D1 Grand Prix Series: Round 1

D1 Grand Prix Series: Round 1

With the start of Formula D tearing up the streets of Long Beach, you knew it was only a matter of time before D1 started back up in Japan. I’ve been to plenty of drift events here in Japan but I never had the opportunity to watch how the professionals do it. It’s one thing to ride in or watch people drift regular or slightly modified cars around, but to watch these power hungry, purpose built drift machines go at it is a totally different experience altogether. Especially when that experiences is also paired with signing a safety weaver saying that drifting is very dangerous and the organizers aren’t responsible if something happens to me since I will be right up against the track. Now That sounds like a good time to me!
The first of three days were for qualifications and elimination rounds. The drivers would make their runs all day and would be judged on a few criteria such as entry speed, angle of attack and of course tire smoke.
The drivers would then fall into their respective brackets after qualification and elimination rounds for the remaining two day competition.
The entry list was full of hugely popular rwd cars such as the 180sx, S- Chassis, 86’s , and some JZX 100 and 110’s.
However, there were a few odd balls in the mix such as this Toyota Crown.
This massive sedan is something you would NEVER expect to be thrown around sideways, but because its Japan, it makes total sense that one would be chosen as the perfect drift platform.
Another car you don’t see that often was this E92 from Team Vertex and Verticle Design
Finally, the pinnacle of all cars you would never expect to see drifting was OTG Motor Sports Lexus LFA
There are a few things you should know about this LFA, but the most important thing is that it’s not rock’n the original V10 but a NASCAR V8 complements of Toyota Racing Department.
I think it would have been pretty amazing to hear that V10 screaming like a banshee all over the track, but it’s also hard to say shoving a V8 out of a NASCAR isn’t cool either.
The idea was so cool that Max Orido Toptul Racing Team also decided to shove V8 from a NACAR in their 86. Every time this thing blasted by, it would just bellow smoke from the punished tires and leave you temporarily deaf.
On the subject of NASCAR, Sunoco and Monster’s Mark II almost looked the part of a NASCAR race car.. almost. That car however, did know how to just destroy tires.
During the breaks in between groups, the drivers and their crew would make changes, replace broken parts and of course, replace the tires.
Drifting, as we all know, is one of the best way to just wreck tires. Now, take drifting and add over 700 HP vehicles to the recipe and you have the perfect tire killing combo. Thus, you can never have too many tires around.
Another Monster JZX 100 having some last minute changes done.
One of the Biggest Turbo’s I’ve ever seen (in person) on this Celica with a JZA80 motor
Toyo Tires and Used Auto Parts Tadokoro AE86
Of course it likes to go sideways as well
Another one of Toyo Tires and GReddy 35RX Spec D drift car.
As the breaks between the sessions were ending, the cars would begin to pull out of their pits and line up to start the next session.
They would then line up at the starting line and wait for the signal to take off and complete their runs
Being professional doesn’t mean everything always goes according to plan. Team Up Garage was one of the first victims to the track but only suffered cosmetic damage and pride.
Toptul Racing’s 86 wasn’t as fortunate and broke the driver side knuckles and damage part of the driver side axle. It had to be forked lifted away but was back on the track later that same day.
Overall, the day went on without anymore incidents. Just another fun full day of drifting in the land where it all started.

Love Live (ラブライブ) and Pacific Racing Itasha Drift Car
Another Pacific Racing Itasha Drift Car: S14
Goodyear’s JZX 100
Team Orange S15
LINEUP’s ER34 Skyline
Yukes Team Orange (チィームオレンジ)Alteza
Team Wisteria’s 180sx
Nichiei Racing and PC S15
Goodyear Racing and Origin Labo 180sx.
RS Watanabe Toyota Cresta

About Celestine Photography

Traveling automotive photographer that is currently living in Shinjuku, Japan (新宿、日本). I some times go by the name Rurounin Photographer where 'Rurouni' comes from the fact that I tend to be a wonder and never know where I'll end up, but that's the adventure in it.

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