The usual autumn trek up to Ebisu Circuit for the Drift Matsuri started rather early for me this week, as I left Tokyo late on Tuesday night in order to meet up with the Team Orange guys up in Fukushima-ken. With the now regular G1-GP event being held the day prior to everyone's favorite drift festival, you would think that three days of non-stop drift action would be enough…
…even for the most die-hard fans of the sport. But not quite. Kumamubo and the Team Orange staff have been working hard to organize the yearly World Drift Summit to coincide with the usual mayhem that is the Matsuri.
The WDSC brings together top drifters and promoters from countries around the world for a series of discussions that will help each country bring the art of drifting to a more mainstream level. It's all about the love of this entertainment-oriented type of motorsport and during yesterday's discussion between Team Orange and all of the participants some very interesting points and ideas were raised. This is all geared towards creating a stronger bond among each country and series, as well as making sure that drifting techniques keep maturing and growing.
A total of thirteen countries participated: Japan, Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Greece, Lithuania, South Africa, France, Poland, Bahrain and Cyprus. After the day's discussions and idea sharing came to a close it was off down to the Nishi course pits for a quick practice sessions in the Team Orange Drift School cars. 11 cars were prepared, the same ones that would be used for the first round of the WDSC Nations Cup the following day.
Drivers were split into two groups and allowed a short warm up session to familiarize themselves with the cars, which were all in pretty in very light state of tune.
With the diminishing light towards late afternoon everyone quickly selected a car to try out.
With this month focusing on Haulers & Sedans I immediately noticed this nice R33 4-door, which was quietly awaiting someone to jump in for a ride.
The quick close up of the cool cap the Russian guys were all sporting.
Paulo Cristuao from Portugal found himself attracted to the smooth RB25 of this R33 GTS-t.
The Team Orange guys quickly reminded participants to keep a very important eye on both safety and regulations to help everyone get the most out of the day. The most important aspect of this event was for everyone to have fun and observe how things are done in Japan so that they could bring what they learned back home.
Everyone quickly got the hang of the cars…
…before it got too dark to continue with the fun. With just a little tease of what was to follow the next day during the competition the excitement quickly spread.
Everyone was back at Nishi early this morning to get a more in depth explanation from Kumakubo and Sleepy of what was expected of them during the event. Hitting all the main clipping points, executing fast transitions and keeping to the main racing line would be rewarded by the judges who also included Manabu Suzuki of D1 fame.
Under the warm autumn rays it all kicked off in a big cloud of tire smoke…
…with a first practice session…
…followed by three qualifying solo runs.
The judges seemed to be pretty impressed by what they were seeing.
Here is Jaber in the blue Sileighty he chose getting a hang of the final corner of the Nishi infield section.
It's well after 12 am and I've got to back at Nishi nice and early in the morning to cover Round 3 of the G1-GP. More coverage from the WDSC Nations Cup will follow so make sure you check back soon and throughout the next few days to see what Casey and I will have for you from this non-stop week of drifting! There are 64 cars entering in the G1 tomorrow so the action is bound to be spectacular!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare