You may have seen my coverage of the Final Bout pre-event meet last week – a small gathering of a few competing cars, laid out nicely in a photography studio. This week we’re at Nikko Circuit for the main event: Final Bout Special Stage Japan 3.
Last weekend’s turnout was one of the biggest I’ve seen at a Japanese drift event in the time I’ve been here, so to do it justice I’ll be splitting my coverage up into a pit walk (today’s story), followed by some on-track action.
The event was divided into teams, most comprising of three to six cars that were styled in matching colors, liveries, or both. Some teams had a variety of makes and models, while others had just one. JZX chassis-oriented teams were plentiful.
Ryohei, the event organizer alongside Final Bout, mentioned they received over 150 competitor applications within the first 24 hours of opening. With demand like that to enter, you can guarantee the calibre of cars was at an all-time high, with some teams even making the journey over 24 hours from Fukuoka – the same trip they had just done the week prior for the pre-event get-together.
The Team Realize trio from down south was a favourite from the day. Having seen these cars before at both Wekfest and Dori Dore, it was great to catch them again more locally at Nikko.
Rob’s S15 Silvia is always a standout. Having undergone a recent refresh, the car was looking its absolute best on the day, and unmistakable by its rainbow mirror tints all around.
The day had no shortage of AE86s with both Team 4AGE and Team NGWIRC bringing out the Skittles assortment of cars. Not only are these Hachirokus show pieces, but also some of the hardest driven. Team NGWRIC ended up taking home the ‘Best Drivers’ award, and the photos I’ll be sharing in my track action story will show why.
It wouldn’t be a drift day without one fire scare. Luckily there were no vehicle casualties this time around.
Yuya’s Mark II is another car I’ve shot a few times at previous events. It continues to prove that the simple recipe of a low ride height and nice wheels is always a winner.
This zenki and kouki S14 pairing was another favorite of mine. With this height and fitment, I’ll continue to be impressed by the way these cars perform.
Jumping forward to lunchtime, we managed to get all cars on track for a park-up and parade lap of sorts. This was a first at Nikko Circuit for me, and I really hope it’s something done more often. Seeing all the cars wrapped around the main corner gave a good perspective of how many were competing on the day.
You may have seen Suzuki-san’s McLaren MP4-12C covered before; it’s made waves on the internet since he started bringing it to Ebisu more regularly. Overcoming several issues with the clutch and having had some custom knuckles developed for the car, it’s become quite a reliable drift machine. Suzuki-san still brought along a backup, however – his manually-gated, drift-spec Ferrari 360 no less.
That’s it from the Nikko Circuit pits – next up is all the on-track action from Final Bout Special Stage Japan 3. Until then, enjoy a few more scenes from the day below.