of people I speak to, it seems like a waste of time, money and effort. To those that compete, judge, spectate (or take photos), its an adrenaline rush that not many other forms of motorsport can provide. Drifting may be the closest thing to burnouts, but in a confined space, with thousands of people watching in anticipation of the tyres blowing, a potential fire or maybe a wall tap, there is less room for error and getting stuck in a cloud of smoke, becoming disorientated and loosing your place on the pad, its not as easy as it looks. You will often hear us make fun of American burnout comps. They stick some chocks in front of the wheels, foot on the brake, burry the throttle and wait for something to happen. We got over that a long time ago. Now we take a car, any car, it really doesn't matter, stick a motor in it, throw on some tyres and hit the pad. If you are serious about it, you might even throw a big blower on top with a giant injector hat slamming air and methanol into that engine. 800hp is good, 1500hp is better. Get the rear wheels turning, the instant smoke, constant smoke, driver control and use of the entire pad surface is what helps you score points and depending on the competition, you may have the potential to walk away with $100,000 in prize money. For some its a bit of fun, for others its a serious game that takes them all over Australia in the hopes of burnout glory.
In the end, it doesn't really matter what your into, the Australian Car Culture has something for you. Over the next few weeks and months, we will bring you all the action from Events, Meets, Shows and everything in between. So make sure you follow our tribe and keep up to date with all of our stuff on Social Media.