Fans who attended the D1GP Tokyo Drift exhibition match over the weekend were treated to much much more than just your standard D1 drift competition. Given the event's high profile locale and the desire to make sure ticket buyers got their money's worth, event organizers saw to adding several demo runs and performances that were held over the course of the weekend.
Here are some photos and a quick summary of the "bonus" acts from D1GP Tokyo Drift.
First up, we have the Team Orange Show. All four Team Orange members took to the course for about ten minutes performing all sorts of daredevil maneuvers that drove the fans absolutely wild. The demos included two-car tandem runs, and the even more impressive four-car tandem runs. The most impressive, however, were the "chicken" runs where Kumakubo and Tanaka would approach from one side of the course and Suenaga and Hiraoka would approach from the other, passing each other head on around the main corner. I remember seeing videos of Tanaka and Kumakubo doing this in the past, but with four cars it was amazing!
Following the Team Orange Show, there was another demo run of a totally different type. Rex tomo no kai is a group of drivers from Tochigi Prefecture who are masters of kei car drifting. Kei car drifting? It sounds strange, but it actually looks really cool. Sure the little FWD keis don't have quite the gracefulness of traditional drift cars, but it still requires an immense amount of talent to pull off what these guys were doing. The fact that there was five of them doing it at the same time made it even better.
Given the relatively low value of these cars and the craziness of the drivers, there was quite a bit of "paint trading" between the five little cars. I have a feeling a lot of it was not by accident either…
Thi Tokyo Drift event received a lot more "mainstream" media attention than typical D1 events receive. TV Tokyo even provided some super expensive HD cameras that allowed the judges to make their decisions after looking at ultra high quality slo mo replays on the jumbotron. The event also had its share of "star power".
The two funny looking twins on the right are a comedic duo that is really popular in Japan right now. I see them on TV almost everyday. I was starstruck to the max! The guy wearing the suit is Ryuchi Kawamura, actor and the lead singer of the famous Japanese rock band, Luna Sea. He is actually a really big fan of drifting and has appeared at D1 in the past. You probably already know who the old guy on the left is. The girl staring at my camera is Yuri, the singer from the band Move.
Speaking of Move, the event featured Move performing a few of their songs live in the middle of the course. Move is pretty well known even outside of Japan for their work on the Initial D anime, they have done the opening theme for every stage of Initial D since the beginning. The really cool thing was that Move's live show featured not just the band performing, but drifting as well. At the same time!
The show started with the three members of the band being "delivered" to the stage in three cars very similar to the ones in Initial D.
Nobushige Kumakubo was behind the wheel of the AE86, Masao Suenaga was in the yellow FD, and our own Naoto Suenaga was in the white FC. Rotary brothers just like in the cartoon! Check out the grin on Kuma's face in this pic. I'm not sure if he's grinning because of the show or just because he's behind the wheel of the awesome Tec-Arts 86.
While the band performed a few of their hits on stage…
…the fellas slid past them in three-car formation and spun synchronized donuts in front of the stage.
Man that 86 is cool isn't it? Let me know if you guys want me to post more photos of it.
So yeah, as you can see there was a lot of cool stuff to be seen in Odaiba besides D1 drifting. Next post I will cover Sunday's D1 exhibition match.