The Greatest Build You’ve Never Heard About
Dimmack. Driver. GT-Z

It’s never been harder to hold a secret than right now in our brave new world of constant connection and instant communication. But one Australian drifter has, somehow managing to keep an ambitious and exciting build under wraps for years. Well, until last week that is, when a render of his ‘GT-Z’ broke the internet.

Within the same amount of time it takes to make coffee, friends from all corners of the planet forwarded me the same link. And just as any polite e-citizen would do, I clicked through. Apparently, a local mad-man was fitting the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 heart of an R35 GT-R into a Datsun 240Z. Further to that, this was going to be a competitive drift car. Cool!


I was instantly intrigued in both in the project and also how I’d never come across a single scrap of information or even the vaguest rumor about a car that was supposedly going to compete at this year’s Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge, which was then just over a fortnight away.

After a small amount of e-stalking, I was in touch with Joel Dimmack. Sure, I knew the name, but we’d never spoken before now. When I asked him if his GT-Z debut announcement was the real deal, he simply invited me to check it out firsthand and give Speedhunters an exclusive look at the project.

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The next thing I knew I was dragging myself out of a warm bed at 4:30am and making my way across the sky from Sydney to Australia’s Gold Coast to check the progress of the build. “Oh yeah, it’s not quite finished yet,” he had warned. This is probably a good time to point out that when I visited, WTAC was less than seven short days away, and that Sydney Motorsport Park is at least a 14-hour drive from the beachside region in Queensland.

A Race Against Time

During the flight up I was a little concerned that sharing the build this close to its debut might be a waste of time, but those nerves were settled once I’d arrived at the Matt Stone Racing compound. It was crystal clear that this wouldn’t be an issue; a lot of hours were still required to get the car anywhere near a competition-ready state.

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A stripped Datsun 240Z shell sat under an awning, semi-masked off in preparation for some intimate time with a spray gun.

This tiny little Datsun looked to be the centre of the universe, the shell surrounded by a hive of activity. A team of three prepped the body while both Joel and his main fabricator worked in the engine bay. One would imagine that this was the most attention the 240Z shell had ever encountered at one time, including its initial assembly in 1971.

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Ambitious deadlines are always going to add stress to a very challenging task, but Joel remains positive that the car will make its WTAC debut. “Pressure makes diamonds, and I believe you need a deadline to finish any project,” he told me. His faith is well founded; the team behind the project comprise of some the most respected names in Australian motorsport. Pace Innovations, Mostech Race Engines and Matt Stone Racing are all seasoned veterans of top-tier racing; if anyone is used to working under extreme pressure, it’s these guys.

I only spent a day with the team, but that was enough time to get me excited for the final results, and to be cautiously optimistic that the project was under control and will make it to Sydney later this week.

Stop Dreaming. Start Building

In a car scene that currently seems transfixed on repetition and refinement, Dimmack’s GT-Z creation is a breath of fresh air. Its differences are set to be amplified into a hurricane as it blazes through corners in regular drift competition. While it may be a fresh creation, the project has been a dream of Joel’s for at least the past seven years.

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So why build it now? After limited success in both professional drifting and sim racing, a decision was made to fully commit to motorsport. To do so, Joel needed a new car to push his boundaries, and to challenge those of the sport, too. It was perfect opportunity to create his literal dream car – the GT-Z.

The main concern with the new project was how to make a 45-year-old chassis handle as well as a modern car in a competitive environment where no concessions are made. What seemed to be the project’s Achilles’ heel was quickly dismissed by the clever lads at Pace. After some out-of-the-box thinking and the fabrication of some very trick parts, the GT-Z has a new refreshed chassis which should translate into a very competitive base.


The chassis has been seam welded and stiffened up with one of the most amazing roll-cages I’ve seen. It’s a fabricator’s wet dream, and potentially should be labeled #NSFW. The interior also reveals an otherwise unannounced carbon fibre roof.

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Once completed, the exterior will gain some extra width thanks to a CarbonSignal ‘Moonbeam’ body kit.

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The rest of the car is shaping up to be nothing less than outstanding, but we haven’t even mentioned the real star of the show which lurks under the hood. Lurks is perhaps the wrong word; crammed is possibly more fitting.

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As you can see, a Nissan R35 GT-R has kindly donated its VR38DETT to the project. Again, the fabrication and free-thinking involved to make a behemoth of an engine fit into a car approximately one third the size of its donor is a credit to everyone involved.

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The GT-R engine’s standard turbochargers have been replaced with a pair of Garrett GTX3076R Gen2 units, supplied by GCG Turbos. When I asked what sort of power was expected, I was met with a coy smile and a shrug. I’d guess it’ll end up somewhere between 650 to 700hp at the wheels, but we’ll just have to wait for the official debut for solid figures.

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One hint that the team is preparing the GT-Z to handle copious amounts of horsepower and torque is the custom Albins ST6-i 6-speed sequential gearbox currently awaiting fitment. The ST6 was originally designed to cope with the tremendous loads and stresses of Australia’s V8 Supercars.

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Do you think we’ll see Joel Dimmack and his amazing Nissan GT-Z creation compete at WTAC’s Honeywell Garrett Drift Challenge? Place your guess in the comments section below. Luckily for us, we only need to wait a few short days to find out. I’m unsure if we’ll see the car ripping up the asphalt at Sydney Motorsport Park, but I am quietly confident. We’ll have to monitor his Instagram account, @Dimmack_Driven, until then for hints.

One thing I am sure about is that once finished, tested and harnessed, the GT-Z is sure to shake up the drifting scene and capture the imaginations of drift fans around the world as it destroys tyres.

Keep an eye on Speedhunters for the full feature coming very soon.

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham

Cutting Room Floor
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A true modern age Wangan Warrior


*eurobeat intensifes*

Wangan D- Midnight Arcade.


Wow. I defently appreciate the body work going into this car to start let alone the rest of the build..
Great job an credit to the owner...


This is bloody awesome! Do you know if it'll be at WTAC this Friday/Saturday?


The answers you seek are located in a far away mystical place known only to a select few... and also the article above.

Matthew Everingham

Ummmm, yes. Hopefully. TL;DR?


Cool ready, bringing old schoold with new school heart. Powerful nonetheless..

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Loving the B&W! And you also gotta love how popular VR38s are quickly getting...

Novac Darius-Fabian

Did the prices for this engine drop a lot ? Remember this being considered one of the most expensive swaps some time ago.


I still havent watch any of the audi drift s1 video, forgotten about it and hes already completing this.


Not the same guy :) The S1 is Darren 'D-Mac' McNamara and this is Joel Dimmack. But I agree it's super similar(D-Mac and Dimmack).

Katlego Emmanuel Nkosi

Devil Z anyone ?



Devil Z is powered by a 3.1L (3134cc) 89x84 bore x stroke L28. Gas is fed via three 50mm Solex Mikuni Side Draft Carburetors. Air is force fed via two IHI-RHC6 turbos through its HKS Surge Tank V1.

Also, it has killed 5 drivers prior to Asakura Akio


*inserts forceful assertion of wikipedia copied information*

I think the comment was intended to infer that this could easily hold the name Devil Z, befitting by it's absurdly aggressive look and performance potential


Wikipedia copied?

You manga/anime retrieved information. Exact specs weren't even disclosed in the anime, you have to dig deeper into the manga.

Kitami's S30 was named "Devil Z" not because it was fast. Heck, if that's the case, any fast S30 would pass as "Devil Z". It was named "Devil Z" by outlookers and fellow Wangan racers since it always caused or got involved into accidents in which it gets its driver killed. Even so, "Devil Z" returns to the Wangan again and again despite getting fully wrecked. The engine, despite the car being totally shot, also remains unharmed.

Hate how every S30 is referred to as "Devil Z" now. You see a blue S30? "ohh, Devil Z!!", heck even if it's not of the same specs. Same sentiment goes with every 67 Mustang Fastback being called Eleanor or Bullitt. Same goes with every 930/964 getting referred to as Blackbird.

Heck, the real life Devil Z isn't even an S30 - it's an S130; red. Also, was never referred to as Devil Z even way back in the 80s/90s, during the peak of the Mid Night Club in which Wangan Midnight is heavily based on.

Until the car or any object for that matter, actually bears exact specifications, it seems very inappropriate to give it the moniker being referred to.


How well does one expect to run in WTAC without any insane aero?


He isn’t competing in WTAC. He is competing AT the event in a drift competition.


Perhaps you are thinking premier class and out right wins? There are a few classes to enter.

Matthew Everingham

This is a going to a drift-pig believe it or not!


Definetly a build worth seeing! Like in fantasy movies, when a mysterious new guy appears who turns out to be more expirienced than anyone else. :-D

Btw, a question to SpeedHunters. How come no one covered the event that was on 29th and 30th of September on Hungaroring?


Now this is no doubt some serious eye candy. Just looking at the pics, one can already hear this beast sprint into life, and the want feel is through the roof..

Just wondering how would this compare to a modern GTR with same power, and stock AWD? ....obviosuly this build is not cheap, but how can this be an improvement on the track over a GTR.. I don't know, perhaps it's not aiming to beat a GTR on the track


It'll be a driftcar


clearly I haven't read the text. My bad. I apologise


why black and white filter?

Matthew Everingham

Why not?


An average driver in an exceptional car, is still an average driver.


Combination of new and old wicked.


This thing looks crazy with loads of real nice bits , I really cant wait to see it finished and with 5 people working on it they will make it there easy .


This excites me greatly!!!


This is like top 5 swaps in the world. This guy is a genious for doing this, can't wait to see it finished!


That roll cage and welding brings a tear to my eye.

Matthew Everingham

Sorry J, I should have added a #NSFW label for the fab work.


Awesome car, I was hoping this article would be about the acual build though, with a title like that, except all the detail we get is ‘After some out-of-the-box thinking and the fabrication of some very trick parts...’
Dying to know what was done to make such an old chassis competetive against pro drift cars, where a boosted R35 engine isn’t enough anymore.


Looks like R32 front and rear subframe fabbed in, with custom uprights for front and rear suspension. The top hats are custom made to adapt the coilovers, and extend the front track.
Appears to have all the adjustable drift bits available for Nissan subframes, to give decent angle. Chop the front rad support, custom mounts made for the IC, rear mounted radiator, and the full cage round of the fab work. Everything else as covered pretty well by the article. Probably has a custom diff for drifting, and doesn’t appear to have the brake setup finished yet.


Sorry, missed the dual caliper rear setup, using R32/300ZX rear calipers. I also thought the rad was rear mounted but that was a different drift z I have been drooling over.


Amazing. Thanks. I’m just not familiar enough with old Nissan parts, let alone modified old parts. Thanks

Matthew Everingham

You'll just have to hang around for the full story once the car debuts as a finished project. :)

Dieter Verscheure

Thats an insane project.. I'm surprised the engine fits. Shame this build is not shown step by step on a youtube channel


Killing it Matt!

Matthew Everingham

Thank you, Benny!


I sure hope so.


Absolutely mental! Cannot wait to see it finished.


Jeebus you have to be pretty brave, rich or silly to put that much effort into the bodywork of a drift car! This looks way more like a show car build to me


Having to expose for the shadows, choosing to blow the highlights, go black and white and use them as a structural element of the photos, I'm almost applauding at how brilliantly that works.

I know very little about cars other than what I like the look of, but the photography on SH is what keeps me coming back again and again, this is one of many high points!

Matthew Everingham

Thank you for the kind words. :) I won't lie, it was a tough shoot, very little time and no say in location. I think the strength of the car carries the images.


LOVE the black and white! May I ask what filter you are using?

Matthew Everingham

@RJC786 is correct. No filter. I simply removed all color when processing the images manually.


This groundbreaking new filter called White & Black


Great pics, very cool car, but I think it's a bit of a shame that it'll be a drift car. Don't get me wrong, I love drift and all that, but I kinda can't but not think about the wall taps and paint swaps on track. And it would also be a hell of a track car with the power/weight ratio and the aero shape of the Z. But hey, to each their own. I can just appreciate the looks and the work that went in to it.


thanx M.E for the awesome B&W pictures


This and the Gumball GT458 are awesome... wish more drift cars would be this level of cool...


I'm curious what made you decide for a full black and white photoshoot? I like it a lot and I love the car. I can't wait to see it in action.

Spencer Faulkner

....that's why I haven't seen you on the AQUAMAN film set lately Joel...
Will check it out soon.


Check out my instagram datsun280zhotrod
I like mine better. Nice cage on this though.


Good on you, but the VQ38dett 240z is in another realm to your 280z.


Holy shit. Someone actually went and did it.


Faulty engineering on the cage. You only need one diagonal in each plane. The extra diagonal that makes it an "X" is just extra weight for only a small amount of extra rigidity. In addition the gussets that cover 2 corners and not 4 which leaves a weak point in the center with just a one tube cross section. And why do builders insist on the huge gussets at the A pillar? When all you have to do is put the tubing closer to the pillar? Once again adding weight for little to no benefit.

And please please take the fake plastic covers off the engine. The factory put that there for people that don't know what an engine even looks like. You know, the gumby owners that rarely even open the hood.