Gallery>> Jr In Japan @ Hot Version

To call JR's trip to Japan amazing would be an incredible understatement. In less than two days, he had gone from watching street drifting in a deserted industrial area of Osaka to meeting and drifting with some of the most famous racing drivers in the country for a Best Motoring Hot Version video shoot. The Hot Version DVD series regularly features foreign models lined up against locally tuned cars, so JR's Ford Racing-enhanced 500hp supercharged Mustang added a distinctly different look and sound to the day.

The night before going to the track, we were told that some of the Japanese staff were meeting for some yakiniku and kappa hai (shochu, water and sliced cucumber highballs) at a local izakaya, so JR headed along to join them.

Keiichi Tsuchiya and Manabu Orido were there, and to his left is Eiichirou Yamada, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Best Motoring.

Unfortunately, the weather looked like it was only going to get nastier when we arrived at YZ Circuit's East Course, also known as Mizunami Circuit.

The full details about what Hot Version were shooting that day have to be kept a little bit secret, so we can't give away all the details. Even though, this picture of Mickey pulling the spare tire from the trunk (it had been in there the whole time!) should give a hint that performance was a bit more important than usual.

This is the way to cater a video shoot. What looked like the contents of an entire Japanese convenience store had been laid out for everyone to eat. Shown here are a selection of onigiri stuffed riceballs and various pastries.

For an early snack, JR wanted some noodles, but couldn't decide from (or read) the dozens of packs in a box beside the catering table. I picked him out a bowl of Nissin "Chicken Ramen", which has been sold in Japan since the late '50s, and is the father of all modern cup ramens.

 If you don't recognise this helmet, you should at least recognise the face in the next photo.

I distinctly heard Keiichi Tsuchiya say at one time during the day that JR is the best drifter in the USA. Yeah, how do you like that?

Tsuchiya was busy all day with giving his monologues and opinions to the Hot Version cameras.

This Fairlady Z driven by Nobuteru Taniguchi was equipped with a new supercharger that HKS are developing. The new kit makes a lot more power than the supercharger that HKS currently makes for the Fairlady Z, and requires a stronger set of HKS pistons and conrods.

Orido's car was his own 2JZ-powered Lexus that he intends to campaign in the occasional D1 round this year.

JR didn't hold back in the practice sessions, and quickly got a feel for the course layout.

There were quite a few large standing puddles of water that looked quite spectacular when the cars drove through them at high speed.

Nobuteru "NOB" Taniguchi, Manabu "Max" Orido, Keiichi "Dorikin" Tsuchiya and Akira Iida.

JR fit right in.

While Tsuchiya was being interviewed by our camera crew, JR got his game face on.

Akira Iida was driving this RX-7 built by Magic, a small RWD racing specialist shop.

Doesn't look too bad, if I do say so.

Taniguchi might have been driving the HKS Fairlady Z on the track, but the car he rolled in to get there was pretty nice too. This Vertex Ridge-kitted 180SX used to be NOB's signature red, but after somebody rear-ended him in traffic, he decided to have it resprayed in black.

Tsuchiya was driving this S15…

…and occasionally having a little bit of trouble with it.

The supercharged VQ motor sounded as angry as a Le Mans racer. It would have been great to see and hear in drier conditions.

A wet track meant no smoke, but JR did a fist-out-the-window-rolling-burnout start anyway.

As you can see, the Mustang looked great out on the track.

For the final results, you're just going to have to watch the Hot Version video!

-Alexi Smith

JR's 2010 Mustang Japan tour coverage on Speedhunters



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I think it's awesome that JR was invited to work with Hot Version and the Mustang does look pretty but.. something about that wheel/tire combo makes my penis soft. just my $.02


An experience of a lifetime for JR. I am incredibly jealous.



JR you're a very lucky guy


I must say, even though the Mustang looks standard, it still looks so mean out on the track! Great coverage guys, do you know if this DVD will be released on the western front?


Goo the new guy! ;D Great pics and write-up Alexi.


That helmet group photo needs to be a desktop image!!!!


Awesome story, JR is really reppin it down for the states; and frickin NOB man, when does that guy stop driving. I swear he drives more factory backed racers in a given week/month than anyone I've heard of lol he can probably grip race a boat.


is it just me or is the red s15's front generating lift?


@Bendoe I think Alexi is even luckier than JR: he's the one who is doing the coverage and doing smalltalk with the stars! ;)


i really like how the mustang looks, tons better than the last generation.

awesome coverage!


The 6th pic from the end is amazing, try to sell it to ford lol


Awesome coverage.

I like those "behind the scene" stories....thanks Alexi.


Great behind the scenes as usual...

Which issue of Hot Version is this scheduled to be in?


The IS350 is awsome.


yeah, I'm with SNOWGUY up there.

The Japan helmets are always so cool. chromed out colors and all that. SO bossy.


Great photos Alexi ! That first one is perfect for a desktop too *nudge *nudge

JR is the best US Drifter - if Tsuchiya-sensei said it, IT'S THE WORD.

I can't wait to see this. It's probably gonna be on the international release right?




heh JR-san...


Alexi, how is it that you're both in the third photo and yet it is credited to you? :O


great article!


Looks like JR needs to take some styling ques in terms of his helmet, it just looks out of place next to theirs, haha. Awesome article!


I hope this DVD comes out here! We haven't gotten a good DVD for a while. JR is the best, now if he can stop getting eff'd at Formula D and get some wins that would kick ass!


That S15 looks hot!! Kei Office S15?


So is this Mustang actually bone stock (besides the ford racing sc engine and tires/rims)? Either way, it's a good way to promote a Mustang. I would like to see this car for a Tsukuba time attack lap tho


Holy crud, is that a Mustang!?I've never seen a Mustang before...



I actually got in a few laps with the Skyline during some down time, so yeah, it was fun. I took one of the English film crew with me as well, so we have another convert to drifting too.


Erm, it was on a tripod...yes.


This is exciting content.


That is so fucking badass.


The word "fail" is used way too often on the internets, yet it is the only word that comes to mind when looking at that Mustang...


I can't believe Orido just bolted on his Ridox widebody Supra real panel onto the Lexus. Still, looks pretty good tho.


i think (i really do) that JR should stick with this color of the mustang. prolly make a ghosted Falken livery. or like a pin stripe style falken livery. the stang looks pretty bad ass in this color. maybe time for a bit of change? :P

and well done to JR for being on this upcoming hot version video . im looking forwrd for this volume!!



massive respect to the z damn it looks so nice:D


@Alexi: I already saw the coverage of that drifting on Nori Yaro. ;)


good story nice coverage, nice to see u are finally doing what u have wanted to do for a long time.


The JR super splashy drifting needs a wallpaper seriously, its awesome! And nice article Alexi!


Nice to have a little insight on how the Japanese masters are doing it. Sweet pictures too ;)


hopefully the will put subtitles on that dvd!


Tripod?!?! Its like that lexi? No shirts for you!


Group helmet photo is background material!


You really captured some amazing pictures. Great post!


Awesome article! Can't wait for that video!!!



Very Cool,

Just Loved Jr's Drift Is really Cool,

Would love A Wallpapers Of it,

Nice Shots


You had dinner with Keiichi! lucky bastard :(


@Gay Andy

You guys never gave me any shirts! :-p


That red S15 is built by Auto Produce Boss. Its Mr. Fujioka's personal street car.


wallpaper on picture #6 from the bottom and of the helmets all together

you know what...any picture of the guys in the rain and driving would be good for wallpaper