Let's continue on with my Speedhunting adventure to Japan with Part 2! In case you missed Part 1 you can check it out here.
After a good night's rest in Shinjuku we were met with yet another gorgeous spring day. Dino Dalle Carbonare mentioned it might be worth trekking out to Fuji Raceway…
…So without hesitation we immediately jumped in the little hire cars and set the GPS to Fuji Raceway. The roads from Tokyo to Fuji Raceway were just breathtaking.
It took a little over an hour of cutting through mountains and crossing huge bridges before we arrived at the west gate of the raceway. Unfortunately this entrance was closed, at this point in time we thought this was as far as we'd get. Driving back around and recalculating the GPS we found the east gate to be open.
As we slowly drove through the pit area we were greeted by an endless amount of 4WD machines, such as WRXs, GTRs and EVOs. To see the track was one thing, but to see cars race each other was something else altogether. I was honestly finding it hard to believe that I was standing here looking down the main straight of Fuji Raceway. This was one track I've always wanted to visit. We found this little seating area which gave us a spectacular view down one of the longest straights in the world.
…And down towards the first corner: a tight right turn. Our trip to Japan was to try and witness as much drifting as possible. Whilst we where watching the cars smash around Fuji I suddenly heard a little n/a machine up the top of the track rev out first gear into second, spinning the wheels. We all looked at each other and screamed our lungs out…
…A two minute drive to Fuji Driftland and this is what was set before us. Our days kept getting better and better, we were not sure what we did to deserve such good luck!
Taking it all in until the warmth of the sun dropped beneath the mountains that hang over Fuji Raceway. People began to pack their belongings and leave before it got dark.
So I did the same and managed to beat the majority of the cars out, just so that I could shoot them rolling down the road.
On the way home from Fuji I once again got in contact with Dino and he gave us precise directions on how to get to the famous Daikoku Futo PA…
We suddenly found ourselves on some sort of highway doing constant circular loops, It felt like a roller coaster to be honest! But yes, this meant we were arriving at Daikoku PA. Never have I ever seen any car meet, cruise or event such as this. The quality and variation of cars is just unbelievable, if you're visiting Japan, this is a MUST!
This R34 GT-R is a great example of what you can expect to see under the Daikoku Futo PA lights.
Loved this Miata.
This was probably one of my favourite cars of the night, a cute little Miata slammed on a set of SSR Mark IIIs.
Not forgetting to mention the Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
After trying to communicate with a few of the Japanese at Daikoku PA, we eventually drove out in the hunt for street drifting. If you're going to go to Japan you have to at least try and see some right? We eventually figured out the twisted loops of Daikoku Futo and made it to the backend of the car park, this is where we were told some action takes place. With police on every intersection, things weren't looking too good.
We continued on the main road heading back towards Yokohama Bay, where this S14.5 rolled up next to us. The owner's name was Yuki and he was super friendly, even inviting us to follow him to see more action…
…Five minutes later we were met with 10-20 cars on the docks of Yokohama Bay.
This was the main corner where some evidence of drifting remains engrained into the road. Here's a little clip that I took of Yuki and his mate in a 180SX tearing it up! Click to watch.
On our way out, this Toyota AE86 rolled in. We introduced ourselves to the driver, who went by the name of 'Yo' and used to be a D1GP driver many years ago. Just as we were leaving, Yuki kindly invited us to a touge meet the following night. He even gave us the GPS co-ordinates and the time to be there.
It was so surreal seeing a car such as this on the streets. I've never seen such a well presented 4-AGE.
After arriving back to Shinjuku at around 4:00AM we all had agreed on a long sleep in. Waking up mid afternoon we thought it would be ideal to scope out the city a little more. Once again, luck seemed to be on our side as we crossed paths with Wonder's workshop.
Manabu Mitsumori was very inviting of us foreigners and could speak a great deal of English.
Having a look at the cars parked out the front of the workshop were some really cool vehicles…
…My favourite being this old school AE86.
We hung around the workshop for a solid 2 – 3 hours speaking with Manabu and some of his clients. He mentioned to us there was a JZX drift day being held at Nikko the following Monday which myself and Nigel were sure going to check out. We gathered our belongings and souvenirs and said goodbye to Wonder.
Arriving to Ebina car park just on time we managed to see a couple of vans before they left. Be careful when walking around these, I almost tripped over the body kit a few times.
This Cima was a personal favourite…
…With its unique white dish.
Just as it couldn't get any more extreme, more vans rolled in.
Waiting around for Yuki's crew I grabbed a couple of coffees and wandered around the car park. Check out the endless amounts of demon camber.
Go time! Jumping back onto the main highway we followed Yuki to a local mountain which was about 45 minutes from the car park. On the way a Police car pulled out of the station and followed us for a few kilometres before flashing their lights signalling for Yuki to pull over. To be honest, my heart sunk, I thought the night had been terminated and quite possibly Yuki's license. We waited patiently 200m up the road at the local Shell service station. 25 minutes later Yuki drove up and happily said "let's go!" The police thoroughly checked over the car, nothing more.
15 minutes into the ascend I looked over the gigantic drop over the guardrail. We weren't even halfway and look how high we were!
Our destination was a tiny car parking space tucked away from the road where dozens of cars had lined up for some touge.
Before I knew it, my backside was in Yuki's Bride fixed-back in his S14. I didn't take any photos during the drive, but fortunately I have this clip I prepared for you! Click here. Note; this was Yuki's first time driving this mountain.
We said our farewells and thanked Yuki and his mates for all they had shown us. Personally it made my trip. Next destination; Tsukuba Circuit for the final round of D1 Grand Prix, Street Legal.
To be honest I was a little disappointed that the competition was to be held on the Tsukuba 1000 circuit rather than the main track, until I saw Naoki Nakamura's colourful S13. Suddenly I was elated! I'm sure you guys would have heard that Naoki Nakamura took out the D1 Street Legal Series for 2010.
After a solid drive from Tsukuba to Nihonmatsu we were quite exhausted. Checking into the luxurious Urban Hotel, we unpacked our things and caught up on photos. Waking up refreshed and ready for more burning rubber, Nigel and I dropped the other 7 boys at Ebisu to start preparing their cars. Nigel and I were the only two out of the group that didn't buy cars to drift, so instead we headed to Nikko Circuit for the JZX drift day.
On the way, we got sidetracked and the GPS system ended up taking us to Ikeya Formula. This turned out to be quite an experience as we where greeted by the President's wife and introduced to the President himself. He showed us his Pikes Peak 350Z…
…And some cool cars for sale in the car park out the front.
Finally we arrived at the tiny Nikko Circuit to the sounds of 1JZs and 2JZs with screamer pipes going mental. This driver from D1 Street Legal class was showing nothing but crazy entries all day long.
This old school Toyota Celsior was doing unbelievably well for such a big rig.
Yet again we were extremely exhausted, so we headed back to the hotel for an early start the next day at Ebisu.
Stay tuned for PT.III of my trip which will be purely devoted to Ebisu.
The day after, Nigel and myself found ourselves back down south at Nikko Circuit where a private drift day was being held by an ex-D1GP driver.
Grassroots drifting at it's finest. Two S14 brothers, zenki vs. kouki absolutely killing it!
Stay tuned for PT.III which will be all Ebisu.