This weekend, my local Super Autobacs is having an opening anniversary event. Daigo Saito, Yoshinori Koguchi and D1 commentator Manabu “Mana-P” Suzuki will be there, so I would have liked to go and take some pics since I could practically walk there, but I’ll be somewhere else this weekend!
To make up for it, here’s a pic of Daigo’s D1 car at Super Autobacs, surrounded by shiny things.
Before you click “play”, can someone tell me what the hell is that course on the lower left? Damn, they’re letting people drift through the safari park now?
Nope, someone in the editing department just screwed up. Ebisu does have eight “tracks”, but they left out Kurukuru Land, which is actually a small skidpan, and not really a track. If you move your mouse over the timeline until it says 2:45 and look up until you see that second little dark patch just below the gooseneck on Nishi Course, that’s it.
This might be a good time to point out that I’m available for freelance consultancy on these kinds of matters. Hourly rates start at ridiculous and end at obscene, but as long as you throw in gas money, I’m happy.
Anyway, I was still driving up to Ebisu the morning most of this was shot, so I don’t have much else to add.
The next video is a bit more interesting though.
You can see me a little bit in this one during the dinner scene, wearing that same stripey Element hoodie I seem to wear in every photo.
Damn, they really should have made this video longer and shown some of the food we were eating!
Suzuki-san (the lady in the kimono) is the third-generation boss of the Azumakan Onsen, a huge hot-spring hotel about fifteen minutes from Ebisu Circuit. She already knew about Kumakubo and drifting, so she was actually really keen to come out and go for a ride in JR’s car. In the kind of style you’d expect a big hotel manager to have, she turned up right on time, went for a ride and left, only to come back wearing a completely different outfit and some souvenirs to give to the crew!
When we arrived at the onsen, most of the American crew freaked out about the fact that we were all staying in group rooms instead of one person per room. Sleeping in a big room on futons is the traditional way to do things at an onsen, since it’s all part of getting to know the people you’re with and enjoying each other’s company rather than everyone disappearing into their respective rooms and watching CNN because that’s the only thing in English.
While they all ran back and forth freaking out, Tokyo Drive’s Kenta (JR’s translator) and I sat down and tried the complementary spicy ginger tea and pickled burdock root. Not exactly the usual “mint on the pillow”!
I’ve stayed at the Azumakan before, and was looking forward to going downstairs and sitting in the outdoor hot spring. I only managed to convince Gay Andy (Drift Alliance’s camera dude) to go downstairs and try it though, but he enjoyed it.
These videos really should be longer. So much more happened than what they’re showing!
A “missile” car has a couple of definitions in Japan, depending in which context you’re talking. Usually it refers to a drift car that has been left close to standard externally, while still being heavily modified under the skin. Imagine the sort of thing a D1 driver would take up to the mountains for a bit of practice on weekends.
In the case of these cars however, it means that cost of tyres petrol, and entry fee for a track day combined should cost about as much as the car itself.
At this particular event at Nikko Circuit, four drivers showed up in missiles, and three of them were current D1 drivers, which meant the driving was sphincter-tigheningly close. The first two drivers here are Shinji Minowa in an R32 GTS-t, and this year’s D1GP Champion Daigo Saito in what is just barely recognisable as a JZX90 Mark II, running a very large turbo and 19-inch wheels and tyres left over from some of his slightly better looking JZX projects.