Event>> D1-gp 2009 Round 1 Ebisu – Action Pt.1

It seems every time D1 hits Ebisu circuit the weather has something in store for the drift crazy crowds that flock to this, the temple of drift.  For the 2009 season opener we were all pretty lucky as the day was mostly sunny but there was a constant reminder that winter is not quite over up in the Fukushima mountains, as snow fell down lightly at times and a bit heavier towards the the later part of the day as you can see from the opening picture above.  Bet Tsuchiya-san & company were freezing, as I sure was!  Saturday practice and qualify rounds had seen all of the top seeded drivers make it through and like I mentioned on my preview last night Orido was the man everyone was watching at Round 1.

There is no question the crowds love him as everyone gave him a great cheer during the driver introduction.  His outfit was pretty cool, as ever, especially the NATS sponsored red cowboy hat!  But unfortunately he seemed to be having a hard time getting to grips with his Aristo.  He had a small impact with the barriers on Saturday where he lost the rear spoiler but managed to make it through to the final qualifying round on Sunday.  But things weren't going too great yesterday either as the car looked like a handful to handle especially on the "drop down" onto the main straight where it seemed to bounce on its suspension rather than cleanly snap sideways on the aggressive clutch kick drivers do to initiate the drift.  

On his second attempt he overcooked the entry and managed to spin, which was quite surprising as I've never seen anyone spin there before.  

The Aristo spent the rest of the day in the dark pits and I just had to go and take a closer look.  I'm loving the front intake to feed the big HKS T04Z plus the new Varis aero is simply stunning!  Let's hope Orido will sort out the problems with the car for the next round in Autopolis.

Despite not making it through to the Best 16 the Drift Samurai was on full form with his now blue FC3S wearing a BN Sports wide body kit.  Here he is locking the rear wheels as he slides and positions himself for the tight apex following the aggressive entrance into the judged corer.  Tsuchiya-san was actually looking for a new approach and lines at Ebisu and told all the drivers he would be giving extra points if he saw some interesting techniques. This saw some stay really tight on the entrance to shoot out wide in order to clip the following corner with more angle, something that seemed to suit cars with lesser power a bit better.  

Here is a car I really like seeing in action.  Driven by Yamashita the Weld JZX100 can put out up to 900 PS when using nitrous thanks to a fully rebuilt 3.1L 2JZ and a Trust T8834D turbine.  But it is actually the time that has gone into the build that impresses me the most.  The engine now sits lower and a lot further back allowing for a much better weight balance and the extra space freed up in front of the motor has been used up to fit a V-mounted interncooler/radiator set-up.  Hats off to Johnny at Weld for building such a crazy drifter!  I really like the picture above as the white tire smoke is accompanied by a puff of black soot coming from the exhaust as the 2JZ bounces off the limiter.

Does pretty good on the smoke trails too and I really like the new graphics now the car is sponsored by the guys at HPI Racing.  Better luck next time qualifying for the Best 16

There was lots of excitement during the tsuiso battles with cars getting so close to each other it had everyone cheering them on.  I really can't remember cars getting this close when D1 got started years ago, especially at Ebisu.  Here you can see Saito doing his best to stay close and parallel to Kuroi, any closer and their front tires would touch!  Maybe something to shoot for in the future, drivers getting bonus points if they can touch their opponent's front tire and get a puff of smoke he he

But close is sometimes too close as Maeda's AE86 kisses Nomuken's ER34 as the little underpowered Toyota tries to hang on in there…

While Imamura escapes a close one when Koguchi looses control of his 180SX.

Ebisu owner and top Team Orange driver Kumakubo did a great job, considering this was the first time he used his new Evo X in anger at a D1 Round, but his luck run out when Tezuka got the better of him with the Bee-R R32 GT-R.  Chatting to Imai-san in the pits I discovered the BNR32 is running a fresh new engine for this year which is probably why it sounded so different out on track.  Probably one of the meanest sounds to come out of a drift car, explosive Bee-R limiter aside!  Tezuka went on to meet Ken Nomura in the Best 4 and lost by a very close call by the judges.

The 2009 Round 1 finalists were Imamura, who beat Suenaga in the newly painted RE-Amemiya FD3S, and Nomuken.  As they were announced Nomuken drove right in front to where I was shooting from and jumped on the wall to salute the crowds, at which point I snapped this shot.

As the final got under way so did the snowstorm which, interestingly enough, came down while the sun was still shining!  With Imamura leading, the two cars entered the main corner but the red Auto Produce Boss S15 locked up, lost the drift and slowed down.  From where I was standing it was hard to see if there was an impact but Nomuken did a good job of avoiding a big hit.  As the cars came around the second corner the S15's engine died…

…and came to a dead stop.  Imamura tried to crank the engine but it wouldn't catch.  The car was quickly towed back to the mechanics where they had 5 minutes to try to fix it.  Unfortunately it was just not going to happen.

Ken Nomura was announced the winner of the first 2009 Round.  He apologetically accepted the cup saying it was not out of merit.  Imamura was a great sport and even lifted the pocket-sized Blitz driver onto his shoulders!  All in all it was a pretty good opening Round with things set to get even more exciting as newer cars join the action, as well as a few new drivers.  More on this soon.

Next up a look at more action from Ebisu.

Dino Dalle Carbonare



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wow they drifted while it was snowing. lol now thats kool. i wish i could do that!!


good job Dino Dalle Carbonare..detailed write up..luv it so much..

your shots are so nice! I luv the Weld JZX100 in action most..the cool-est drift machine in D1GP 2009 IMO

nomuken in the b/w photo is nice also..


great photos.

i hope i get to see ken and orido in la


Lol @ Pocket sized Blitz driver.

Good read!


when the driftgame going on Is falling snow .


Great photos and story!!

I love the action pics of the close drifts. Maybe you can catch a puff of smoke next round! ;)

You are a great addition to Speedhunters!


Way to catch the action, great on and off-track photos!

Keep up the good work!


wow..drifting the snow! hope we can get some wallpapers *hint hint*


The snow wasn't sticking, it melted as soon as it touched the asphalt. Wallpapers coming, don't worry, hang in there!


love nomuken black and white photo !


Thanks for the great coverage. I'm still tipping Imamura for the championship this year!




Haha, ignore that comment. I just read the other post and know why now :P lol


Nice work on the coverage!


Well it is a nice start to the season for Nomuken. Think its about time for him to win the championship, even though it is just the 1st round lol. Great write up and photos Dino, a great addition to Speedhunters indeed. Looking forward for part 2....


I thought oridos aristo had the new ridox aero, not vertex?


kurisu....thanks for pointing that out. The Ridox kit is actually made by Varis, I get confused in my old age....Voltex, Varis, Vertex he he Better correct that!


Seems to me Orido probably barely got any seat time with his Aristo drift car. Perhaps it was an Arrive and Drive thing, lol.


Garage411.com, most definitely as we all know how damn good he is! I'm sure he will be in top form from the next round.


Man I miss the JDM option DVD's. You guys are doing an awesome job reporting these events. So Orido is not driving the weds Is350 anymore? He has too many cars! lol


how did naoki nakamura do?


@DaanNL. Naoki Nakamura is not in D1 buddy, Thats MSC he competes in...

Silly Newb trix are for kids


'He apologetically accepted the cup saying it was not out of merit. Imamura was a great sport and even lifted the pocket-sized Blitz driver onto his shoulders!'

What a great sport! And in D1!

Mr. Carbonare, a really good write up. Thanks for that and the awesome pictures.


Great write-up Dino, even better shots! Hats off to Nomura-ken for being such a good sport about the win; lol @ him lifting Nomuken up on his shoulders haha he's so tiny, this is what any sport should aspire to be like.



He does compete, with the koyorad S15. Hell, he was 2nd last year at ebisu


can we please get a wallpaper of the drift samurai's fc3s~?

i lust after FCs.

the new livery on that FC is pinup model quality~!


picture 6 for desktop please.. the mark ii just rolling hard!!


I've been paying more and more attention to Drift Samurai I first thought he was a gimmick, but he's improved greatly. Here's the best of luck to him, his FC and his team. After learning that Norton is sponsoring the BLITZ team it makes sense for the ER34 Skyline.

NOMUKEN and BLITZ/Dunlop/Norton for D1Grand Prix Champion in 2009...


Wow, amazing photography. Seems like all the pictures are wallpaper status.


Dino, I enjoyed the writeup and shots immensely - it's a shame I couldn't get tickets to the event. Nevermind...I only have to wait a year! Loved the Nomuken shot - you got his face framed between the meshing perfectly. Wouldn't have been the same otherwise. Also that JZX100 - and its engineering - looks amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing it in the metal as soon as possible.