Daigo Saito’s Next Toy Drifter

We need more people like Daigo Saito.

He’s the Kimi Räikkönen of drifting, often monosyllabic when presented with a microphone, yet possessing the qualities any driver should always strive to have – especially if putting on a show is possibly the biggest expectation your fans have of you. Daigo does not disappoint.

I’ve always found his ‘I don’t give a f**k’ attitude to the theater of pro drifting is far more refreshing than that of the overly confident and self-promoting drivers that are present in all forms of motorsports. Daigo just gets down to business; he’s embraced drifting in his own very original way and has come away from it as one of the most successful drivers in the world.


But there’s one thing that sets him aside from anyone else in this game, and that’s his willingness to push himself. When it comes to the car they drive, most pro drifters like to stick to what they know for fear of finding themselves in unfamiliar situations when having to deliver certain results for the sponsors that ultimately pay for their involvement in the sport. But not so Daigo.

Drivers’ attachment to a chassis and engine setup that works, and the reluctance to move away from it, is what in my opinion brought so much repetition to the D1 Grand Prix and pretty much made it unwatchable.


But Daigo stepped away from that early on, and ever since he’s been experimenting with so many cool and unique builds, finding satisfaction in getting to grips with the unfamiliar. It doesn’t work all the time, even if you do possess an obvious talent for getting anything on four wheels sideways and keeping it there.


And in Odaiba at the recent FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup – AKA the “take two drifting experiment” – he had a new toy on display.


A collaboration between Daigo’s company, Fat Five Racing, and Latvia’s HGK Racing, this E92 Eurofighter looks like it’s ready for some serious action.


Except for the little issue of having no engine. But that’s really just a minor detail.


Daigo just picked the car up and is possibly brainstorming on how to give it the right Fat Five twist. After all, he can’t come up with something mundane, if that’s even an adjective worth using when discussing a one of the most crazy drift-spec E92 chassis I’ve ever seen.


Just look at the lack of anything underneath the mean, pumped Kevlar arches.

The paper-thin body panels, the aggressively cut base chassis, and the intricate tube structure keeping it all safe and rigid underneath – it’s so in line with what Daigo and his crew have built in previous years. Oh, and of course the massive 19-inch wheels and minuscule (read: extra light) Wilwood brake setup front and back – another signature of Japan’s most imaginative drifter.


There’s a cool contrast with the roof and the twin window panel that replaces the rear glass, both of which are constructed from thick-gauge carbon fiber.


That twin sloping intake feeds the rear-mounted radiator, a must-have for any pro drift car.


Well hello there Winters Performance quick-change rear end and Wisefab suspension arms. There’s obviously been no expense spared under here.


The clear Lexan addition to the trunk spoiler reminds me of the Corvette ZR1; you get aero benefits without impacting rear visibility. Even if it’s in a drift car where you usually look out of the side windows.


Like any one of Daigo’s projects it will be cool to see what the car’s like when completed. There’s a massive bulge on the hood up front so that should take care of accepting even the wildest of swaps, and I’d guess it will be something V8, all-billet, and possibly NA as that’s what he seems to like these days.

What engine do you think he should go for?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
Dieter Verscheure

Is this not the same BMW that is currently running in the Formula D in the states with a LS swap engine?


Apparently HGK also builds made-to-order drift-spec cars, including the M3. Just saw a brand new HGK M3 E92 for sale in racecarsdirect and in just a few days it was already sold for around 180K USDs. Guess now we know who's the lucky buyer.


It depends on how long ago you saw this ad. The machine for Fat Five was loaded into a container on 15 August. But can we count all E92 Eurofighters? :-)


Oh right. Come to think of it they (HGK) do built and sold multiple Eurofighter E92s.


They have built more than few E92s - Clemens Kauderer bought Eurofighter Chassis, EventsEliisberg bought few chassis, Daigo Saito has one.

Christian Challiner

The Vette didn't last long then?


What if this car for Daigo's teammate?


So, what do these thin Carbon Kevlar panels feel like in person? Rigid as steel or so flexible it might be cardboard?


The language is lightness. Carbon-Kevlar plates are so flexible the door panel flexes inwards when the car goes sideways, only to bounce back into original shape and position afterwards.

They are not the structural part of the car, and built primarily for saving weight, aeros, and to resemble OEM parts as much as possible. Another advantage of being non-structural part is that they are easily replaced with fresh panels if broken/damaged during aggressive sideways actions.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Yep. A very good example of how flexible these carbon panels are can be seen on Vaughn Gittin Jr's Mustang. Each time he scraped a wall with his rear, one can see the bumper and fenders flex easily, and the bounce back into shape like nothing ever happened.


Looking at the roomy engine bay of the M3, a crazy 2JZ setup (like his JZX100) would be nice. V8s are VERY welcome among the plenty I6 turbos of Japan's pro drift scene..

Heck maybe he can just try a quad-rotor turbo setup! That'll fit!


Synergy v8. The 2L version based off a BMW S1000RR
Skip to 1:10 for a quick throttle test to 12k rpm


I thought Synergy but they seem to have power:torque balance and curve suited to grip.
That said it's a solid base unit to throw boost at :)


plonk a barra in it mate

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Now we're talking !


Or an AU Falcon Intech 4 litre haha! Go for ultimate bogan spec.


It would be interesting to see something larger than a V8. A V12 would definitely be cool to witness him control.


Have you seen the Lamborhini Murcielago he built? Which still has the v12 in the back.


Twin Turbo 1UZ please.


I would love to see a Hartley V12 with a twin turbo setup under the bonnet. That should be a right spectacle!


I love that in this day and age a Winters Quick change rear end is still a viable rear end.


Mercedes M156


I don't follow drifting anymore, but I love seeing Daigo's cars - they're always over the top, with great build quality.


1. Those wheels are pretty fugly 2. Does he need even more cars? (I dont have a problem with it, just banther)


Some weird engine. The scion Fredric Aasbo drives has a built 2ar-fe, which is interesting to say the least, and it makes 1000hp lol.

What really amazes me about this and the last Saito ride i saw here is how thin the body panels are. Changes your perception of the entire thing once you catch an image like the one of the inner rear fender.


I think both of the scions use that engine, no?


Maybe a VR38 with a twin turbo setup?
That would be nice in my opinion.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That would be for sure!


@Dino, you seem to enjoy learning about this stuff:
The carbon around the rear window is called "spread tow" carbon; it's a special weave where the 'bundles' of carbon (the carbon tow) is made in a very wide and flat form. This gives some of the handling advantages of a fabric (easier to work with than unidirectional but still not very conformable) but has physical properties approaching 0degree/90degree layers of unidirectional carbon. This is because the very flat tows have very little crimping compared to a normal woven fabric, and therefore the fibers have a very straight path which is stiff and strong. As far as I remember (I don't do a lot with composites anymore) it's got the highest physical properties of all the types of woven fabrics, and it's all because of tow and weave geometry.


Thanks for the tech snippet :)

Matthew Everingham

Diesel Powah!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Like the Finns - Black Smoke Racing


Totally agree with the push for new cars in the sport. I love the 90s cars I grew up with in D1, but seeing them on the field more than a decade later got stale. I loved the idea of pushing a car with endless development. I wish more drivers were more like Daigo pushing the boundaries of a new chassis. In return there's more aftermarket support for more modern vehicles which would help get newer cars the similar reputation as the 90s cars we love. The whole reason we love that era is the countless drive for development during that time. I think that same mentality needs to be applied to new vehicles to bring people out of the nostalgia to embrace the potential we have with newer cars!


2.2 R5 from an old Audi, this thing sounds as dope as the car looks


As Daigo has so many cool cars, maybe you (SpeedHunters) could persuade him to shoot all his cars in one shoot? :)


OS GIKEN TC... Nah he wouldn't.

VOLVO.. nope...

AUDI V1... .

Quad ro... nah he wouldn't.

VW VR...



Mast Motorsports 850HP naturally aspirated LS


"Drivers’ attachment to a chassis and engine setup that works, and the reluctance to move away from it, is what in my opinion brought so much repetition to the D1 Grand Prix and pretty much made it unwatchable."

If D1GP (or any other drifting sanctioning body) forced drivers to use current model cars the costs for teams would be wildly higher, and the quoted statement would likely read, "Remember when teams didn't need to change chassis every three years and there was a bigger field?" Allowing teams to use cars that are 20 years old (in some cases) is likely very helpful to keep costs down.


How did Diago collaborate with HGK? Was he involved in the development for the chassis? You kind of just glanced right over that one there.


I don't think he collaborated (very likely did have input for his own chassis) as far as I know HGK have these in production (which once you have done all the prep running more though is the 'easy' bit)

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

DAMN! Those panels are sure thin as hell!


VW VR, definitely! Maybe twin supercharger or something?


Put an elephant in it. I mean the dodge crate engine.


Extra looks. A bad ass 1300hp 2jz or vr38dett


WATCH OUT INCOMING HATER COMMENT hahah apologies in advance but can somebody explain to me how Daigo continues on having funding for insane builds even though he wins nothing and crashes like a boss? He doesn't get as much "showman" exposure as Mad Mike either, so how are sponsors still throwing money at him for unnecessarily changing cars every 5 minutes? Is he self-funded?

Again, I'm not writing this because I have a personal grudge with him and want to piss off those who love him. Things simply don't add up to me and surely that has to be because I do not know enough about him or his career successes.

Has he done anything special ever since the jump-entry at Ebisu in his last truly winning car, the red chaser? How can someone who is not constantly on podium build a car every 5 minutes? There was the chaser, then I remember him building a Ferrari, he also had that Lambo...the Corvette, I'm sure I missed a few? How does he have that insane warehouse and all these fun-over-competitiveness builds when he isn't at the forefront of the podiums? Either I am an ignorant turkey who seems to never notice when he wins, OR the dude is a millionaire. That's all I can think of.