It’s that time of year again, when drivers from all corners of the globe converge on what is known as ‘drift heaven’ in the hills of northern Japan. The two-day event has been made famous in thousands of images, videos, and stories of what make Ebisu Drift Matsuri’s such a unique experience. Here’s a look at this year’s Autumn Drift Matsuri!
While you can be certain to find action anywhere you look at Ebisu, there was just no denying that this year’s Autumn Matsuri was dialed down a few notches when compared with past events. After only eight months of time to recover from a huge earthquake and nuclear disaster (which was right on Ebisu’s doorstep), the mood and spirit were both there, but it felt like there was something missing when it came to that infamous Matsuri craziness.
But enough about all that, this IS drift heaven we are talking about, and there was lots to see!
It wouldn’t be a true Matsuri without drift missiles, and there was definitely no shortage of them. Even with an early 8:30am arrival, I was greeted with the sounds of scraping metal on concrete and the smell of burning rubber. The HCR32 police missile from previous years has taken quite a beating, but was still going strong!
How about a battle scarred Soarer backed by some autumn color?
All that used rubber really piles up!
Another familiar face, just a bit more battered and bruised than before. He seemed to be one of the only ones this year to consistently tackle Minami’s jump at full speed.
Onto a bit cleaner material, this BNR32 was looking fine!
As was this FD, stretching its legs a bit on the school course.
Mr. Noriyaro himself, Alexi Smith was there in a R32 Skyline, which had very cool and clever Asahi beer-can-styled graphics that he created himself. His usual car is a JZX100.
The garage areas were crowded throughout the day, with everyone in and out to change tires, make repairs, and hammer out damaged panels.
…and just for having a quick chill or a chat to share stories before heading back out onto the track.
Up on the north course, turn one is a great place to catch some high speed entries around its wide hairpin.
And of course the occasional wall clip!
I was really digging the look of this 180, but unfortunately I never got to see it in action.
We can’t have a drift festival without a few AE86′s can we?
Heading out for a spin on the Driftland course. This is one of the most popular courses for learning, and there was a live webcam broadcasting the action as well.
Attacking the school course in a classic!
X70 Cressida, correct me if I’m wrong? (Edit: GX71 Chaser!)
Running a bit rich, aren’t we?
Very cool Laurel on the Driftland course.
Love the sound of 4A-GE’s in the morning!
I’ll finish up Part I here, but don’t let that stop you from checking out all the rest of the action in the gallery below. Be back soon with Part II of our coverage. Enjoy!