I hope you all enjoyed the random mobile updates on the Noriyaro Facebook page from Tokyo Auto Salon.
Something that a lot of people there in the drift world were talking about was the arrest and charging of D1GP competitor and D1SL 2010 Grand Champion Naoki Nakamura for street drifting.
This is the original press article from the Mainichi newspaper on the 12th of January that started it;
Traffic law violation: Suspected drift racers arrested, Minoo, Osaka.
After investigation of repeated dangerous driving the mountain region of Minoo, Prefectural Police Transportation Investigation Division have announced that professional racer and suspect Naoki Nakamura (28) of Nara Prefecture, Sakurai City is among sixteen men charged on suspicion of reckless driving.
Mr Nakamura was arrested in the early morning on the first of August last year at Aomatani road in Minoo City after using a modified car to slide at high speeds (drifting) in a dangerous manner.
Mr Nakamura is a domestic drift competition champion. “I wanted to practice” the suspect has admitted.
Following this, D1 Corp. published this press release the following day;
Media Release regarding Naoki Nakamura
According to a newspaper report dated January 11th, D1 Grand Prix participant Naoki Nakamura was arrested by the Osaka Prefectural Police Transportation Investigation Division on suspicion of reckless driving traffic violations in the early morning hours of August 1, 2010, after drifting on a road in the mountains of Osaka Prefecture.
We feel this regrettable incident is contrary to the sportsman’s code of conduct for a D1 licence holder. To all of the other earnest, striving competitors, to the fans who are cheering at our events and to everyone else involved, I apologise for this scandal from the bottom of my heart.
After hearing from the person himself of the severity of his arrest, an official staff meeting was held at which it was decided to suspend all his appearances at our events for an indefinite period.
The core focus of the D1 Grand Prix corporation is the sporting development of circuit-based drifting, allowing drivers to show the art and skill of their technique and car control in judged competition.
Drifting events are held in over 35 countries around the world, and D1 is a pioneer and world leader in drift competition. This means we must strive to practice a proper competition and follow policy in recognition of our position.
Following this incident, we will be striving to foster future awareness of this issue among our competitors.
January 13, 2011
D1 Corporation Co., Ltd.
President and Board Representative, Osamu Suzuki
Keep in mind that these are my amateur translations and shouldn’t be taken as the exact wording.
Having seen him drifting in his D1SL car on the street with my own eyes before, I can’t say it’s too surprising. D1 management has made it clear in the past that any sort of trouble with the law would result in heavy consequences, and they’ve followed through in this case. Similar charges in the past have usually resulted in a 500,000 yen fine and a two-year licence suspension, so it’s likely that’s what will happen here. There have been a couple of other D1 drivers charged with similar offences in the past, but they didn’t have the profile or attract the publicity that Naoki did.
What’s even worse is that as 2010 D1SL champion, he was set up to go into this year’s competition as the first seeded competitor.
I guess other drivers will be extra careful with their numberplate tape and surgical masks from now on.
Before my recent short trip back to Australia (it was actually the day before I got on the plane to leave), I attended a D1 Street Legal Central round at Honjo Circuit. Here’s a pic of the paddock shortly after I arrived.
In the practice sessions, I was smooth and fast, and managed to follow the line that judge Youichi Imamura had laid out for us, which was completely different to the line that everyone had always used in competitions and practiced for. Even though I knew I didn’t really have a chance to get into the top 16, at least it looked like I had a chance because the surface was wet, and every second car was spinning out. Even Mikami-san from 3-UP said that my runs looked really good.
Then, the worst thing possible happened: it dried up.
From then on, everything went out the window. All my fiddling with tyre pressures and learning the course timing counted for nothing, as the conditions basically turned back into completely dry.
So, I stuffed up my three qualifying runs, packed up and drove home. At least I’ll get another crack at it in August for MSC!
Last weekend was kind of busy, with a trackay on Sunday and the D1 Street Legal Regional MSF Shootout at Fuji Speedway on Saturday.
The MSF Shootout (sponsored by mobile content creators Mobile Software Foundation) brings together the best drivers from each of the D1SL Regional divisions, North, East, Central, South and West. All of these guys have already scored a D1SL licence for next year, but this was a one-off comp to see which ones were the most sidewaysiest of the lot. The winner also received ¥300,000 and a free trip to America to watch the next D1 USA event.