Grassroots Drift Japan: Fun Starts Here
The Real Side Of Drifting

There is no denying the fact that Japan’s professional drift movement has lost direction over the last few years, so it always makes me happy to see that the grassroots essence of the sport keeps growing and evolving.

It’s been a few months since my ‘Hunting For The True Spirit Of Drifting’ piece went up on the site, and ever since then I’ve been looking for an appropriate event to illustrate some of the points I raised.


It was thanks to the guys at All That Low and STF that I came to hear about a soukoukai (track day) that they were holding together at Fuji’s little drift track last week. From what they told me about this small meet, it sounded like it was just what I was searching for.


You see, if you strip drifting right back to basics, you’ll find fun at its core. People do it for fun – a way to share a passion with their friends, and a personal challenge with themselves to learn the art and improve it every time they hit the track. It’s also about sharing – be it the memories, the fun times, and the tools and parts you might hand a friend or a complete stranger to help them out with their cars. It’s these sorts of things that make drifting what it is, and what it should remain, away from the limelight.


Then of course there are the cars themselves. That day at Fuji the small paddock was dotted with some impressive machines – some more tuned than others, but all equally representative of the awesome JDM scene right now.


The rain never really stopped falling throughout the day, which kept conditions nice and wet for the drivers. It was extremely slippery, but at the same time it was a lot of fun. Now that my GT-R has fresh shaken and the horrible misfire issue resolved, I brought it out for the drive down to Fuji. I’m really trying to enjoy it as much as possible at the moment!


It was cool to see that there were some other Skylines around too – even an ER34 four-door, which is always a great addition to any track day. I loved the GT-R front wheels, the busted up bumper and the smaller diameter Enkeis at the back – this is a proper practice set up. It sounded damn good, too!


What made this event extra special was that the organizers brought out a few beginner-spec drift rental cars. For the honest sum of $400 anyone could get themselves behind the wheel and drive for the entire day (six 15-minute sessions) – not even having to worry about tyres or gas.


On top of that, those that wanted it could also have a ride along with Masa-san from STF and get a few pointers to help improve their driving.


Given the season, the guys also brought along a good supply of sugary treats to keep energy levels up. Seeing that most people had to get up early to prep their cars and make it to the track in terrible weather, the chocolate morsels were very well received. This was an introductory event that was purely organized to gauge interest – something that was obviously pretty high given the number of people that showed up to have a go. They included a bunch of guys from US Naval and Airforce bases, and I even met someone that had come all the way from Okinawa!

The Classes

Seeing as drivers ranged from complete beginners to well-seasoned sliders, entrants were split up in different classes. ‘Class A’ denoted the most experienced drifters.


This pink JZX90 Cresta spent most of its time smoothly transitioning from corner to corner, but sometimes even the pros get it wrong. The small ‘off’ caused the front bumper to detach – nothing too drastic.


It was certainly not going to stop the owner from hitting the track for the rest of the day!


Check out that rear end! I have to ask, out of all the JZX platforms which is your favourite? Also which model does it for you: the Chaser? Cresta?


How about a super clean Mark II?


Or the strangest looking of them all – the Verossa?


Oh, and speaking of Chasers there were a couple of cool ones entered of course. It’s always interesting to see the different approaches and looks owners go for. Bear in mind that most of the cars you see here are all street driven!


It’s always a joy to hear 1JZs screaming away at drift events like these.


These two guys are avid Speedhunters fans, and one told me that he’s so addicted he has to check the website every few hours! It’s cool to see young kids still getting involved in drifting when most others in Japan are more into their smartphones and clothes. Keep it up guys!

Keeping It Real

Most of the cars at the track were either built or prepared by STF and their owners were out to support the event. Driving this purple S15 was Masa-san’s wife, who showed off some impressive wheel skills by smoothly and gently hitting all the apexes around the track.


There were plenty of other Silvias around, too. This is still one of the most popular drift chassis in Japan.


For me, it’s always the Skyline that takes it though – this one obviously still in the process of getting built up. Oh and by the way, the wakaba mark isn’t there to add more JDM-ness to the car – the driver is still in his first year of having a license so he has to display one on his car for it’s actual intended use. Okay, now we can be jealous he gets to drive this as his first car!


The Fuji drift course is a wide open space with a few traced routes that drivers can chose to take. And since it’s so wide and open you can see the entire track from pretty much any vantage point, which makes it easy to shoot or film your buddies out in action.


This is pretty much all you need to enjoy yourself at a drift day like this: a few sets of rear rubber, a jack, axle stands, a well-stocked toolbox and some oil. Then you just keep your fingers crossed that things don’t go too wrong… But then again, this course is as safe as it gets, which is why it’s the perfect place for drivers to have their first drift experience.


As always, some ‘adjustments’ are needed along the way!


I just had to sneak in another shot of the black-on-black JZX110 Verossa that I showed you in the previous chapter – it just looks phenomenal. Toyota took a bold move when signing off the Verossa, and it would be cool to see a modern day take on it!


The action continued all throughout the afternoon on the slippery course – drivers having to apply steering, brake and throttle inputs ever so gently to keep that all-important balance.


STF and All That Low are already planning a second bigger event in December, helping to spread the fun and love of drifting and get more people involved. Hell, I might even have a go then myself! In the meantime though, I’ve got a Spotlight-O-Rama from the event to share with you, as I’m sure many of you would love to take a closer look at some of these Japanese grassroots drift cars. Check back soon!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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If you can cover that event in December that would be really phenomenal! But of course..I'm sure we all will be ready for this next article you're writing up ;) It's crazy to imagine pre R35 skylines driving around in the streets, although I do appreciate the new GT-R's I see here in the bay area. I would imagine those Verossas being a cross between a new Camry and a Celica/Solara hybrid if they brought it to the 2015 market.. 0_____o Great write up Dino, you's the man in Japan!!


These grassroots style events are some of my favorite write ups on the site. It's all about getting out and enjoying what you have, doesn't have to be the nicest or most powerful machine. Just about the fun!


I definitely love grassroots drifting, its not as serious and everyone has a great time.


The skyline would be the car that takes it for Dino great post as usual mate, look forward to more!


Support viloent driving. I need that sweater now!


hmmm Verossa i think i like it


More! More of everything in this haha!

Would love to see some 'How to drift' articles on here, from beginner tips and upwards, something along the lines of the photography articles you did. You've definitely got the talent involved to sort something out!


More! More of everything in this haha!

Would love to see some 'How to drift' articles on here, from beginner tips and upwards, something along the lines of the photography articles you did. You've definitely got the talent involved to sort something out!


can we get some articles this winter on awesome winter beaters


Dino the best JZX platform for me has to be the JZX110 or the Verrosa. The article that SH did on team magicians JZX110 was AWESOME!! i wish we had them here in america. 

i seriously contemplated chopping up an E120 Corolla and making it into a Frankenstein version of the JZX110 but it would cost too much time and money.


Where are all the RX7's? Seems you see a few at time attacks/track days but hardly ever at drift events. Some cool cars here anyway, especially into the purple S15 and the blue Verossa (but I'm not sure why)


K's It's an acquired taste, lots of people don't like the looks. I love it


Brett Allen Drifters tend to pick reliable cars. There. I said it. LOL


RobBlencowe That's a good idea and actually something I've been thinking about doing. Let's see what I can put together!


d_rav LOL


LukeEVOVIII I'm weak lol


PhatRainbows That is the point of it all:)


JCmelik Isn't there a saying out there, Keep Drifting Fun... :D


BlackMesa533i It would definitely be offered with a hybrid option, like everything else in the Toyota catalogue lol. Thanks man!


Did anyone else see the hearse in the background of the pic of the pink cresta on page 2? That is a serious support car!


speedhunters_dino Very true, easy to make lots of reliable hp from an SR, RB or JZ but surely there are at least a few nice FD's out there goin sideways in style?


The whole Japanese car environment is like some sort of alternate universe to someone like me - who lives in a country that got the 240SX, not the Silvia.


Porrick haha yeah those were the Hardcore guys


Ice Age Parallel dimension?


Brett Allen speedhunters_dino Oh there are :)


speedhunters_dino Yeah you don't get stuff like that at major events, looking forward to seeing more grassroots coverage :)




Brett Allen speedhunters_dino lol


More posts like this please!


<3 More please. Excellent post Dino.


no ae86


This is amazing! Run grassroots ✌️ Please more posts like this would be more than welcome :)


speedhunters_dino Porrick Did it drift ?


ShawnSmith4 I'm down!! Grassroots for the win!


Dino, the best X platform is, for me at least, the JZX90. It's old enough to be cool but modern with the 1JZ inside. Also, the Verossa it has to be one of the ugliest car ever, side by side with the SsangYong Rodius and some Russian Lada's. I don't care if it has 1000 bhp, I wouldn't like it a bit.

Regarding Cresta-Chaser-Mark II, well, I cant tell a difference that I know of. Some are more luxury styled and some are basic trimmed ?


greenroadster each one has a completely different body style to it, in terms of the X100 platform the cresta is rather round, then the Mark II is rather square and the Chaser is sort of a mix of the two styles, and they also all have different headlights and tail lights


Great post, hope the video can suffice now :) Nice seeing you again and hopefully in December !


Dino Dalle Carbonare, I hope you did a spotlight on the Honda S2000!


I love the JDM-spec "Harbor Freight" jack in this picture. It looks identical to mine, except this one is anodized gold, which is much cooler IMO. More stuff to import...


d_rav That front logo...


Where can I find this place or go try if i go to Japan?


Does the Verossa run a 2J/1J? I've never even ears of this car let alone seen one in Australia... I'm a little smitten, it's just so quirky looking! Any ideas how I'd get one in Aus if I was in the market? =P


Does the Verossa run a 2J/1J? I've never even ears of this car let alone seen one in Australia... I'm a little smitten, it's just so quirky looking! Any ideas how I'd get one in Aus if I was in the market? =P


ShawnSmith4 +1 access to worldwide grassroots event coverage is where SpeedHunters shines.


The JZX90 Cresta is not pink, that's magenta.


InnerToxicity It came with the option of a 1G-FE, a 1JZ-FSE, or the 1JZ-GTE


Ice Age its weird going to american events, because the closest we get to seeing foreign cars is s13 and s12. a few hachirokus here and there, but besides those its mostly domestic cars (with exception to the newly legal r32)


CharlesChris15 Ice Age Not sure what part of the country you are from but the Midwest drift scene is 90% Japanese cars.  Hell we are even working on fully embracing the Japanese street style,  just watch some footage from Final Bout.

Granted we don't have things like the s15 and we only occasionally get a jzx100 mark 2 from Canada.


Chri5 Duncan Apologies. Yeah still looks pink to me :p


Jaemcius Check out the All That Low Facebook page for more announcement on the next drift day


jyuroku Dino Dalle Carbonare Yeah good seeing you, let me know when the video is out :)


Alexander Finlay Oh I plan to!


@Will Roegge Thanks Will :)


@Lou nope none


ShawnSmith4 Yes don't worry, more to come for sure!


KennedyCao speedhunters_dino Porrick lol no

Alexander Finlay

Haha in Cape Town , South Africa there's a few of us keeping grassroots drifting going ✌️ Best fun and best mates made through it , these Japanese grassroots stories are super inspiring , so thank you Dino!


I lived on Okinawa for 5 years and during my time there i owned 4 JZX90 Mark II's.
I took one to Portugal with me and loved it there.  And now i am Stationed in Germany with my new 1994 JZX90 with a 2JZGTE swapped in and a single 4088 turbo setup up. Nothing like being able to blow the doors off the other cars on the road and still have room to pick the kids up from school!!!!


Chri5 Duncan Chri5, you spell your name wrong.


ScottMitchellVideos Chri5 Duncan No, my name is Chri five


well, which part of December is it!!!? I'll only reach Tokyo on the 22nd and I still have no idea what events are being held during the time I'm there. speedhunters_dino please do help me out on my first Speedhunting trip to Japan... xD


JZX90424 Wait, Portugal? How did you get it here? You must've spent so much money i can't even... But then again, Japan is way better than this thing called Portugal... In Portugal a JZX90 is pretty much teh best car you could get here...