Retrospective>> Ueo In D1-gp

With the D1 Grand Prix all done for a good five months I thought it would be cool to take a look back over the last few years and more to the point at some of the top drifters that have participated in the Japanese drift championship. I've picked two names that are synonymous with D1, drivers that for some reason or another are no longer competing at a professional level in Japan. First up is Katsuhiro Ueo, in my opinion the best AE86 drifter out there…

…driver of the unmistakable Racing Garage Sift AE86 that through the various seasons in D1 picked up different sponsors/liveries like Cusco and Team Yukes.

Ueo stuck with the AE86 for 5 years, exhibiting one of the most extreme driving styles, known in particular for his barely believable full throttle flicks that would allow him to throw the car into corners at silly angles and speeds. The "power war" that is to this day going on in D1 forced Ueo to abandon the AE86, a decision that was also taken as D1 organizers were beginning to abandon smaller and more technical circuits like Nikko and Tsukuba in favor of faster tracks like Suzuka and Fuji.

For the 2007 season Ueo joined Team M.o.v.e. behind the wheel of the S15 Silvia you see here. Kazama had won the D1 championship with it in 2005, and M.o.v.e. had it painted (exterior only), in a shade of light blue. You can see how the interior however was left untouched, sporting that unmistakable "Kazama-green." This is actually the same car that Imamura has used for the past two seasons, now red of course. It must be a lucky chassis having won two D1 championships! But unfortunately Ueo didn't have much luck with it during the course of 2007, struggling most of the year with the car and finishing in 20th position over all.

I will never forget Ueo's AE86. It was the first D1 car I got to ride in, back in 2004 up in Sugo circuit. I jokingly asked Ueo to go full out "zenki kudasai", but never expected him to actually do so, especially after hearing most of the photographers complaining that drivers weren't driving hard enough for the press ride-alongs. Ueo clutch-kicked the AE86 at full speed, entering the first corner at Sugo at such an insane angle my jaw dropped in amazement. He proceeded to drift the whole way around the track giving me one of the most incredible and memorable rides of my life.

Here is Ueo showing how it's done around the in-field corner at Tsukuba in 2005….

…and at night at the Odaiba round.

The faster layout of Fuji Speedway was never really a problem for Ueo, his aggressive entrances always keeping the crowds pleased. It was the exit however that caught his NA AE86 out, struggling to accelerate at the same speed as some of the overpowered force-induced machinery, not to mention the lack of dramatic smoke trails.

Nonetheless he managed to grab second position at Fuji in 2005, proving that driver talent was more important than power!

He ended up finishing second at Fuji again the following year!

2007 was not a good year for Ueo. His driving style didn't match the S15's stiffer and more powerful set-up…

…as he struggled for the best part of the season.

Here he is on a fast pass at Suzuka getting that much needed smoke!

Last time I saw Ueo was in Okayama this past summer at Round 3 & 4 of D1, where he tried his best behind the wheel of his Drift Speed S15, which looks very similar to the one he uses in Formula D. I'm hoping to see Ueo more in D1 and will never forget his crazy driving style and how he used to manhandle that little hachiroku of his! Maybe we will see him return behind the wheel of the new Toyota FT86 hehe…

Stay tuned for another retrospective into D1 as I take a look at Taniguchi and his HKS cars!

:Dino Dalle Carbonare



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should have put the legendary video in the post =)


You really should mention Ueo''s ventures in MSC in his personal S15.


Ueo really was the craziest and the most balls out Hachi Roku driver in the history of D1GP period! No one was able to throw around an 86 with such fury, force, and speed!



I love the Engrish on those checks, really makes me wanna check it out more.


Akai-Oni, I would of but I never actually got to see him drive nor shoot him. No doubt he is one of the greatest!


Ueo was awesome in his AE86 and still a great driver even though not as successful recently.

Also I rate Youichi Imamura's ICBM Trueno especailly in the Ika-Ten competition prior to D1.

There was a great vid from Drift Tengoku featuring both cars and their takes on each others setups.


The best drifter ever... ever.


Ueo's one of my favourite if not THE favourite drifters ever! Close behind with Nomuken.

Will he be able to master the S15 as well as he did the AE86? I wonder.... It would be awesome! With no more power issues I think he would rule D1GP! Although lets not forget there are forces to be reckoned with in D1! Suck as Kawabata!

Here's a more detailed look and that "ass-first" entry of his:


nice write up!!!!!!!! ueo is the man


Hi Dino I am a technician at DRIFTSPEED here in California I will make sure Ueo-San gets to see this feature. I am sure he will be happy. Thanks for the great feature


No doubt Ueo-san is the best period.I remember showing videos to my import/hater freinds and leaving them shocked at the fact he was SMASHING on other drivers with double or triple the power.truly amazing.

Yo JERROD,do you know if UEO-SAN still has the Corolla and if so,would he use it to compete in FD?


Yo DINO would you do one of these post on KAZAMA?I think he is also one of the best but he doesn't compete either.weird?


Yo DINO would you do one of these post on KAZAMA?I think he is also one of the best but he doesn't compete either.weird?


thankls dino


By far my favorite drifter in D1/Formula D. SOOOO MUCH STYLE!


Ueo is definitely one of the all-time greats. Check this video of him back in the day (i think its from Ikaten days, pre D1), gorgeous technique:


that was a pretty shitty retrospective of ueo theres alot more


Toyota should call Dorikin, Ueo and other Japs 86 enthusiast for the feedback on developing the FT86...

btw, mind asking. on the last pic, what kind of car that parked in the middle of the S15s??...


The first and only NA 4AG powered AE86 D1 champion. If D1 returned to tighter technical tracks (Bihoku or Ebisu before the change), Ueo would be an AE86 D1 champion again. Koguchi returned to the 180SX, so hopefully Ueo will be back in an AE86. Good luck next season!


Car in the middle is a nissan Crew...


Thats Ueo's new weapon a Nissan Crew.

Take a look at this

Looks like he got you post Dino.


Nissan Crew?...

looks like another cabby in drift scene...

maybe its a parody to T.Fujio's Toyota Crown Comfort drift machine...hahahahaha!


I'm not a big fan of drifting, so I don't know as much as most of you on the history, drivers, etc, but I can say that AE-86 looks right and I think represents, to me, what is best about the sport! Thanks, Dino and Speedhunters for teaching me more of the history and drivers of drifting. One thing, what is it with the Japanese and vinyl outfits for the umbrella girls, lol? The same goes for the Tokyo Motor Show and Auto Salon.


Oh, and thanks Drift Mulisha, Meanace, and mobilespeed for identifying the Crew. The front was reminding me of an old Galant, but the back looked more like a Lada, lol!


The retrospective is a little incomplete, but no doubt Ueo is definitely one of THE best hachi roku drifter in the world. I mean he is the only D1 champion in an underpowered AE86. Kinda wondered why didn't he stick with the AE86 and just engine swap or force induction the 4AGE engine? Would have been a better choice than to switch to the S15.


He is the one who make me fall in love with AE86's...with D1GP...He is one on the best so MAAADD respect for the craziest Hachi drifter! Hope the next post will be on Tezuka hehe


Ueo-sama is and will always be the maddest AE86 driver


i agree with beto! there should be a retrospective article on Kazama Yasuyuki as well! and when is Taniguchi's retrospective article coming? i've been anxiously looking forward to reading that article.