If you’ve been tuning in to MotorMavens lately, you’ll know that Joe Ayala and I recently returned from a trip to Norway to cover the three day Gatebil Festival in Rudskogen. Thanks to Team Yellow Drift and Racing, we were able to shoot virtually nonstop action as well as live comfortably in between drifting spectacles. We enjoyed local cuisine, local people, and most importantly – local race cars. Joe and I saw an endless number of home built drift and grip machines, ranging from 100-1000hp strong. No vehicle is turned away at Gatebil.
I must say though, my absolute favorite car of them all was owned by one of our hosts and Team Yellow veteran, Dag Harlem. You may remember his Daigo Saito inspired Toyota from a previous post. Dag’s JZX100 MarkII pulled my lower jaw to the floor the minute I laid eyes upon it’s full BN Sports widebody kit, enormous GT-style wing, and outrageous Team Yellow/Rockstar Energy livery. After hearing how I felt about the car, it will be no surprise to you that I nearly cried tears of joy when Dag offered to let me drive it the very next day. When he first asked me, I instinctively and enthusiastically replied, “Yeah!” However, during the following car ride over to another shop, I had to get to the bottom of it. I nervously asked, “I wasn’t sure if you were joking before and it’s driving me crazy not knowing, so – Were you serious when you offered to let me drive your car tomorrow?” Dag quickly replied, “Of course!” and went on to explain to me how reliable and capable the car is. With a 1JZ producing 520hp and 620nm (456ft/lbs) of torque, a caged and spot welded chassis, full Ikeya Formula footwork, and a 4.3:1 final gear ratio, this MarkII is a step above the rest. “It’s a bit lazy below five thousand RPMs, then it explodes. It really explodes!” said Dag.
I can’t begin to thank Dag enough for this incredible experience. I didn’t know it until after I drove it, but apparently I’m the only person to have drifted the JZX100 besides Dag himself. What an honor! There are many more details though, that Dag didn’t know until after I’d driven the car, some of which he still may not know. haha For me, July 11th was a day of many new experiences. Among others, it was my first time drifting a car with more than 300hp, first time drifting a right hand drive vehicle, the first day I drifted on an actual race track, and the day I’d first drifted in a gear above second. Yes, I’d never even drifted in third. There had never been enough power or room for it and on this day in Norway, I confidently and comfortably explored both third and fourth gear drifting. What an exhilarating experience.
I’m sure you’ve already clicked play above (you impatient bastard, you), but if not, please take a moment to share with me the single greatest day of my life… So far. 😉
:: Justin Shreeve
Look forward to a full edit of Gatebil Rudskogen in the upcoming 2011 DVD from Justin Shreeve and Joe Ayala!