Formula D Gets Some Japanese Flavor

When I first found myself being drawn toward the world of drifting in the early-to-mid 2000s, there was nothing more exciting than the original US events at places like Irwindale Speedway and seeing drivers and drift cars that had come directly from Japan. Their presence added serious experience and authenticity to a motorsport which at the time was still relatively unknown outside its homeland.

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Much has changed since those days – cars have gotten faster, the sport has become more competitive than ever, and America has developed a professional drift scene all its own. But there’s still something special about seeing Japanese drivers and Japan-built cars coming to the US to try their hand at Formula Drift. The latest Japanese driver to compete professionally stateside is Masashi Yokoi.

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Yokoi has been ripping up the Japanese drift scene for years, starting on the street with Team Mind Control and coming up through the MSC and D1 Grand Prix ranks. Last year he achieved success in Formula Drift Japan’s events, and now he’s made the leap across the Pacific to contest the full Formula D Pro championship.

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When Yokoi made his US Formula Drift debut the weekend before last in Long Beach, he didn’t do it as a hired gun driving for an established team – he came with his own car and his own style. To be specific, it’s a widebody S15 Silvia built by his shop, MCR Factory, in Aichi Prefecture.

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With D-MAX on board as a sponsor, you can be assured that Yokoi’s Silvia has all the good style you’d expect from a Japanese drift car. From the bodywork to the graphics to the wheels, it looks like like it was just plucked from the paddock at a Japanese event.

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And speaking of the wheels, RAYS is also supporting Yokoi’s D1 effort with his S15 is running the company’s new Gram Lights 57Transcend wheels with Yokohama tires. Not a bad look at all.

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But of course, you can’t be competitive with style alone, and it seems like Yokoi’s Silvia is packing all of the equipment it needs to run with the big boys in the game.

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You won’t find the factory SR under the hood, nor will you find a V8 swap, instead, Yokoi is doing battle with fully-built, single turbo Toyota 2JZ setup prepared by a shop in Japan called REMS. Looking at it, the engine doesn’t seem too dissimilar from the 2JZ powering Forrest Wang’s new car, and it’ll certainly be interesting to watch the two S15s compete over the course of the season.

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Yokoi didn’t have his best result on the unforgiving Long Beach course with a 30th place finish, but he showed a lot of potential in his practice and qualifying runs and has vowed to come away with a better result at the next round.

Time will tell whether Yokoi can can follow in Daigo Saito’s footsteps as the next Japanese driver to shake up Formula Drift championship, but his addition to the FD line-up has already made the new season a whole lot more interesting.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike



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It's great to see some Japanese drifters in formula drift plus give Masashi Yokoi some time and he'll be one to look out for.

Great article by the way Mike Garrett great article.


This car is pretty interesting as its built to more of a street spec drift car than the full blown race cars we see in FD. No hydro/ stock e brake cable, tubed fenders, all the door is still there, there rear is still sheet metal, stock cluster is looks like. Not saying its a bad thing, its just very street car like...i like it.


IshMel I'm gonna nit pick and say that it looks like a Defi Sports Cluster...


never understood this name - they don't use formula cars....


Чет он запорол((

This fad needs to end

Mad respect for him not using a V8 conversion


それ栄誉 good luck


Yawn... Another Toyota 2JZ conversion; the Small Block Chevrolet of Japan.


The word "formula" does not come the type of car, i.e. open wheel racers. It originates from the fact the the cars have to follow a set of predetermined regulations. So the "formula" are those set of regulations. FD being the top of the American drifting as a sport. As is F1 the most advanced motorsport, with the most strict set of rules or "formula".


Hydrolastic Yawn, another pointless comment.


I say put an LS in it with a rocket bunny kit! ;)


I had a dream I was picking out SpeedHunters branded tow straps at an event booth. There was green, red, black... I chose gold


Paizuri_4g63 how could you choose gold. you only put green, red, silver, black colors where did the gold come from?




Novac Darius Corbin Pretty different if you ask me.


Corbin  Novac Darius add some te37's and get fredrik asshoe to pilot it!!


Corbin  Novac Darius LS different? haha


Hydrolastic What motor do you have in your race-ready Formula D S15 again?


Haha my car is British racing green a little part of my brain was sayin 'gotta keep the theme goin' and boom gold. I also listen to a lot of roots reggae? I'm not sure. ..


Anyone optimistic that Nissan will bring back the Sylvia, and make the S16?


Yokoi and Forrest are going to be the tandem pair to watch this season.  So much so that I think practice will be more interesting than the damn competition.


Finally a real driftcar back in formulaD!


Youd think with everybody going v8 they would have put in a Nissan v8. Would have been much more interesting if they did. But I guess its easier for them to use the 2jz.


2jz fever


Omg, i love those swaps, i thinks its better than a ls swap...


Smiggins Considering Nissan V8s aren't used much for drift cars in Japan, 2JZ is a pretty straight forward choice.


KamikazeBottleRockets Hopefully they'll get matched up at some point.


Mahfoodh Not too optimistic on that, though it would certainly be welcome.


DjaranJones Thanks!


This is what formula d needs. Not necessarily just Japanese drivers but cars that have style. Even if it's a chevy camero make it look good, not just a drifting billboard for your sponsors.


yes! more of this!! bring em all over and show these fools how its done... FD is just...meh at best maybe this will help its quality and entertainment levels...


Mike Garrett Mahfoodh Don't you already own the.. ahem.. Ford S16 Silvia Mike?