Event: Motor Games 2014 – FD Japan V.1

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I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow Formula Drift here in the States in the loosest sense…

My good friend Karl competes in FD, and the extent of my knowledge is how well he placed in each competition.  Sometimes I’ll watch the live stream, and if he advances, I’ll wait until the next run.  Other than that I seriously could not care any less about what happens in FD; who else is competing, who is winning, who did what, etc.  It simply doesn’t interest me. The cars (in my opinion) are not aesthetically pleasing, and the series doesn’t properly reflect what I think is drifting.  It’s like watching a drag race to the first corner, and then a destruction derby.  The judging is flawed, and the rules are incredibly contrive.  Actually, I was approached once by a firm that handles some of FD’s web marketing, and I politely turned them down.  It’s not a series I would typically promote, nor one that I would want to represent.  Yes, it is entertaining.  Yes, there is a lot of talent.  No, it does not embody what I think drifting is.

That entire paragraph was my PERSONAL opinion.  I’m not asking you to agree, I just wanted to put it out there.  I have spent a lot of time in Japan, and have grown accustom to what drifting is based on what I’ve experienced there.  Which, mind you, is where the sport originated.

This year, 2014, FD paired with Japanese event hosts MSC to put down the first ever Formula D Japan event at Fuji Speedway.  The series will continue later in the year with a second event at Okayama Circuit.  It was a major part of the event Motor Games, that was as previously stated, held at Fuji Speedway this past weekend.  The event as a concept on the whole was very cool.  It had drifting, time attack, motocross stunt stuff, a car show, etc.  It was literally the whole package.  Despite all this, I’m not sure that it drew the crowd the promoters had hoped for.  General admission was fairly high, and I’m not sure the attraction was promoted well enough.  I mean, from a series organizational stand point, I really question the idea of a US organization starting a two-part series in Japan without any foreign participants.  Yeah, they have MSC’s backing, but I still don’t understand it.  Isn’t D1, D1SL, D1 Venus, MSC and Drift Muscle enough?  I wasn’t the only one thinking this either…

Ken Block put on some sort of similar exhibition awhile ago in Odaiba pairing up with D1, and it had similar results.  It seems like the organizers are trying to replicate the type of events they have here in Japan and it just isn’t working.  There’s a good reason for that; the audience is completely different.  Yeah, there are a select few who are really into it, but from my experience it’s a minority.

 

NOB and Orido were selected to be the judges for this event.  After the fact, on Taniguchi’s blog he wrote:

 

“逆に、 「よその団体は敵だから」とばかりに、 力を貸さないどころか、 むしろ足を引っ張るようなことをする方もいらっしゃるみたいです。”” みんなで協力しあって、 業界を盛り上げるべきだと僕は思います。

 

All drifting organizations hold something unique to themselves.  They really need to stop trying to solidify and just maintain as their own series.  FD will never be D1, FD will never be Drift Muscle, and vic versa.  They are truly different, so literally…stop bothering us.   You can read the whole post here…that is, if you can read Japanese.  I must agree, not only because it aligns with my personal opinion, but because NOB agrees.  It’s not necessarily downplaying FD in anyway, it’s just stating that IS in fact different than the series that exist in Japan.

 

 

 

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With that being said, FD Japan seemed to be an entirely new experience.  While the FD name may be there, the simple truth of the matter is that there were hardly any foreign drivers in attendance.  So, I’m actually not quite sure what the purpose was.  Trying to start the series in Japan? There is no real point if the contenders can’t compete there.  I mean, Mike and Aasbo were in attendance, but I think in part because they’re factory backed.  Other than that…to be honest I’m not sure.  The whole thing seems misrepresented.  There are no FD drivers, and in their place there are FD banners and stickers.  The majority of teams can’t afford to compete overseas.  It ended up being more of an exhibition than anything.

 

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On the other hand though, this worked in the events favor…at least from my standpoint.  The cars were all from Japan, all had Japan styling, and all had proper power plants.  It was basically just another Japanese event with FD stickers everywhere.  You had cars like the Car Modify JZX…

 

 

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…that was obviously a domestic product…domestic to Japan that is…

 

 

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…and the Guild N’ One, Tanaka Engineering Celica/Supra which is an obvious example of my bias.  This car is insanely cool.

 

 

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Such an aggressive look for the rear end of the MK4.  Love the weight reduction in the doors…

 

 

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TMS S14.

 

 

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Tomei JZX100 that competes in other series.

 

 

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I can’t say I’ve ever seen this S15 before…

 

 

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Taniguch Atsushi‘s incredible machine.  This was by far one of my favorite cars in attendance that day.  Typically seen in the D1 series, he is one of the drivers that was on point this day for exposure.

 

 

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Couple various Mazdas…

 

 

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Bold World R34 driven by Fujio-san resting in the paddock.  Awesome livery by RYO.

 

 

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Rear shot.

 

 

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Awesome Soarer with Run Free aero.

 

 

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RE Amemiya Hurricane FD3S quietly awaiting it’s turn on track.

 

 

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Mad Mike was a hit at the event, driving his FD Asia FD car (?).  He laid down a couple great laps.

 

 

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As well as many other cars…

 

I’m going to leave off here for now, although we have much more coverage from this event.  I’ll try to wrap up the drifting portion in the next post, and move on to what we really like here; the time attack.  We’ll also take a look at the car show, a special look at our partners in crime Garage Mak, and a totally seperate RX7 show that was on hand to celebrate 7’s day.  Lot’s more to come!  Huge thanks to Sekinei and Kingery for grabbing coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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