Motorgames: Formula Drift Japan 2014

Welcome back to Tokyo Car Parade coverage of Motorgames.  This will be the final part of the feature, but even though Motorgames is done and dusted...

Formula Drift Japan is just getting started.  With more exhibition type events scheduled this year, there is also a plan to include Japan into season races from 2015!

This report, therefore will hold somewhat of an introductory format as we go through competition held at Motorgames and have a look at some cars along the way.

Perhaps I should start with approach and some of regulations to give everyone an idea about what is different from Japan's traditional D1GP.

Formula Drift has originated in the US with first competitions being held at oval tracks and massive skid pads with plenty of opportunities to demonstrate most incredible slides, power oversteers, and thick clouds of smoke. 

Cars are tuned with lots of low end torque so engine swaps are legal and very common.   Fredric Aasbø's team RS-R Toyota 86 for example is running a Toyota V8 NASCAR engine!

Frederic's charismatic nature accompanied by the pure madness under the hood of his 86 turned him into a celebrity in the drifting world.

Every time he is on the track, his drifts accompanied by sound of the massive V8 in that compact body make his performances most spectacular.

High grip tires are also proffered to keep those massive angled entries under control.  Steering angle and geometry also get significant modifications to suit that kind of driving.  After all, points are awarded for amounts of smoke, entry and exit speeds, as well as driving line.  Getting away from chasing driver in tandem battle also gets credit, so there can be no such thing as too much power.

Since Formula Drift Japan is an exhibition round, entry was possible for local teams as some of the regulations specific to Formula Drift such as roll-cage stiffness were relaxed.

This allowed for unique experience of witnessing some of more common names from D1 battle against worldwide sideways icons such as Mad Mike Widdett.

Mad Mike's weapon of choice for this event was JAPBUL -- FD3S built by Total Car Produce, which we seen at Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year.

Even with race tuned four-rotor NA engine this F1 sounding monster was about 100HP less than Mike's usual machine -- the famous MADBULL.

Mike experimented with down-force, even tried to mount rear wing upside-down to generate lift, but even with that he was struggling to get the back out as wide as he wanted.

Regardless of such challenges, seeing him going around the bends of Fuji Speedway was nothing short of spectacular.  Even though Mike was upset about lack of top-end power he still produced some remarkable slides.  Unfortunately his part in festivities was cut short due to gear-box problems.

As for something with a more local flavor, this JXZ100 was put together by Powervehicles at famous for its drifting heritage Ebisu Circuit. 

The sheer size of this GCG turbo indicates that these guys are very serious about their builds.  With its help the stroked to 3.4L2JZ is capable of producing North of 900HP!

Needless to say that it got very competitive once the tournament reached 1/16th... 

The cars were prepped, tires swapped,

and drivers were giving it everything it they got.

All machines were put through ultimate test with all 900+ horses maxed out!

Before we all knew it however, it was time for the final race of the weekend,

With Naoto Suenaga behind the wheel of the FD going head to head against his old D1 teammate Masashi Yokoi in his S15.

The battle was extremely close with both cars and drivers evenly matched but Suenaga managed to stay very close to Yokoi earning himself extra points.

Both drivers felt confident going into second round,

but it was Suenaga who managed to slide into corners with more aggressive angles and thus securing himself a victory in the first ever Formula Drift Japan round!

Needless to say that this was quite an exciting weekend for motor enthusiasts across Japan.  Seeing the car culture here embraced by a series of events with a bit of Western attitude should definitely bring out more good things in the future.  This concludes our coverage of Motorgames, but make sure to check back in in few days as we have more events and cars to cover!

As always, thank you for reading, following, and commenting!

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