Outsiders – Bihoku Highland Circuit PT.2
Starting off where we left off in Part 1, we’d finally gotten our first taste of drifting at a Japanese circuit and we were loving it! The guys were starting to get a feel for the track and the fact we had it pretty much to ourselves meant the whole affair was very laid back.
However we weren’t alone for long, but the company that had showed up was a more than welcome sight!
The guys from Total Car Shop V FACTORY had driven all the way up from their shop in the Hyogo Prefecture to spend the day at Bihoku.
They’d brought along a couple of their D1 Street Legal machines in the form of this amazing C35 Nissan Laurel.
And this PS13 Silvia which looked like it was a bit of a work in progress.
First out on the circuit was the PS13, and my god the driver did not hold back for a minute!
Within one lap he was throwing the car with a huge flick past the wall and pretty much backwards into the first corner.
Time after time.
If his “no fear” approach was anything to go by I was looking forward to seeing if the big C35 Laurel would be thrown around in a similar manner.
And I wasn’t dissapointed!
This was my first time seeing a C35 Laurel in the flesh, let alone a fully fledged D1SL car. I’m not too clued up on the engine specs but whatever turbo was under the bonnet sounded like it was capable of sucking up the tarmac from underneath the car.
At the time V Factory were the current leaders and would end up coming 2ND place in the D1 Street Legal championship with their driver Kiyofumi Jiku-ya and his S15 Silvia. With cars and drivers behind them of this caliber it’s easy to see why!
Here’s a little video footage so you can get a real feel for how quickly this thing picked up speed.
Next up was this kouki S14 Silvia from NK Company – another shop that also competes in the D1 Street Legal series.
NK Company are another shop that specializes in all manner of things from tuning, bodywork, painting, maintenance, the whole lot. However they also seem to be pretty skilled at building some crazy looking cars. This particular S14 sports the company’s own aero kit, a full blue Bride interior, and a paintjob using the wild selection of MAZIORA paints that NK Company stocks.
The driver of the car obviously has some history in drifting to be rocking some drift club stickers from the 90s!
Despite the incredible paintwork and rare aero the owner wasn’t afraid of hammering the car on the circuit all day long!
One of my favourite cars of the day was this clean S15 Silvia, the driver was throwing down big entries into the first corner!
I also later found out apparently he’s a Super GT driver and used to pilot the famous Calsonic R34 Skyline in JGTC! This S15 is his way of escaping from the day job and not having to worry about lap times or race positions.
Here he is throwing it down!
The absolute highlight of the day for me personally was drifting legend Akinori Utsumi rocking up with his RC926/TOYO D1GP S15 Silvia.
This 660PS SR20DET powered monster is easily one of the coolest cars in D1GP today, so getting a chance to have a good look around it was a special moment indeed.
The team had decided to bring the car up for a bit of mid-season testing and to try out some new ideas.
Utsumi is one of the old school drifters in Japan like Taniguchi, Imamura, Kazama, etc – if you’ve ever had much interest in the early days of drifting in Japan you’ll know him for his bright blue NIGHTZONE Onevia and appearances in Option videos back in the day.
When he wasn’t blasting around the circuit we grabbed a few minutes to meet and have a chat with the man himself. We were curious as to why the car was running an obscene amount of front negative camber? “Were just experimenting with the setup, it’s not easy to drive like this though!”.
The car had a few niggling issues throughout the day, but I can imagine an engine with this much power and tuning could have a tendency to be a little temperamental. Here you can see the huge Garret TO4Z turbo in the engine bay.
Despite the huge power the car seemed to have a crazy amount of traction and was easily the fastest car on the circuit.
The first corner was the main focus, in fact a lot of the guys didn’t even drift the rest of the track and just kept on practicing throwing the car into the first corner as fast and with as much angle as possible – it didn’t always go to plan, but when it did it was pretty mind blowing!
Here’s a little raw footage of Utsumi in action – make sure you turn your speakers up!
After drifting pretty much non-stop from 9am till 6pm it was time to pack up and head back to our hotel and attempt to get some sleep. We had a big day travelling over to Hiroshima to check out 326 POWER then stopping at V FACTORY on the way back to Osaka.
The one thing that really left an impact on me about Bihoku was the sheer simplicity of it all. You turn up, pay the money, and as long as you respect the circuit you can drift all day long. With so much practice time on offer you can see how the Japanese have got to the level they have with they’re drifting.
Stay tuned for more Outsiders coverage soon.
– Daniel Bridle
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