32 HOURS LATER: Ebisu Circuit Autumn Matsuri

November 26, 2008 12:30 am Published by

So why would someone throw away a job, nicely sorted drift car and apartment close to the city just to go to Japan and drift an almost standard R32 GTS-t around some rough track in the middle of the countryside? Can it be summed up by a single grainy photo?

No matter which online weather report I looked at, not one said anything more optimistic than snow and drizzle with temperatures close to freezing, which meant that the car’s turbo would be happy, and beer could just be left out in the open to chill. Sure enough, as we arrived at Ebisu Circuit on Saturday morning after a start so early and cold that the convenience store breakfast of microwaved burrito recooled in the time it took to turn the car’s key and crunch it into gear, snow that had fallen the previous night still covered the trees and grass, exposing strips of ski resort runs on nearby mountains.

The several hours between arriving and the lunchtime break that this photo was taken in is a black hole in my memory, but I’m sure any graffiti written in brake dust usually tells the truth.

Just doing lap after lap at Ebisu Minami is the final track destination for any drifter. The Valhalla. Forget the sponsorship deals, formal dinners, food and beverage tents, airjacks, bitching to judges, complaining about scrutineering, rule nitpicking and plastic credential pockets hanging from lanyards.

Every Matsuri, track manager Kumakubo slaughters an entire cow and sticks it on a spit. Once the meat is bloody and rare enough, his minions slice it into little pieces and hand it to you on a small foam plate. After drenching the pieces of still twitching flesh in a marinade sauce, you can then grill them to your satisfaction over another small charcoal fire and fill all the spaces between your teeth with fibres of delicious meat.

We took our beef back to the East Course, where a traditional Japanese charcoal grill had been set up in our pit area, stoked by the very same compressed air that filled our tyres.

An unexpected result from kicking the clutch a bit too enthusiastically on the North Course and ripping off the front bumper was discovering the car had the optional retractable front spoiler.

I know you want to see more of these guys. More will come.

Sunday began with rain, and ended with dry patches and a filthy car. A car that took everything thrown at it and then drove home afterwards.

It begins…

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This post was written by Alexi

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