A bit over a month ago, I noticed that Team Orange member and Ebisu Circuit PR manager Naoto Suenaga had invited me on Facebook to an event called “HighSpeedDRIFTClub” to be held on the definitely very high-speed Higashi Course at Ebisu Circuit.
Since this was probably going to be the last chance to hit Ebisu Circuit in the Skyline missile before it was covered in snow, I headed up with a carload of tyres to enter. Another couple of good reasons to enter was because Higashi Course is usually only open to drifting three times a year during Drift Matsuris, and the entry to this event was only about half what it normally costs for a private track day at ¥6000.
The weather reports had predicted good weather, and Naoto had posted up pics the day before the event of a completely clear circuit. At about six in the morning though, snow started to fall on the mountains around Fukushima and dusted the entire area in white.
It wasn’t a great start for a “high speed” event. The parts of the track in shadow were still covered in a bit of snow until about ten in the morning, but it melted soon enough and just turned into a regular semi-wet surface.
Standing around in the cold isn’t a good idea, so either driving or working on warm cars seemed to be the better option.
Leaving the Skyline parked in nasty conditions for long periods means that things like rubber valvestems perish faster than usual. This was a bit annoying to discover.
Speaking of that, a spray bottle of soapy water is a surprisingly useful part of a drifter’s toolbox. You can use them to check tyre seals, lube tyres when mounting them, check intercooler pipes and hoses, wash your hands, wash your windscreen and apply big stickers without bubbles.
Never mind the busted valve though. I had enough spares, so I just swapped the wheels around and got the Skyline out there.
Here’s a lap of Higashi Course in the Skyline as seen from my helmet-cam. Watch in 720p! The fire on D1GP driver Shinji Sagisaka’s S13 was caused by the power steering high-pressure line popping off in case you were wondering.
Andy and Emily from Powervehicles were there in their JZX90 practice cars.
Andy brought down his big barbecue for everyone to cook up some lunch.
Hamburgers and hot dogs were very welcome in the freezing weather.
As we’ve seen before, I think Naoto really likes barbecue.
Most of the cars there were missiles, so this neat FC stood out a bit.
Naoto was battling massive oil blow-by and other engine weirdness after swapping in what turned out to be a dud engine.
It didn’t stop him from getting out there and driving faster than everyone else though.
Notice how his practice missile isn’t absolutely beaten to sh*t, but only has small dents and tyre marks all over it?
This, people, is what a missile should be. Not a smashed up wreck.
Fellow D1GP driver Kenji Takayama’s JZX90 is another example of this. Rub, not smash.
I’ve been to over a dozen Drift Matsuris at Ebisu Circuit and countless practice days, but this was easily the most fun I’ve ever had there. Move aside 1JZ Meeting, I think High Speed Drift Club is my new favourite event!