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D1 Grand Prix Series Wrap Up

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posted on Dec, 17 2006 @ 03:24 AM
Firstly, for those not-in-the-know, D1 is the Japanese Drift Series. There is an American series called Formula D. This is the professional drifting series birthed from the sport that took over Japans snowy mountain roads decades ago.

D1 Grand Prix
Formula D

Moving on.. Despite originally being a Japan only event, it is now a world wide event. This year competators represented 10 countries including Japan, USA, UK, Malaysa, and New Zealand. One American driver, Vaugn Gitten Jr. has beaten the Japanese in a D1 exhibition event.

The winner of the 2006 D1 series went to a first time series winner - Kumakubo in his Team Orange Subaru Impreza GDB (RWD conversion). It was such an emotional win the anouncer said Kumakubo was crying during his final race (he had won by points when his only competition, 'Nomuken' lost a tandem battle). Nomuken "the monkey man" eeked by a first time series competator, Darren McNamara from Ireland, but came in third. Kumakubo lost his tandem battle to his Team Orange teamate, Taniguchi(?), in his twin Impreza. And Teniguchi won the days event. (not sure where he was in points, but not top 3)

If you are unfamiliar with drifting, crawl out from under your rock and read this: "What is D1GP?"

What is drifting?

Drifting is a high-skill level motor-sport in which drivers control a car while it slides from side to side at high speed through a fixed course. It is similar to Rally racing on ice barn, but is done on a tarmac and judged on speed, angle of attack, execution and style rather than just who finishes the fastest. Drift cars are typically compact to midsized, rear-wheel-drive sport cars. The goal is to apply enough power to the rear wheels to break the tires' traction and initiate a slide while accelerating the vehicle forward, or "drift" Once a drift is initiated, it must be maintained through the turn using nearly a full power, a tap of braking and precise counter steering.

History of Drifting

The Japanese towns of Rokkosan, Hakone, Irohazaka, and various hill climbs in Nagano are all steeped in legends of the origins of drifting. No one can really pinpoint drifting's actual birthplace but the movement started in the mid 1960s. Like many forms of professional racing today, the modern interpretation of drifting evolved from a form of illegal street racing held on windy mountain roads called touge (pronounced toe-geh). Touge was practiced by extremely dedicated enthusiasts known as rolling zoku (pronounced zoe-koo) whose only goal was to trim precious milliseconds off their time between two points. Eventually, some of these rolling zoku began to adopt driving techniques used by rally drivers, techniques to clear a corner quickly without sacrificing too much momentum. As touge drivers started to emulate the rally racers techniques, they discovered that not only did their driving performance and times improve, the rush was much more intense. From touge, drifting was born.

The Drifting Movement Evolves

About the same time touge evolved into drifting, some of the rolling zoku came off the mountains to bring their new sport to the urban jungles of Japan. The urban drifters added their own flavor to the sport with their flamboyant driving style and outrageous vehicles. Eventually, word of the spectacle spread and fans began showing up to witness drifting's amazing drivers and machines. But as popular as drifting had become, it was relegated to underground status by the risks and image associated with illegal street contests.

Eventually, the popularity of drifting propelled the sport into the mainstream and competitors started to organize and take their home-grown trials to the track. The gatherings were originally just for fun until the cars and driving skills became so refined that things started to get competitive. From the initial organized trials, regional drift contest open to the public and professionally judged, known as ikaten (pronounced ee-kah-ten) created by Video-OPTION, were began all major cities of Japan.

How it is judged today:

Drifters go one at a time and are judged on their line, speed & style as they hit 3 clipping points within 3ft of the markers. Then Best 16 is narrowed down to first place through twin-battles (aka: tandem, tsuiso), judged on skill and ability to cut in on the line of the lead car, or pull away from following car, while drifting with a good line through the tight corners. There is no checkerd flag, and an 89-horse-power Toyota Trueno from the 1980's can beat a 400hp to 770hp late model car.

The Atmosphere:

When you go to a drift event you can walk the pit where all the teams are. You can grab a used tire or a part of a broken bumper and get it signed by your favorite drifters. You can sit in the cars, pull on the throttle from under the hood, singe hair off your leg by standing next to a 3ft. flame shooting out of the exhaust.. it's much more personal than (what I imagine) a more mainstream motorsport is like. Actually there was an event where some Nascar drivers competed in an drift exhibition against the Japanese and it was also the only drift event I've been to where the pit was closed off

Anyways, if you like clouds of tire smoke, tiny bits of rubber sticking in your hair (I have some stuck in there now!), beautiful exotic cars sliding around and bumper killing impacts; you will like drifting.

[edit on 12/17/2006 by ViolatoR]

posted on Dec, 17 2006 @ 09:01 PM
Correction: last nights winner was Tanaka not taneguchi. Sorry, but I got a terrible memory, your lucky I got the "T" part right.

posted on Dec, 17 2006 @ 09:12 PM
Today was the first ever D1 Grand Prix All Star Event and what an event it was. Its hard to think of another event where such great driving skill was displayed. Team Orange did their own unauthorized demo before the Best 16 started. Neither Team Orange Imprezza qualified, but they took to the track for some fun. After a tandem run, the two Imprezzas drifted the track in opposite directions! Flying towards eachother sideways at over 80mph on the embankment, they met at the hairpin turn and flawlessly drifted past eachother.

The rest of the event showcased the enormous talent comming from Ireland and Malaysia. Once again Darren McNamara tore it up in his Nissan SR20DET powered Toyota ("Hachi-Roku") AE86, kicking Vaugh Gitten Jr.'s butt despite JR having a 770hp '05 Mustang. And Tengku Djan, a prince from Malaysia had a tremendous Best 16 match with his Hachi-Roku, but couldnt make it past the Best 8.

Todays event winner was the 40+ year old Ken Nomura (Nomuken, Monkeyman) in his Nissan Skyline R34.

I hope there are some pics up soon so I can show you guys what your missing.

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