D1GP Odaiba - Tokyo Drift Part 1: The Cars

It could be said that drifting is the motorsport that has been linked to Japanese car culture for quite some time.  Even though it has grown into multinational formula for success and revenue, the grass roots are still here and when the party comes to Tokyo, we absolutely have to go and check it out.

<<PART 2 - THE RACE IS NOW UP>>
Being able to see these 1000 horse power monsters slide by and driven beyond what may seem like the limits of laws of physics is undeniably staggering,

Watching the collection of awesome runs on YouTube never gets boring and while I can spend hours browsing through countless amateur, professional, successful or not quite so videos; seeing these machines up close and personal, sometimes even sliding right at me while emitting clouds of smoke, toxic smell of burnt fuel and rubber, deafening noise of exhaust back-fires and tires squeals, with occasional stone, or piece of rubber being thrown in my direction is nothing short of sensational. 

The cars that perform those stunts are also worth mentioning as the range is quite impressive including modified versions of the Japan-only Mark-X...

or the true monster of the tuning world: Nissan GTR R35, which was entered into the completion with sponsorship and tuning by Greddy's Japanese division, also known as "Trust"

Even thought engine swaps are popular in this sport, the upgraded VR38DETT in here stands for what JDM tuning scene is all about.

Of course some of you may remember seeing this car in this year's Tokyo Auto Salon, so of course I was delighted to finally see it being pushed to its limits by none other expert driver Masato Kawabata.

Taking a page of Formula Drift competition is this Toyota 86 with its hood lines significantly bulged instantly making you wonder what is hidden underneath.

What we have here is a perfect blend of JDM performance and USDM muscle! They somehow managed to fit in this massive NASCAR V8 into the compact engine bay of the 86. Perhaps the massive amounts of torque available instantly along with front heavy weight distribution make it a very capable drift car.   If anything the noise coming from this compact sports car is nothing short of mind gobbling.

For obvious reason's there were more than one hachiroku to check out, including the famous Team Up Garage Falken 86 driven by Tetsuya Hibino.  The lightweight compact is powered by EJ25 engine from WRX Sti, which has been upgraded to produce 600HP. 

Silvias are also a an obvious choice for D1 drivers, and such is the case with Naoto Suejnaga.  This S15 is no ordinary machine however, as the rev happy RB26 engine that took place of the SR has been tuned to over 1000HP.

It is remarkable how popular Toyota Chaser (or its Mark II variant) is among both amateur and professional drifters.  Combined by bad-ass looks, straight six engine, light weight, and excellent weight distribution, this car is becoming the hachiroku of the 90's.  Of course the Bee R JZX100 in the picture was in hands of Tsuyoshi Tezuka.

Daigo Saito's Lexus IS350C was not in running condition for the event, but it would not stop the internationally proclaimed driver from participating.

The backup car of choice was the brutally customized JZX100 with modified frame and body work to shift weight towards the middle.

By weight I mean the 1000HP single turbo converted 2JZ with unique suction system, as well as shifting cabin and driver seat towards the back.

It was not just the locals who have embraced the potential of the JZX platform. The Mark II driven by Russian Native Dmitrii Semeniuk closely resembled the one we saw participating in Formula D earlier this year.

I simply can't get enough of how well drift-cars tend to sit.  This pretty much terminates the discussion of form vs function. 

As for something different: what used to be a luxury old-man carrier has been transferred to an ultimate drift car.  The Lexus GS350 has shredded most of its weight and given the much needed body and frame reinforcement.

The boring NA-V6 has been replaced by 2JZ with a massive Garret turbine combining for impressive 750 horse power, which should be plenty to shred  those brand new Goodyear Eagle RS Sport tires into clouds of smoke!

Another Russian native Georgi Chivchyan is seen behind the wheel of this beautiful S15 wearing Volk Racing TE37 wheels as drivers started moving towards the track.

With such a great variety of cars this event was set to be quite a spectacle.

As the start time was approaching the drivers were finishing wrapping up their preparations and I made my way towards the track.

Gentlemen, start your engines! Readers, please check out part 2 where I take you through some track-side action! 

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