DSport Tokyo Auto Salon Tour 2017 Day 6 Part 1 - (East of) Tokyo Drift

No, you haven't woken up to some weird time-warp phenomenon where you've been sent back to 2017 in the hopes of figuring out who your eventual killer is (spoiler alert: it's your future self who wanted to make sure you didn't upload those embarrassing extreme shuffleboard videos you made that ruined your life forever). 

Yes, this post about the 2017 DSport TAS really is coming to you in 2019. The reason for that is I'd never actually finished my series of posts on the tour thanks to my hiatus from the blog. My last one was about day 5 and so left off before one of the main events - the first ever DSport drift event in Japan - which happened the following day. I know I promised to talk about my more recent Japan trip but it didn't quite feel right to do that and leave the story of my first voyage there unfinished.

And so, I waded through my photos from that time and tried to scrape the dregs of whatever memories I had left together into the following. Please enjoy this little trip back to a time not so long ago in a land only kinda far away...

The day started early with us all boarding a charter bus and greeting the sunrise by crossing Tokyo Bay into Chiba prefecture to the east of the big city.

Our destination was the Mobara Twin Circuit - called that because it combines a small road course with a large go-kart track.

Here's the main straight of the road course... 
...and here's a view of the go-kart track from the top of the main paddock building.

In the pits a huge selection of cars had gathered running the gamut from immaculate...

...to the not so much...
...to the sweet Jesus what is that?

That, if you're wondering is a Mitsuoka Le-Seyde, and it was owned by this nice and very enthusiastic dude:

Don't worry if you've never heard of the Le-Seyde - or of its manufacturer Mitsuoka for that matter. Mitsuoka is a fairly low-volume company that mainly sells cars based off of larger companies' models (their most well-known car, the Orochi, is best described as what a Ferrari would look like if mutant catfish were considered sexy). The Le-Seyde for instance is actually an S13 Silvia underneath. See the SR20 under that ultra-long bonnet?

Even in Japan these cars are rare since only 500 were unleashed by Mitsuoka on the general public. 

Ungainly-looking as it might be the combo of rear-wheel drive plus the long wheelbase made for a spectacular drift car to watch. Drifting by the way, in case you hadn't guessed yet, was the main reason we came out to Mobara. DSport had managed to bring together a huge lineup of drivers ranging from devoted amateurs to D1GP stars like Nob "The Pimp" Taniguchi and Takahiro Ueno.
Here's Nob-san on the left in the black jacket chatting with Ueno-san in his Vertex race suit and other drivers.

Before the fireworks started we had a chance to wander the paddock and ogle all the cars.
NOB had joined the event unofficially so he was driving one of his personal cars instead of one of the full-bore D1GP race cars. Still, a widebody S13 piloted by a former D1GP and 3-time Super GT GT300 champion is nothing to sneeze at.

No surprise with this being a drift meet that there were more S-chassis cars present than you could shake a stick shit at.

Unlike the US drift scene there were plenty of big sedans too like this awesome itasha Toyota Chaser.

 Team Tetsujin also had a cool Chaser with some nifty custom touches..
 ...like these awesome katana handles glued to the rear window.
Now how about this Nissan Laurel?
Can you guess that it had a lady driver? By the way, that was one of the great things about this meet: unlike at US drift events where the driver roster is 99 and five/eighths percent a sausage fest, here there was a sizable number of girls. They were still a small minority of course but far more than in the States.

In fact, Ueno-san's wife was a talented drifter herself, throwing around her personal R32 sedan in a manner that would make your average American "drifter" seem like a filthy casual.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how super nice she was too. She brought along this kotatsu for us to warm up with and made sure we knew that we were welcome to have a seat anytime. A kotatsu is a low wooden table with a heater underneath - perfect for cold Japanese winters.
I managed to try it out later on with some of the other tour attendees - that's Alex on the right and his wife Joana is on the left - and one of the aforementioned lady drivers. After I shot this photo, Ueno-san's wife joined us and handed out some keychains as gifts - I got a little plastic sushi keychain as a memento. What an awesome lady!

Aside from the Silvias and sedans you had plenty of the usual cars you'd expect at a Japanese car meet.

Of course you had 86s, the red one I showed earlier was particularly clean including the engine bay which was very tidy.
The newer version of the 86 was also present and correct. It's amazing how spotless a lot of the drift cars seemed to be despite being driven hard. Speaking of looking immaculate...

This USDM FR-S was crazy clean. Check out the details in the engine bay!

With those lovely velocity stacks and a presentation that tidy I can't get salty that it stayed firmly hard-parked throughout the event!
This car didn't run on track either but try not to salivate at an R34 GT-R in the rare Millenium Jade paint color!

There were some RX-7s...not LS-swapped, naturally, because Japan.
A 370Z in full D1GP spec is to be expected but if you thought the Mitsuoka would be the most surprising drift car present you'd be wrong.
Even being in Japan I wasn't really expecting these Daihatsu Copens to be showing up to a drift meet. They weren't slouches on track either as you'll see later.

But my favorite drifter of all had to be this guy:
A Daihatsu Mira Gino has to rank absolutely nowhere on the typical list of good drift cars but nobody told this badass dude. I mean, just to show you how steeped in awesome he is check out the packing job he did at the end of the day:
Proof positive that you don't have to be a D1GP star with a big buck contract, a 1000hp sled and a gajillion Instagram followers to be an awesome drifter. Compared to my trackday efforts I feel like a poor, basic little b*tch versus this driving god. I'm not worthy to even inherit his take-off tires.
Some people on the other hand don't need to pack their cars to the plimsoll mark 'cause they're baller and have a sweet support ride like this vintage Datsun pickup.

What's that you say? You're not hipster enough to rock a set of retro wheels? Then how about...
...a Toyota Alphard on OEM R35 GT-R wheels?

Eh, but if you're a real big-time dude with f*ck you money and who really has to rock out with your c*ck out then you gotta go with this:
 A dekotora car transporter. Go eat some cake, peasants!

You guys should know by now all about my love for itashas so I gotta sneak in this Lancer that I found hiding behind the main building. Nozomi after all is Love Live's best girl. (Yeah, come at me, bro. I'll unleash my kamehameha on ya!)

"So where's the crazy drift action, Oliver? This was a drift meet, right - not a meeting of Import Otaku Anonymous?" is probably what you're thinking right about now. Well, no worries, I have plenty of action pics to share but I'm afraid that'll have to go in part 2. This post has already been a huge photogasm but I hope you've found the pics entertaining and will come back for the next installment. Until then, drive safe!


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