Event>> The Drift Muscle – Rd1 Maze – Pt1

It is obvious that what Inada and Tsuchiya are doing is very much appreciated by the worldwide drift community. Keeping drifting fun and accessible seems to be the theme for this year and I’m sure this new concept will evolve and grow over time…

…as its founders steer it in the right direction. Like I mentioned yesterday the concept here is to allow drivers to learn, and that includes the professionals that we’ve been seeing in D1 for the best part of the last decade. Chatting to Mamina Inada I discovered that a lot of the big drivers from D1 were a little worried they might get caught out driving cars with less than half the power they are usually used to. Call it Japanese humbleness, but driving a less powerful car can take more skill in some ways, or at the very least require a slightly different approach. Like going from a 300 HP S14 to a 150 HP AE86, the hachiroku will demand more from the driver.

Someone wanted to see more of this GP Sports RPS13? Here it is in all its glory!

As an observer I tried to approach this whole new drift series with an open mind but I couldn’t help but notice some obvious things. First up the cars. There was a certain lack of, how shall I put it, originality maybe, not intentionally I’m sure but it seemed every car in the paddock…

…was running SR20 power. S-chassis obviously make the most popular drift cars but I would have liked to have seen a little more variation and maybe a few more naturally aspirated cars or AE86s…in fact there was only one, Shino from Shino Kouba with her Levin hatch, which is precisely why I decided to spotlight it!

The vastness of S-chassis was peppered with a few sedans like this C33 Laurel driven by lady drifter Hayashi Yukie from Team MCR Factory, Alexi’s Team Noriyaro JZX100 and two JZX90s of Saito and Masuda. That said, the quality of the cars present was extremely high, some running more power than others but all boasting the right bits and pieces to get sideways effectively and put on a great show.

Early in the morning I spotted a couple of cool S15s in one of the paddocks, this I’m sure most will recognize as Nakamura’s ex-D1 ride…

…along with this spotless pink example from Sone Auto.

Entrants of Drift Muscle are divided into three main classes; an entry level group called the “Challenge Class,” a second “Ladies Class” only for female drifters and then the most popular of all the “Muscle Class.” It’s all kind of self explanatory, basically beginners with lightly tuned street cars participate against each other in the Challenge class, girls in the Ladies class and those with experience and slightly more prepped cars enter the Muscle class which itself is divided into three groups as its the one with the most participants. Plenty of practice time is given in the morning to all entrants before they are individually judged by Tsuchiya and Inada. Those that manage to qualify go on to enter tsuiso battles in the afternoon, which are run in the usual Best 16 format. If subsequent events grow there is a possibility a Best 32 might be run.

Maze circuit is probably one of the most interestingly positioned circuits in Japan, right on the cost of the sea of Japan offering a very unique backdrop when looked at from this angle. Being right on the coast means the track is constantly hit by strong winds and changeable weather, which on the day went from pleasantly warm to utterly freezing in a split second. I managed to get a sunburn and freeze to death all at the same time!

This is Masuda Toshimitsu, a friend of Daigo Saito and one of the most entertaining drivers on the day. His lack of fear pushed him to try out some pretty wild entries with his JZX90!

Okachan from Yashio Factory was behind the wheel of his GP Sports 180SX. What is it with Niigata and GP Sports? I think it’s a law that if you own an RPS13 it has to be fitted with this kit!

Garage LFW S14 exiting the judged corner under full power.

Once the morning practice was over it was time to kick off the round officially and in D1 style, all drivers lined up on the track and were introduced to the spectators.

The Ladies Class.

Hibino up to his usual antics…

…while Saito always prefers a quieter introduction along with a nod of respect to the judges.

Not a bad turnout for the first round!

Tsuchiya was looking for a nice tight line into the main hairpin, allowing the cars to power out early thanks to the widening exit. Some nailed it spot on, others came up with different approaches. Over all it was probably one of the most entertaining sections I’ve observed at a drift comp.

As drivers exit they finish up into the main straight where they have a chance to cool their cars down as they make their way towards the start/finish area.

T-Sport tuned kouki S14 from Team Road Sensing.

Saito’s JZX90 in the paddock after he was done for the day. I’m always surprised at how many different cars he seems to have!

Random sighting, Toyota Celsior on black TE37s. Definitely different.

As Hibino left the pits to head out onto the track…

…he kindly posed for a quick snap! It looks like he is getting extremely used to forced induction after seeing him throw this Sunrise S15 around! Will he drop his AE86 in D1 and take on the power war in something else?

D-Max Zombie S14…

…sporting an almost showcar-like engine bay.

Now that is what I call nailing the clipping point! More sideways action to come in Part 2. Back soon!

The Drift Muscle 

The Drift Muscle coverage on Speedhunters

-Dino Dalle Carbonare



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Not quite sure what differentiates this from MSC, but meh guess they have Tsuchiya. Surprising that D1 haven't banned Hibino etc from participating in another series like they seem to have done in the past.


Need some desktop of some of these shots. and i have to say for there first live web broadcast it was good till we lost feed. ill be back to watch every round via ustream. FD needs to check out some of the tricks they have.


Lol @ Alexi's shoes


Banning drivers from participating in different series would be bad publicity. Plus, with other drivers going from series to series, word spreads about all the series that they've been in, thus increasing popularity.


I can almost smell the tortured rubber. Great coverage as always Dino, thank you.


If you have never lived in Japan and experience the real world of dirfting you might leave comments lke I noticed in this post. Which is not bad but the american scene of drifting is so far off and Drift Muscle has the exact mindset and goals to keep drifting growing as a motorsport, keep it competive and people to actually attend and get excited.

Who has the funds to build a tube chasis and a crate V8 motor from any leading manufacture then roll aroun the country in a 18wheeler?



I agree with you completely. 3/4 of the drivers are probably better then the ones in FD. Nd they street drive there cars and have WAY less power and none are (tube/carbon fiber) chassis.


LOL at Arexi's racing boots.


@ alexi - on ya mate you bogan!!!!



Crocs are great for heel and toe, what are you laughing about?


I like how D1 is taking this very professionally and allowing the drivers that compete in it to also compete in The Drift Muscle. Props to D1.


Nice pics hopefully the stream will be sorted for the next round :)


What people don't realise is KT and Dai were the main ones banning people back in the day in D1. The only person the new regime ever reprimanded was Nakamura (after he committed a crime). I respect Dai and KT, but I think D1 will be a much better place now that they are gone. Notice guys like Orido and NOB aren't competing in this series.... all drivers who were banned by D1 (KT and Dai) in the mid 00s. Wake up folks.



you are totally right! Skill and mind set totally different than 'MERICA!

I really just dont understand state side drifing @ the FD level.

Thank god for events like XTREMEDRIFTCIRCUIT.

Some events have to just keep drifting what its all about.

Well time to rip out my dads V8 in the corvette and send my S15 to Jeff Gordon to have his team build a tube frame for it, perfect.


that wasn't a jzx90 saito was driving

that was his jzx100 chaser


@ Quickstyle.

I think drifting in the US is taking 2 different directions. and everybody seems to only see the big Gorilla in the room that is FD. Yes the amount of $$ involved in FD is getting redic. but thats cool. There is still alot of Grassroot Drift Series and Cars.

I honestly dont see that big of a difference in the cars. Take Di's who is the definition of an evolution of a car. He took a S Chassis. Gutted it. added an ls2. (a swap than can be done here in the states for around $5k, which is not that insane) then went and played for a year. then in his off time improved the body and improved the suspension. (Yes he added a Tubular Front End. but thats no worse than some of the streetcars I see with Custom V Mount Setups) went and played for a year. and this past year went in for a motor rebuild for more power. each step was nothing to out the ordinary.

the biggest thing that sets the pros from the joes IMHO is the wear and tear put on the cars. the ability to shred tires, body parts and the need to travel all around the US for 6 months...

Sure in Japan the V8 thing is a little harder to do because of the lack of V8s etc... but a V8 swap is cheap compared to say a 2jz, or rb26 with proper oiling abilities. the V8 is cheaper to build, Cheaper to maintain, and Cheaper to race than almost any other option

People need to quit comparing FD Cars to Full Tube Chassis Cars. Its a BIGG Difference.

and please stop trying to say that the V8 killed or is killing drifting.


Why are the women separated from the men in a sport that really does not require it?

Is this to do with Japanese Culture? or is AutoSport really maintaining the Glass Roof to prevent them from top honors?

are they allow to compete in other classes beyond their own?

This really fascinates/disturbs me...


Cool stuff, but, where's the diversity? 90% of this post was Nissans, there were a few Toyotas, and only one Mazda.



Probably the women's class is for women who have little less experience and who want to have more. But, for ladies who think they can get guys a run for money go for the muscle class.


Don't they require a full race outfit? Incase something catches fire?


More pictures of that Aristo parked by Okachans 180sx please.


I didn't realize Crocs were fire-retardant lol.


Just because of Alexi, I will start wearing Crocs on the track now


Hi Dino, I believe Saito's red Chaser is a JZX100, not JZX90... :-)


@mattman What mazda?? the bongo?


Awesome coverage Dino... please can we have a spotlight on the team road sensing S14 :)


that Toyota Celsior is RUINED by the chrome


Ahaha.. Alexi, you just made my day)))) I might reconsider my point of view about Crocs)

When will you share your thoughts about the event?


Oh man, would have loved more coverage of that C33 Laurel...