It isn’t often that one gets a chance to hit up a legit drifting event on a touge; much less a touge that was made world famous by the likes of Hot Version videos.
So when we heard that Yosuke Suga from SC Films had planned to shoot a new Kamikaze Dive video at the Gunsai touge, Les and I just had to head up to Gunma.
Francis: The day started early, and having arrived a bit late I was afraid I’d missed something important. But it seems that many other attendees for this fun day were late too, and the only thing I missed was the track reconnaissance which Les had been able to make it to. In the meantime, I walked around the pit lot and scoped the cars, which were mostly lightweight Hachirokus and svelte Silvias.
But there were some cool big booty girls in attendance as well, like this second-gen Aristo, complete with some interesting front fenders.
Tucked up under the bumper was a big intercooler too; this gal was putting down some power.
A peek inside revealed a fairly gutted interior with a custom transmission tunnel cover and a big ‘ol hydro e-brake handle.
Continuing on towards the entrance, I spotted the course layout. Being a bicycle circuit and mini amusement park for kids, it was a funny to think about all the high horsepower monsters that have ripped up this place over the years.
By the time I had gathered up my gear, cars were already doing warm up runs to get a feel for the layout. This C34 Laurel was another sedan that caught my attention.
Moments later, three purple musketeers emerged and began their trek up the hill to the starting line.
It was awesome to see all the cars lined up and being readied to attack the downhill.
A shakotan Toyota Crown comically joined the queue of missiles and purpose-built drift cars, and seconds later the call came through that the drifting was about to begin.Location, Location, Location
Les: Every sniper needs a spotter, so whilst Francis was in the pits rattling off shots, I took the opportunity to do some track recce. My first port of call was this rig, which took the drivers to see where they’d be drifting. The Gunsai Cycle Centre has around 6km worth of roads, but the chosen course was a smaller, but still extensive section of that.
Not even halfway around our mini excursion, Naoki Nakamura decided to set the tone for the day by stopping off and posing for a photo. But behind everyone’s smile and laughter, every detail of the course was being absorbed for the forthcoming kamikaze runs.
The ride allowed me to jump off and be the first media on track. A quick silence soon settled, but in my head all I could hear were the sounds from the videos I’ve watched of this battleground.
It didn’t take me long to realise that the Gunsai touge is an extremely challenging piece of road. This particular section of railing is where Max Orido crashed one of the Powerhouse Amuse cars.
The faint noise of an engine came into earshot as the first vehicle came onto track. It was my taxi for the day; the very helpful staff made regular laps of the section to enable media and officials to quickly relocate to other areas of the mountain.
At the start line I was happy to see Awaji Sama had travelled all the way up from Chiba with his Lightning McQueen-inspired Silvia S15. He’s a former member of the famed ‘Sexy Knights’ drift team, and his body shop, Newtype, is a five-minute drive away from where I live.
Anyway, the games were now about to begin…Enter The Touge
Francis: I did a little hiking and set myself up right after the first corner. Up to five cars were allowed to run at once, and although it didn’t always end up being that many on track at the same time, when it did, it was ridiculously intense. Being so close to the action only amplified the experience.
Check out this Ken Block-inspired AE72 Corolla. The owner was very confident in his driving style and slid the car around like it was on cafeteria trays.
The irony of this sign is painfully hilarious; ‘right turn, slow down’ doesn’t exactly lend to the feeling of car zipping by sideways at 60mph.
Among the AE86s running was this missile car that had definitely seen better days.
I’d say that had something to do with the fearless way its driver was scraping the wall.
It’s too bad that this place isn’t really set up for competition events, because watching tandems really made me think how cool a D1 Grand Prix event held here would be.
Maybe a pay-per-view style online event would be cool? You could watch safely from in front of your computer screen, rather than precariously standing on the side of a ditch behind the barriers, like I was.
Another thought crossed my mind as well – I’d much rather have been driving this course than spectating.
And more so after watching Hideaki Ishii of Freee’s totally destroy the place. This guy is a badass; maybe you would all like to see a spotlight on his Nissan?All Roads Lead To This
Les: Whilst my colleague was being blown away by Ishii-san’s antics, I was smiling. The reason being, the vast majority of drivers had come here from far and wide. Satsukawa from A-Bo-Moon had travelled all the way up from Nagoya – a seven-hour drive – with his 350hp four-door R32. If that doesn’t show commitment, then I don’t know what does!
He would be another of the shakotan variety looking to shred his well-used BN Sports kit along the hard turns and various gradients the Gunsai layout offered.
Mie, Nara, and Osaka are where many of Japan’s most talented drifters reside, so to see drivers from the Kansai area up in Gunma for the event shows the lengths some were prepared to go to, to take part. Mitsuyoshi Nishio turned up in his S13, newly-wrapped after a disagreement at Suzuka Twin robbed him of his last look.
Hiroki Vito from Osaka also has a fresh new look. Going through the specifications of his car, I was surprised to learn it has a final gear ratio of 3.90; that’s longer than most drivers from Kansai, who tend to run shorter 4.2 to 4.6 ratios for their local – Meihan Sports Land.
It certainly didn’t affect his ability though; super consistent, he slid through the corners with ease.
Each run was completed as though it was mere practice.Highlights Of The Day
Francis: The highlight of my day definitely had to be seeing Initial D come to life with this replica tofu delivery car ripping it up. What about you, Les?
Les: For me it had to be catching up with Ishii-san; I first met him three years ago on outskirts of Tokyo, and his driving skill has certainly advanced in that time. Here’s a video of him nailing a run, while he took me for a spin around the course.
Thanks to the SC Films staff and to everyone that made this a great event to attend; we hope to see you all again next time around! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Kamikaze Dive Gunsai Attack video that’s coming soon.
All no smoke no poke, On her hole, paid by the dole
Incorrect terms being used... cringe.
And dont u mean c33.
@Jdmgrammanazi Cringiest has to be "Moments later, three purple musketeers emerged and began their trek up the hill to the starting line."
Was the disagreement with Team Burst? Because their cars look pretty similar to the three purple ones in this feature.. Also, awesome to see that a member of Abo Moon coming out to the Gunsai touge.
No, those are team burst cars
@Jdmgrammanazi aside from the C33 thing, what else is wrong, genuinely willing to learn!
Mitchellol Yeah fuck these guys for sharing pictures with people who couldn't make it.
It's good to see that after 20 years give or take, this is still going on....makes me feel so old...
Shinmei2006 noriyaro does it better.
Shinmei2006 google shakotan... and see how these retards apply the word here.
Hmmm they are? Im guessing these are their new liveries? I don't recognize a single one of these cars. I guess I just haven't seen any new photos of Team Burst in a while. Thanks for the correction. I'm usually pretty good when it comes to these things..
Dat black AE72 tho. I want to see more of it!
@Jesushadadx Shinmei2006 What? shakotan literally translates as low down its correctly applied every time its used
@Jesushadadx people like u are the reason i keep checking speedhunters lmao
Did you see Alexi from Noriyaro there? I just watched a video he made while at that event.
@Nick @ditchs141 - Hi All, it's hard to explain so I'll try my best..
Nakamura is a member of Pink Style with Miki Takagi and is the name they run under for competition, but he still holds as the original leader for Team BURST..
Mitsuyoshi is the second generation leader for 'Otokichi Family' after taking over from Aki Fujio..
Vito is a drifter residing in Osaka and friends with various members of both squads but has no team affiliation at this time..
Going back to BURST - They are the 'A' team as it were but do promote members from 'BLOW' (Boys) and 'BLOOM' (Girls) teams depending on skill level..
All the teams though are tied with history, respect, Kansai honour, and much so it is very for people to associate cars with BURST when just seeing the Purple/Pink combination..
OK, hope that helps a little ^_^/
@Sam Shinmei2006 So everyone else should just say fuck it, huh?
I mean, he does, but this was still a good read.
The two cars in this feature showing some extremely low ride height were the R32 and the Laurel. Should you get a chance to catch them live - I'm sure you'll appreciate the setup they are running!
Shakotan just refers to ride height, but can be Misunderstood due to many permutations springing up over the Internet in recent years - each to their own ^_^/
Hi Nick - Yes he was running around with his camera. But a very busy day so we hadn't much chance to catch up and talk..
Come on now, you can't drop knowledge of that depth and hold out on doing an article explaining, it's that sort of thing that fascinates about the whole JDM thing, the depth the scene/s has/have in general and how closely tied it all is. Come on, you know you want to....
TarmacTerrorist Haha sorry for the knowledge teasing - Yes if the busy Speedhunters schedule would allow for such an article it would be great to do one again for the site..
Just hoping to clear up some info on teams like BURST/Otokichi/PEER/BLOW/BLOOM/ that get categorised just to that one team.
Hope you enjoyed ^-^/
@Nick More a disagreement with the Suzuka Twin track itself ^-^/
DeonvanZyl Thanks ^-^/
I certainly did, the route and the shots reminds me of walking through the wooded area at Goodwood and having group B monsters on the other side of a bit of fence running the rally stage... Really In your face and intense.
Thanks for the work!
Ah okay just curious! And do you know why the Abo Moon car left early in the day? I saw that he left for some reason in Alexi's video.
@Nick alexi got there super late. abo moon drove like 7 hours to get there so he was prolly ready to leave lol
Yes, Kansai is the birth place of some wonderful drifters and equally wonderful cars. And I've never heard of GLOW or BLOOM, or Otokichi before. (Pink style sounds familiar sort of) But actually I do follow what you're saying about Burst, so thanks for that, that's some stuff I never knew. I always have loved Burst, mainly because of their raw, flashy, "Kansai style". (same thing with Abo Moon and Magician)
Thank you for the explanation, much appreciated.
Please do a feature on Ishii san's Onevia!
LOL. Loved the post guys, keep up the good work!
just yestarday watched noriyaro video on this
Whipwood Thanks ^-^/
See, I don't know an Amuse car was crashed there..which one was it? The only crash I knew of, was the red Seeker EG6..I forgot who wrecked that particular car. But Gunsai touge is anything but forgiving..I wish someone would pick up Hot Version again and renew them for a new series of videos..
@Nick Most recently it was the Amuse 370Z, but let's say Orido-Sama has a history in the crash department.. ^-^/
wow so sick! only in Japan
The Amuse 370Z? I never remeber seeing a 370Z run the Gunsai touge on BMI. I only remember the 380 Superleggera competing..but you're far more of an expert on the matter then I.
Saw this on Noriyato (dont know you guys are the same person or not XD) but the best part of this event was the "Girl Delivery" in the video XD
Now THIS is drifting.
Whereabouts in Gunma is this joint?
the car was very good
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is this open for public to drive on?