AMAZING!!! Check out violent high speed drifting at its best, from this helmet-cam video of D1 Grand Prix driver Naoto Suenaga from Team Orange in his missile – an RPS13 Nissan 180SX “battle car.” Most people know Ebisu for its legendary Minami Course (the famous South Course used in D1GP competition), but check out Naoto as he drifts the high-speed Higashi Course (East Course) at Ebisu Circuit in Fukushima Japan. (more…)
With help from sponsors like Falken Tire, OEM Audio Plus, Turn 14 Distribution, Whiteline Suspension, Motul, Spec Clutch, Mann Engineering, Flossy Shift Knobs, and M7 Japan, it's pretty crazy how quickly our inaugural 86FEST came together! Just a few weeks ago, I was driving at a Volkswagen event at Big Willow, and got to talking with the Speed Ventures organizers, Dave and Aaron, about how cool it would be if we could get a bunch of FR-S, BRZ, and AE86 owners together at a track day. They both expressed a lot of interest in the idea - especially since we have been thinking about ways to work together for nearly two years! Read more...
Could this be the very first Toyota GT86 that has crashed at a racing event? Everyone has been talking about the debut of the Toyota GT86 (Scion FR-S/Subaru BR-Z) in Japan’s D1 Grand Prix Series. Also newsworthy is the fact that Falken Tire was making its return to D1 with this attention grabbing car, which was built by Up Garage, a chain of Japanese used parts stores. (more…)
Oh whaaaaat!!! The rumors are true! Just released today – it seems that D1 Grand Prix Champion driver Daigo Saito will be joining good friend Robbie Nishida at Bridges Racing to campaign a two-car team in the Formula Drift Championship. I suppose the question everyone has on their minds NOW is which car will Daigo be driving? (more…)
When we were contacted by the organizers of the Spocom Tour to work with them as a promotional partner, we were definitely excited by the opportunities it would bring! Although the Southern California-based members of our MotorMavens Crew gained a little experience in throwing and promoting a big outdoor automotive event (Mass Appeal at Ken Block's Irwindale Gymkhana event), we had little to no experience in seeing what it's like to run a big indoor car show. We thought it would be extremely interesting to see the inner workings of a big car show series from people who had a track record of doing it, and so began the relationship between MotorMavens and Spocom.
The first thing we noticed about the Spocom Tour - it didn't feel like a normal car show from our standpoint! It felt like a big, fun party - a hype party that just happened to have a bunch of friends and cars crowded in between the vendor exhibits! Read more...
During Formula Drift‘s first Florida event last weekend, there were many bobbles, a few spins, and even a couple of wrecks. The new layout on Palm Beach International Raceway proved to be a challenge for drivers, event organizers, and media personnel alike. The slippery track was slightly technical, with a high speed and high angle entry, and rounded off with a smoky finish. (more…)
Oh snap! Now this is newsworthy! I’ve been hearing about this car for quite some time now, and I’ve been waiting for its debut with eager anticipation! It seems that our favorite Koala-faced ex-D1 Grand Prix series champion Ryuji Miki will be at Wall Speedway in New Jersey, debuting the Lexus SC430 Formula Drift competition car that was recently built for him, thanks to the good folks at Apex’i in Orange County CA!
The masterminds behind this project, Masaki Nakayama and Chuck Griffice from the United States arm of Apex Integration have been gracious enough to keep me updated with the build, but we’ve been keeping all the information under wraps until now! (more…)
HAHAHAHA AWESOME! I love how people have been uploading all their old VHS videos to YouTube. I wonder how many people have seen this old school video!
It’s not the craziest drifting action video or anything, but that’s not the point anyway. I love it because it shows the real style and culture of hashiriya life in Japan. This is what it’s really like… just a bunch of friends screwing around and having fun with their cars!
This particular video features a particular AE86 crew based in the Tokyo/Fussa area; these are the members of a drift team with a pretty strange name… Hey Man! (As if all drift team names weren’t strange.) I love this video because it shows old school footage of some of my real good friends that I hang out with when I’m in Japan.
The driver intros are pretty funny too… these guys look soooo young in the video! This video has a special cameo appearance by none other than Hiroshi Takahashi (Kaicho) from the legendary AE86 drift team, RUNNING FREE. The very first time I met Hiroshi was when he came out to Buttonwillow Raceway (2000? 2001?) to do a drift demo here in the United States as part of a special event hosted by SpeedTrial USA and Club4AG. (Props to Tommy and Moto for arranging that event!) Hiroshi is an AWESOME drifter, and a dedicated Toyota guy… in fact, he now works at one of the Toyota dealers in the Tokyo area. (I won’t say which one, so people don’t go and bug him at work.)
Shinji Minowa, who’s rocking an old school surfer haircut in the video, eventually became a D1 Grand Prix driver sponsored by Toyo Tires. He actually came out with Hiroshi to do the drift demo at Buttonwillow, which was the first time we met. Since then I’ve had the chance to hang out with him in Japan and the USA several times. Just like all the other members of the Hey Man crew, Shinji is super cool. He has a shop near the Yokota area called Hey Man Products… Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing more stuff about Shinji, his AE86 and his shop, let me know. I can probably arrange it!
This video also features some in-car footage with Charlie Tyson! Again, this video isn’t super crazy like one of Ueo’s sick manji videos or anything, but it’s one of the few times I’ve seen Charlie on a video, so I think it’s cool. He’s a pretty low key guy, but the crazy thing is, he’s the very first member of the Hey Man crew that I ever interacted with; he helped me get a set of redline taillights for my kouki AE86 back in 1999 or 2000 when I didn’t even know him! (Thanks a lot to PJ Peji for hooking that up!)
We also see other friends like Jimmy, Maurice, and Christine in the video… but the guy with the Hitler mustache is none other than Robbie Nishida, who most US drifting fans know. I was introduced to Robbie at the Ebisu Circuit booth at Tokyo Auto Salon in 2004. Kumakubo introduced him as a good friend of his, but then I recognized his face from an old AE86 video I had… I think it was an AE86 Club video, but I’m not sure. Robbie told us he would be interested in drifting in the United States, so my friend Kenta and I walked over to the other side of the show with him and introduced him to Nick Fousekis from Falken Tires. In fact, Kumakubo walked over with us too, and he told Nick if Falken would sponsor Robbie with tires, Kumakubo would let Robbie drive one of his own cars. (The famous K-Style S13 K-truck!!!)
At the very first American drift event he ever competed at (Formula D Wall Speedway 2005), Robbie made Formula D history by beating Mopar’s unbeatable Iceman, Samuel Hubinette in a tandem battle! It was pretty damn epic for that time. Everyone was like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!! I remember the reaction in the pit area and grandstands… EVERYONE was going bananas and jumping up and down when the judges announced that Robbie won the tandem match. It didn’t matter if they were supporters of Falken or not… even people from other tire brands were jumping up and down, because they had never seen anyone beat Samuel in tandem until that day. What a good way to start your drifting career in the USA!
Anyway, Robbie will be driving an R35 Nissan GTR in this year’s Formula D Championship series, so if you see him at an event, make sure to walk up to him and say, “Hey Man!”
:: Antonio Alvendia
Last night, D1GP driver Atsushi Kuroi from legendary Osaka drift team Tinker had a deadly accident while he was riding his motorcycle. Although there aren't too many details known about the accident, Kuroi san's kohai (apprentice) Kazuya Bai says that Kuroi's thigh was apparently injured from the accident, and even though the hospital staff worked diligently to stabilize him, Kuroi san's wounds were too severe, and he passed away within four hours of arriving at the hospital. Read more...
Since all these AE86 friends have been coming by to hang out and look through my photo albums, filled with old school AE86 photos from over 10 years ago, I felt that it would only be fitting to dig up some old school AE86 photos for our website too. You see, I have to exercise extreme control in order to avoid posting up AE86 photos and stories every day on the MotorMavens site. Hell, if it were solely up to me, I could make it a site that only had AE86 and old school Toyota content... but we wouldn't want to alienate all our readers who own other car marques.
Today though, I'm going to indulge and share images of one of my favorite AE86s from a stash of photos I took FIVE YEARS AGO. Yes, I took these photos way back in 2005. The red Sprinter Trueno in the photos is the famous "Yama red" AE86, owned by hachiroku driver Yamashita Koichi from the legendary Kanagawa-based drift team, Running Free. Running Free has a small handful of original members, but Yamashita is definitely the most famous in the group. Read more...
“Evvvvverybody’s talking bout the good old days, the good old days…” With the next round of the D1 Grand Prix USA series coming up this weekend in New Jersey, I can’t help but think back to “the good old days” of D1 events in the USA. It was just so exciting back then. It was so exciting to watch the D1 drivers from Japan drifting with their high end competition cars; and you got to hear the awesome mixture of turbo sounds and screeching tires. D1 was not plagued with the V8 blaaaaap blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap blap blaaaaaap that is now becoming the norm in American drifting events.
Even though Formula D was still strong even back then, what the D1 events brought to its American fans was a taste of Japanese drifting culture… it was so exciting. I really hope the new people who throw D1 events in the USA can build the series back to its former glory. It just used to be so epic.
Just look at this photo of Atsushi Kuroi from Osaka based drift team Tinker… his car is so bad ass! As is he! I miss the old days.
:: Motor Mavens
While searching for great footage of AE86s in honor of Hachiroku day, our goal was to find something a little different, maybe some racing footage. We came across this Katshuhiro Ueo video that 86 John did an awesome remix of. Ueo always provided sick AE86 action and we couldn’t resist this video – there is some epic driving going on! Ueo’s dope skills and the nimble handling the AE86 are something to behold. Don’t forget to Check out Steven Starr’s video posts for more Hachiroku action. Enjoy!
For those who weren’t there, in celebration of August 6th “Hachiroku Day” that was made into a worldwide holiday by our friend HerbrockOne on Club4AG several years ago… we just thought we’d dig into the vaults for this one.
Were YOU there? We were. It was August 31, 2003. The legendary Battle for Irwindale… and the first inaugural D1 Grand Prix event on US soil. AE86 vs S15. Katsuhiro Ueo from Kyushu Japan vs Nobuteru Taniguchi from Hiroshima Japan.
The video footage may be old, but the memories from this night are vivid as ever, in our minds. What an epic event. Listen to the crowd in the video. I still get goosebumps on my neck. Being on top of the grand stands watching the cars run so close to each other. The videos we had all seen at our friends house were now real in front of us. This event was the first time the chant “One more time!” was screamed from the fans mouths cause we all were in such disbelief at how awesome each run was we just had to say wait a minute wait a minute “One more time” cause that was just too unbelievable.
Long live the AE86!
:: Steve Starr