PRESS RELEASE TRANSLATION: Naoki Nakamura arrested for street drifting

January 17, 2011 9:20 pm Published by

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.

Akira Chatani


Aomatani is the same road as seen in Laurence’s Osaka Touge Drift video.

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.


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This post was written by Alexi


  • Andy G says:

    oh wow, thats super shit 🙁 Who gets put in now? 2nd?

  • BlueSlug says:

    Too legit to quit indeed. I do seem to remember seeing photos of his exploits when you were covering Vaughn Gittin Jr’s trip to Japan. It’s unfortunate it turned out this way, but he must have known what he was doing, and similarly the severity of the consequences.

  • onevia says:

    Street drifting? Everyone’s guilty of it. Financially, Naoki isnt that well off and track rental arent that cheap, so its understandable that he is doing it for ‘practice’. Its just unfortunate that he got caught and the sad thing is; they are in a dire need of someone to set as an an example and Naoki seems to be the perfect candidate

  • some dude says:

    isn’t that somewhat hypocritical? didn’t d1 “semi” promote street drifting in a couple of their option videos? i distinctly remember nomuken/mana p/keichi judging a touge drift run…i could be very wrong though. BUT as long as his punishment is in line with others that have done similiar he can’t really complain too much. alexi, whats the average punishment from the authorities for something like this?

  • Alexi says:

    @some dude
    You’re probably thinking of the time they judged a “street drift” competition that was actually set at Ebisu Circuit’s touge course at night.

    Like I said, a 500,000 yen fine and a two-year licence suspension has been handed out in the past for similar offences.

  • Karl Karlson says:

    This maybe just an urban legend, but didn’t Keiichi Tsuchiya lose his drivers licence because of the +P (Pluspy) video when it was released? Due to him drifting on public roads (all be it on the touge) but he maintained his competition licence and continued to race professionally? Of course drifting wasn’t such a big deal then (not as an organised sport anyway) and he was still a respected driver then, even to this day!

  • Isidro says:

    I remember that when JR was in Japan he wanted Nakamura to drift with him at the track and Nakamura asked if they would pay for gas (or was it the entry fee to the track?). Anyway, I feel bad for Naoki because he isn’t at the same level as other D1 drivers financially although he is on the same level or higher in the skills department. I’m just hoping that he is allowed to compete in MSC and the Tsuchiya-Inada drift series.

    @some dude
    Do you mean this?

  • Warren says:

    This sucks, but the “I wanted to practice” is pure Nakamura’s ぼけ style! However its sad coz as others said, he’s not the one with the most money (he’s “only” a construction worker). He putted alot of work and passion to perfect his skills.

  • 4dori says:

    Na Alexi iv watched the same series as ‘some dude’ numuken and crew travel through differing prefectures judging differing teams and individuals skills. Naoki Nakamura is a true example of the grass roots, gutting he got caught and have no doubt he will continue on the street despite the set back

  • Karl says:

    Fk the police. And fk D1.

    We all wait for Tsuchiya-san for that “something”.

  • Chris Rogers says:

    WOW! This is definitely a set back for this guy to be caught with his pants down. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone- so much money and permanent suspension from D1? Did I read that right? WE HAVE ALL DONE THIS!!! Who has the money for drifting practice at the track every time? I don’t. I just wish the law could be a little more personable in this situation. In the US this is what happens when someone can’t afford a lawyer or doesn’t have friends in high places- in other words money trumps justice every time. As a fan I feel obligated to say that watching D1 doesn’t make me feel like drifting through Times Square in NY through a full cross walk! We are NOT idiots! this example is unwarranted.

    Mr. Nakamura: I hope that things get easier and everyone in the USA is pulling for you. Hold your head high and know that you are an honorable man that gives everything for this sport and I thank you for that.

    D1: Are you friggin’ nuts? permanent? Honestly tell me that you haven’t done the same! I expect this hypocrisy from the government, NOT from my favorite sport! consider this a boycott.

  • Wangan Team says:

    Nakamura Good luck, my whole team rooting for you. Years of training on the street and the cops involved now? ¬ ¬ ”

    Big hug from all Wangan Team!

  • Tantrum1 says:

    Ok I don’t like this an think its total BS, however I do understand the cops doing there job, BUT the thing that gets me the most about this, isfor anyone trying break into drifting (like myself) track days are few and far between, where do you develop his level of skill? Drifting was born and started on the streets, and now the Drifting organization (D1) is gonna chastise him??? Hypocrits!

  • RayJDM says:

    Yeaaa i heard about it some time ago, but still it kinda sucks. This guy is like ummmm Totally nuts!

    So lets make it into some geek-translation:
    D1GP hp= 100 points
    Leaving of Dai-chan and Kei-chan deals 40 damage!
    Yokohama tyres outoooo deals 20 damage!
    Banning of Naoki Nakamura deals self-30 damage!

    So, what will D1 do with the remaining 10 HP? I wonder if they can afford some kind of potion 🙂

  • Qwazar Dinero says:

    Wow listen the self righteous fools with all the money to do what they want WHEN THEY WANT. I recall most of those fools in videos drifting on streets anyway, This shit started in the mountains. Its sad how they always try to exploit people for personal gain, normally the lower man…….LISTEN D1 IS JUST TRYING TO SHIFT THE BAD LIGHT, DUE TO TSUCHIYA-SAN AND INADA LEAVING. So they need this publicity, F-um Nakamura, I wish you all the luck with po-po that shit sux. Come to AMERICA anyway go FORMULA D!!!!!

  • FT86 fan says:

    The world got him. Considering his publicity he should have started a blog, put up pics and vids and he would get mass attraction and money from advertisments. Now he has no money, no sponsors, no D1sl slot. back to the roots.
    yeah its funny that police got him just before the series :/ makes me wonder if there are any american competitors 😀

  • dxzoo says:


  • Fury-S12 says:

    thems the breaks of street drifting really im sure naoki knows that all to well, it does suck its affecting his “professional” drifting this much tho as he will no doubt lose face with sponsers of which its been mentioned he doesnt have many

    on that note tho we have all seen the videos from the likes of ignition “shudders”, of the dmax team hitting the touge so im sure dmax at least wont go hard on him

    good thing tsuchiiya and dai are making a new series then makes it an easy switch for naoki

  • firelizard says:

    I guess maybe now he’s learned that being caught illegally practicing is much more of a financial burden than paying track fees. It’s a tough break but I’m not particularly sympathetic because I’m sure he was aware that what he was doing was illegal, and there would be consequences when caught.

    All the same, I hope that they decide on a finite suspension for him, though with the rumours about how D1 is going, it may not matter so much.

  • Driftsheep says:

    We all know the rules. Drift and make it home safe and not get caught.

  • whatever says:

    It is so interesting. Few years ago all today’s champions and kings of drift were drifting in mountains. Touge was the name of the game. There were countless movies made around the subject. Today Touge is bad and strongly discourage.
    Seriously? I guess I am getting old and everything just get commercialized sooner or later.
    Suspension of driver, because he was caught in the mountains… Big deal.
    Strip Tsuchiya, Orido and others off all their titles because during the time they were winning, they were driving touge all the time. That’s where they learned their skills.