Drifting is a sport I have seen grow from small local events, and hit it big, becoming an internationally recognized form of racing. I spent close to ten years covering D1 in Japan, and I have seen it all unfold in front of my eyes, observing it blossom into the freshest form of motorsport out there, only to then be plagued with years of stagnant popularity. All of this time I kept an eye, as best I could through the wide reaches of the internets, on other series around the globe – mainly Formula D. I have always appreciated the energy Formula D seems to have over in the US and the way it has been marketed through a variety of channels, making it a must-see championship for anyone with the remotest interest in cars. Formula D has even expanded into Asia, which is pretty much the reason I now find myself in Jakarta, Indonesia. I am here with the guys from team RS-R who have asked none other than Fredric Aasbø to drive their Supra in the final leg of this Asian championship.
For me it’s a refreshing take on the whole pro-drift scene, it’s a shift in perspective as I get the chance to experience a drift event from the team’s angle, following and documenting every step of the preparation leading up to the main event later on today at the JIExpo in Jakarta city. For Fredric, too this is a new experience, it’s his first time competing in Formula D Asia, and the first time driving for a Japanese team. He will be telling you all about his time with the RS-R guys next week, but for now let’s concentrate on the first leg of our Indonesian adventure. It all started on Thursday after team members flew in from Japan, the US and of course Norway. The initial port of call would be the venue of the event, where the team needed to rendezvous with the shipping company who would deliver the container with the RS-R Supra and all their tools, spare parts and things they ship around South-East Asia for the series. So after meeting in front of the Hotel…
…it was onto our ride, the efficient and trusty Blue Bird taxis. These are apparently one of only a few taxis you should use in Jakarta, to avoid getting scammed and ripped off. The 30-minute ride to the JIExpo was quite the experience…
…as we dived deep into Jakarta’s incredibly congested and chaotic streets, as we dodged bajaj, other cars…
…and of course the swarms of bikes, mopeds and scooters that flock around in big packs. There don’t seem to be too many rules out on these streets, aside from don’t crash and die! Somehow however, through copious use of the horn, strategic maneuvers and techniques (maybe also telepathy?), it all seems to work and flow. It’s organized chaos at its best.
While stuck in traffic on the bigger streets there is plenty of entertainment to be had; with Jakarta being one of the most overpopulated cities on the planet, with something in the region of 26 million people living in its center and surrounding areas, there is plenty to watch as the bustling city gets on with its day. There are always people on the streets trying to sell you stuff…and while I can understand those attempting to sell you bottled water or snacks, we all had no idea why anyone would want to buy an inflatable pink bunny rabbit floater while stuck in the middle of the city.
After the live entertainment it wasn’t long before we arrived at our destination where we found the Supra already out of the container.
The majority of the RS-R team had been there for hours already…
…as the custom official inspected every single piece on inventory. This ended up taking an extremely long time, so while the bureaucratic practices continued…
…it was decided to begin to get Fredric comfortable in the car. As you guys probably know the usual driver of this car is Manbu Orido, who was busy with the Super GT sprint cup race in Fuji, wasn’t able to participate at this event. Orido is quite a lot shorter than the “Norwegian Hammer” so some adjustments were definitely needed.
So while some of the boxes, spare parts, tires and tools were slowly being transported over to the RS-R tent in the pits, one of the mechanics began adjusting the Super GT pedal box in the Supra to allow Fredric to extend his legs a little more. Actually a lot of parts on the car are straight from Orido’s old Super GT car, things like the dry carbon dashboard, the already mentioned pedal box and the doors. This isn’t your usual JDM drift car, that’s for sure.
In the meantime some other cars were being unloaded like Daigo Saito’s Lexus IS convertible…
…along with Robbie Nishida’s JZX100.
After sitting in a container for over a month the Supra’s battery had gone flat which meant a little help was needed to tow it to the pit area…
…on the other side of the premises. After a bit more hard work the RS-R pit was neatly organized and the mechanics started getting ready to do a full check on the car to make sure everything was working fine.
This is one of the many interesting backdrops that can be admired from the paddock area, a look into Jakarta’s downtown district…
…and of course more bajaj!
Since the Bride seat isn’t mounted on a sliding rail some drilling was required to make sure Fredric was sitting as far back and as low as was possible. There wasn’t much extra space that could be found due to the top part of the seat hitting one of the rollcage’s crossbars.
Day quickly turned into night, as we were treated to a very colorful yet moody sunset.
The generator was cranked into life and work continued on the Supra as Fredric waited patiently.
With the seat mounted back in the car…
…and the pedals set as far forward as they would go things were looking good.
Fredric brought over a set of his favorite knuckles from Norway so next step in the car’s preparation was fitting these items to the car. As you can see all of the Supra’s links have pillow ball joints, so it didn’t take much to get everything disassembled…
…and the new knuckles fitted. However after breaking the 30 mm socket wrench that was needed to finish the job the team decided to attempt all of this again in the morning after a quick stop to the local tool store. The main goal for the night was to get Fredric to take the car out for a spin around the paddock so that he could begin to get a feel for what is a very different car and set up to what he is used to.
As the old knuckles where being fitted back again Daigo Saito showed up to say hello to Terai-san, the executive director of RS-R and have a quick look at what everyone was up to.
It wasn’t long before the car was all ready to go…
…so Fredric jumped in and took it for a quick drive…
…getting a feel for the steering, pedal set up, gearbox and of course the engine. With the drive happy, the team called it a day and we all headed back to the Hotel to get some much-needed sleep.
The following day was when most of the other local teams would arrive and begin setting up for the event.
There are quite a few interesting cars entered in this event, showing a very different style but at the end day all built for the same thing…going sideways while burning serious rubber!
The Cefiro is probably the most popular drift car in Indonesia, with wild builds like this matte black example of Ben Attwood of GT Radial Drift Team.
Here is another Cefiro wearing a front and rear ER34 conversion!
I spotted this slammed Cressidia, a local build that has been created for both street use as well as drift and is powered by a 3S motor.
Daigo’s mechanic was hard at work checking the IS over before the first practice and media rides later on in the morning.
The event officially kicked off with the press conference where the organizers and main sponsors welcomed all participants to Indonesia. The drivers might look a little down on energy in the above picture but most had travelled a long way to get to Jakarta so were probably tired…or just wanted to get out and drive!
Fredric seems to be quite the popular celebrity at this Jakarta Round and he is always signing autographs and posing for pictures as he walks through the paddock. He even signed a Speedhunters Vol.1 photography book for one of our readers who had recently received his copy. It’s great to see the book being appreciated in so many areas of the world!
Before the media rides kicked off the Japanese drivers, Daigo, Robbie and Ken caught up with Daijiro who had just flown in from LA.
And so the local media got entertained with a few sideways turns around the wide open space that would later be turned into the track for this weekend.
It was the first time Fredric had a chance to really step on the throttle…
…and getting it sideways. From the sidelines it looked like he felt right at home but as he told me later on there were still a few things that he needed to get used to, like the unusually heavy pedal pressure of the Super GT pedal box and the lack of grip from the rear which was probably due to the dust on the course more than the suspension set up.
The day ended with a drivers meeting as the judges went through the course outline, explaining to the competitors what they would be expecting to see over the weekend.
My time as a fly on the wall at the RS-R team pit continues now as I take yet another of those entertaining taxi rides to the JIExpo where the competition is due to start in a couple of hours. There is a massive thunderstorm with torrential rain falling at the moment so it looks like things are going to get very slippery for the battles! Stay tuned for more Formula D action from Jakarta coming up in the next few days.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Nice article Mr. Dino.. Looking foward for you next visit to indonesia :D
And don't forget to take a picture of my car.. :D
"driver of this car is Manbu Orido, who busy with the Super GT sprint cup race in Fuji, wasn’t able to participate at this event."
Editing at its best!
thx alot Mr. Dino Dalle for your time so happy meet and greet with you.. and also I'm happy my friend was on this page .. congrat boy ( Ardian Pradana ) see you soon.
finally i can meet up with Fredric Aasbø and Mr. Dino dale. great show, great battle! see you soon guys!
Wow.. Thanx for you Dino, and all drivers that come across half the world to participated in this event.
I'm pretty shocked and amazed when read this article because i am Indonesian lol
Well, that's the capital city of our country. The condition on the street is really, really crowded because there's still no safe, comfy, effective and efficient kind of Mass Rapid Transportation in Jakarta, so our people prefers to ride a bike. Especially to avoid the traffic jam. It's really bad, until in some street at some time, it will take 2 hours just to travel 4 miles!
But you know what, all of that crazy crowded, traffic jammed street don't stop automotive craziness that happens in Jakarta. When you are lucky enough, you can find a supercar club racing on the freeway. And there's so many amazing car builds that I believe worth to be featured here.
About the Nissan Cefiro, yes that's the most affordable choice if you want to build a drift car. Because there's not much RWD car choice to build. Cefiro is the only affordable choice. Here it will only cost you around US$ 2,000 - US$ 5,000 depends on the condition. An S Chassis?? Well, because of the rarity in here, the price is surprisingly reaching US$ 30,000!!! LOL.. How about that price for a 90's drift car?
Sorry for my long post. I am truly happy to know Speedhunters crew is visiting my country. Don't forget to come back and be sure to reveal our amazing automotive culture!
Daigo's Lexus looks mean. I saw a you tube video of the shake down, and that thing sounded like a raped ape. Maybe a feature sometime ???
Thank you so so much,Dino for bringing Indonesia into Speedhunters! I'm so loving this post! Be sure to scout some interesting cars on the streets or around the circuit too..:P Thank you again!
It's good to have FD Asia event coverage again. Thanks for covering the event Dino. Any spotlights for this event?