This year is promising to be the most exciting season in D1 yet, as more foreign drivers make the trek over to Japan to participate in the series. This past weekend, while I was covering the Mooneyes Street Car Nationals in Odaiba, D1 hit Autopolis for Round 2 of the 2010 championship where Suenaga took first spot with his soon to be retired RX-7. He is in top position at the moment but will he be able stay there when he takes out his new RX-8 in Fuji in early June? This year will be one of change in D1 as more and more drivers move on to new cars, giving themselves a new challenge. And it’s precisely this that I thought would be cool to focus on, starting with the first new car we all saw at Odaiba last month, Hirota’s AS Mori Lexus GS350 .
Nothing is confirmed yet but it seems Nomuken’s Blitz R35 GT-R is getting closer and closer to its imminent D1 debut. Nomuken was out at Nikko testing recently, drifting the R35 for the first time. There is still a lot of work to be done to make sure the 1470 kg GT-R is competitive from the get go. Whether we see this car this year or in 2011 is anyone’s guess, but for now Nomuken will have to do with the old ER34 and its new funky livery.
No word on Saito’s Mustang, so you can expect him to be using his trusty JXZ100 for the rest of the year.
As we saw at Odaiba Team Droo-P has an all-new livery for both Hibino’s Up Garage sponsored AE86…
…as well as Matsukawa’s SC430.
Daisuke’s Hasegawa is now competing in D1-GP with his rebuilt S14 joining forces with the guys at T&E.
He will be one to watch this year as he fights to climb up the ranks.
Round 3 is scheduled to be the debut of Suenaga’s new RE-Amemiya Team M7, 13B-powered RX-8. The not so successful RX-7 above will be put into retirement for the time being.
Hirota didn’t have much luck with his new GS at Odaiba failing to qualify for the Best 16.
The GS is currently running a 2JZ swap but will soon be replaced by a highly modified version of the stock Lexus 3.5L direct injection V6.
Auto Service Mori are working on rebuilding the new engine and turbocharging it with a pair of GCG turbos.
Needless to say this is one car I will be keeping an eye on during the course of the year and I plan to bring you an in depth feature once the new engine is fitted.
I still can’t believe it but Kumakubo will be ditching his 1-year old RWD Evo X for an all new Nissan Laurel Koyama at Koyama Racing Labo (KRL) is currently working on. The monster machine will be powered by a 1000 HP RB26 and I’m sure sport tons of cool custom modifications only Koyama-san is capable of coming up with. I will be dropping by KRL this weekend to see if the car is there and to see how the work is progressing.
Suenaga will keep driving his Evo 9 for the rest of the season. He was very happy with the car at Odaiba and especially with the new twin-caliper set-up Koyama-san had fitted to the rear brakes. The hydraulic side brake actuates one caliper while the second caliper is used by the regular braking circuit.
Samuel Hubinette was back in Japan for Round 2 at Autopolis this past week-end, back behind the wheel of Ueno’s old Soarer, a car he will continue to use if he manages to return for more rounds.
The drift Samurai and his FC, a combination that will continue to entertain us throughout 2010.
It was cool to see Orido back out in a Supra…
…and I’m sure he will continue to get the most out of his favorite drift machine.
All these new cars will continue to compete against out usual favorites like the Bee-R crown and GT-R…
…not to mention Takayama’s R-Magic FD3S and Kunnyz’s JZX100.
But don’t worry, you won’t need to wait until June to get your Japanese drifting fix, as I’m off to Ebisu circuit this weekend to not only cover the second round of the much anticipated G1 Gaijin Grand Prix, but also the legendary Spring Drift Matsuri! Make sure you don’t miss the action!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare