Drift Day at Mobara Circuit
I've been in Japan for awhile now and seen a great deal of awesome cars but never really got the chance to indulge myself in any trips to the track. Japan has many famous tracks that I've been watching for years in various JDM car DVDs and I felt it was time to capitalize on my time here and head out to one. In the beginning of the year, some good friends of mine from my drift club Freemode in California came to Japan to visit and tour Japan. It was really awesome to see some friends from home; even more so since they are car friends of mine. I remember sitting in barbeques back in America with these guys watching drifting videos for hours and eating moderately cooked chicken. To have the chance to hang out with my car club friends and enjoy our favorite hobby that came from Japan, in Japan, was an awesome opportunity.
As soon as they arrived I tried to show them the best that I'd seen thus far. First night here I took them to touge (winding mountain roads) and let them hop into the driver seat of my Skyline. Second day we were off to famous car shops and popular shopping districts throughout Tokyo. Before long we even made it out to the largest aftermarket Japanese car show in world, Tokyo Auto Salon. It was Japanese car nirvana. Near the end of their trip though, one item remained on the list to show them, a track day.
We headed out to the nearest convenience store (btw they call them combini, and hence forth will be referred to as such) and picked up our favorite magazine, Drift Tengoku. Translated, the magazine reads Drift Heaven, and is fittingly titled I'd say. Inside you can catch all the latest in the Japanese drift culture. In the back of the magazine, there is even a long list of all the tracks in Japan with their drift event calendars, prices, and detailed information.
Our favorite DVD series about Japanese car culture is of course JDM Insider and in one of their earlier DVDs, they visit a drift track by the name of Mobara Twin Circuit. Mobara is located in Chiba east of Tokyo (roughly 3 hours from my house) and was having an event the last weekend before my friends were leaving. So we packed up friday night and left at an unpleasant 3 A.M. and headed to Chiba to live what we'd watched in our favorite DVD.
I actually made a video to illustrate our trip, so please take a look!:
We arrived in Mobara at about 6 A.M. with no idea where to find the track. We wandered to a combini and noticed two drift-ish style cars hanging out. We snuck in behind them and followed them as they left. We were hoping they were going to the track but were prepared to follow them to their houses just to be sure.
Luckily they were heading to the track and we ran into a long line of 50 or so drift cars waiting to be let into Mobara Circuit. We waited for a short while and were let in to park and get situated.
My car fit in nicely and I began to feel my loins quiver with joy and anticipation for the coming day. You can see my friend Drew also preparing himself for exciting car fun.
One thing I wasn't too excited about though was the extremely cold temperatures. Most of the day the weather hung around a crippling 30 degrees. I had to wrap my face like a ninja just to avoid from ice forming upon my lung tissue.
The view from where I parked my car. The area you're looking at is where all the cars running for the day work on their cars and relax. As we mosied around more and more zesty cars approached and found their places in this area.
For example, this very sexy S13 Silvia in white relaxing waiting for his buddies. I remember going to track days in America and seeing cars like this and remembering that they were the top grade that you were going to see that day. Here, a car of this calibur is as common as dirt, and priced similar as well.
As time draws closer to the beginning of the first run, the parking lot fills up. I'd like you to specifically note the blue Toyota Soarer on the right of the above picture. The driver of this car is actually a girl. In fact, many of the drivers this day were girls, and all drift better than you. This Soarer especially is interesting though. The driver is literally crippled... like paralyzed from the waist down crippled. She rigged her car up to be completey controlled with her hands and came out to run. She was wrecking men left and right with half the body members. I was beyond impressed to say the least!
Just before the first run they had a driver's meeting where they explained the track, what was allowed, what was not, and the time schedule for the day.
Let me tell you a bit about the facilities at Mobara. First off, they're beyond impressive and blows all the tracks I've been to in America out of the water. In the above picture behind the cars is an actual full service restaurant with a delicious selection of foods for lunch. To the left there is a parts shop. To the right of the restaurant there is an actual set of shower rooms for drivers to clean up before going home. They also have a building with 4 stories and a roof from which you can watch the track. Of course they have countless garages, a second track for go-karts, and the list goes on.
Ah this picture is nostalgic. It's surprising how drifter in Japan are almost the same as their American counterparts in both demeanor and practice. The only thing different from this picture if I had taken it back home is the steering wheel being on the wrong side.
I don't think I need to explain this picture. Hot Skyline, enough said.
This picture does though. If you have a multi-colored unpainted car in America, fret not young drifter, they have ricers in Japan too. The difference is, despite his 13 or 14 various color options all in one package, he drifts so manly that I'm surprised the weight of his testicles didn't throw off his slide.
Please take notice of the car on the far right. This is a fully done-up R34 Skyline GT-T. The car was beautiful (minus the decals) yet the driver couldn't seem to turn all that money into skill. Just goes to show being rich doesn't make you a good driver. It does get you women though, don't be mistaken about that. Ghetto cars doesn't attract the ladies (refer to 13-color-car 2 pictures up).
Best. Sign. Ever. This sign is warning all spectators to be aware of flying tire rubber that may assault your facial region after being released from passing drift cars.
What the hell? Are you serious? Yea a hellipad, you know, just in case.
Check out this S14 Sivlia showing how it's done. It took these people almost no time at all to finish warming up and make me feel real inadequate about my skill level.
Don't let this picture fool you, he spun out 2 seconds after this photo was taken. Man this guy sucked so bad at life.
Oops. This guy is a true soldier though, he had his car taped/ziptied back up within an hour and back out on the track.
Here's a good shot to give you an idea the size and shape of the track.
There was actually a ton of Toyota MR2s that came out to this event. I think they were a team or something...
Cars doing their thing. I enjoyed the very bright R32 Skyline on the right. To tell you the truth I am growing increasingly depressed about my Skyline. I thought it was super exciting, new, and rare to get one in America and a second one here in Japan...but, recently I see 10 or 20 a day on the street and it just seems too boring now. Don't get me wrong, it's a blast to drive, but not a bazillion dollars blast. Maybe it's just because I'm poor and don't own a GT-R and just own a GTST.
Luckily my comrades were able to detach the woefully skill-less owner from his car. It gave me a chance to molest it with my camera and get some photos of the awesome engine and exterior.
This was the biggest crash of the day. The Skyline slid to a stop and then the white car slid right into him at roughly 30 or 40mph. Before you get too upset though, don't distress, the car was lame and held some disturbing secrets. After inspecting the car later I found it was an automatic and belonged to a drift team who were trying to propagate the lie that automatics are a good life choice. It was also a 4-door, which in my opinion, no Skyline ever should be. You can't have a pure-bred sports car AND have a car to go to the grocery store and pickup the kids from daycare in. You can have just one or the other. Or maybe you can have both, just not both at the same time.
The crash is a good segway to this next photo. Our team enjoyed some delicious lunch around 1 P.M. at the fantastically convenient restaurant. Drew was especially excited about the hot food.
After lunch we head into the main building and walked up to the roof to get a bird's eye view on the area. I'm still amazed at how awesome this track is put together.
I know, we look sexy. Believe me, it's rough. Speaking of, I'd like to mention our team of four was the only non-Japanese wandering about that day at the event. Just a note to the Japanese, staring is rude. It's not like you've never seen a white person before, you have movies and I'm sure we've popped up in a photo or two on the internet. You'd swear like they think we were going to eat their children.
Hot. Sexy. Erotic? a little yeah.
I don't understand why they have to man-up so hard all the time. It's like they just don't care about dying with how fast they enter some of these turns sideways.
They even man-up enough for me to excuse certain paint color choices.
The whole event was put on by TK Club, a company that rents out tracks around Japan and puts on drift meets. They were some really friendly people and had no problem with us poking around with our interest and our cameras. I give them an e-Highfive for how well they plan and execute these events.
The event wound up to a close at around 6 P.M. and we packed up and took the long drive home. I had a lot of fun and was really happy my friends could come to Japan and enjoy it with me. When I'm a little less poor, I intend to take my car out there and give it a go!
Mason on 03.20.08 @ 06:54 AM PST [link]