2014 Formula Drift Japan – Fuji Speedway [RESULTS]


Formula Drift wrapped up their inaugural event in Japan with some familiar faces on the podium. Long time D1GP competitor Masao Suenaga piloted his RE-Amemiya Mazda RX7 to the event win, beating out fellow Japanese local Masashi Yokoi’s D-Max Silvia S15 in the final. Formula D US competitor Fredric Aasbo took the final spot on the podium in the NASCAR-powered RS*R FT-86, earning the final podium spot over Emmanual Amandio due to his better qualifying position (Aasbo qualified in Q18 vs Amandio’s Q20).

1st – Masao Suenaga – FD3S Mazda RX7 – M150 Overdrive

2nd – Masashi Yokoi – Nissan Silvia S15 – D-Max

3rd – Fredric Aasbo – Toyota FT-86 – RS-R Japan

4th – Emmanual Amandio – Toyota JZX100 – Moods Gallery / Achilles Radial

Photo Credit: Instagram

Jacob Leveton

Freelance Drift Correspondent at JacobPhoto
Jacob Leveton has worked as a freelance journalist for 12 years, specializing in drifting since the first professional competition landed on US shores in 2003. Leveton has worked with more than twenty print and online media outlets to provide unique drifting content.


  1. zz says:

    A shame there wasn’t a 3rd place battle due to the new rules (hope they change it back), could have been a battle to watch between Dio and Aasbo.

    BTW how much say did MSC have in judging, the reason I ask is because from Top 32 to Top 16 a lot of calls were made unanimously, which seemed uncharacteristic of Ryan and Andy.

  2. WingZeroCustom says:

    The three judges were Ryan, Andy and Daijiro. Thats all. Least all that they said.

  3. Scaifey86 says:

    What’s the usual prize money for an FDUS event? I’d imagine that its not equivalent to ¥500,000, which is coincidentally the same as a D1 event I’m pretty sure

  4. Blaze1 says:

    ¥500,000 = $4900

  5. Steven B. says:

    This event was kinda boring. Even the commentators sounded bored.

  6. Blaze1 says:

    Just got through watching this event since i wasn’t going to stay up all night Cali time to watch live.

    The stream itself was really really good. Great camera angles, smooth professional type production, very top notch. Commentary was odd as all hell, going from hearing J-Rod butcher Japanese names to some Japanese guys who didn’t sound like they wanted to be there. The crowd didn’t really seem into it either. It might just be the Japanese way spectator etiquette but they usually clap when someone does well.

    The action unfortunately just showcased the flawed FD tandem system. It made me respect the gentlemen rules of D1GP a hell of a lot more. There were close runs but not close battles, if you know what i mean? Nothing was consistent, the entries were all shaky from all the drivers even the Japanese. Guys were pulling huge gaps before the first turn, the battles were over before they really started. As of right now I see FD as the “every man for them selves” competition series and D1 as the “lets give the spectators a good show” series.

    These events have a ton of potential though. I know this is a different promotion with a different set of investors as FD USA but I do appreciate the effort they put into injecting much needed life into the Japanese drift scene. I hope this a just a taste of whats yet to come in the future. And yes… we need American talent in American cars 😉 , so many potential dream match ups on the table!

    December 13th – 14th? Sounds like a deal!!!

  7. Yoshi says:

    Japanese spectators are respectful. I’ve been to a few D1 events and at best you get a golf clap. Plus, I don’t think Fuji is a huge area for drifting.

    I was busy drifting IRL. Anyone have a recap or is there an easy way to watch a refeed?

  8. Chris says:

    @Yoshi – As it stands right now, ustream.tv has top 16 to finals posted. Havent found Top 32 yet. FD has updated Dailymotion that I know of either.

  9. 4fourGraphics says:

    The thing I liked the most about the event was something that I accidentally stumbled upon… Since the time difference was so large, I would constantly check back in to see if the competition was going on or not. And every single time I checked, there was something either on track being filmed (time attack) or something in the paddock (freestyle motorcross with Orido clowning it up on the sidelines) or some sort of entertainment for those at the even and those watching on the livestream to enjoy. This really got me thinking about how FD events are handled in the states. With the exception of Road Atlanta, the other events don’t really have anything for the spectators to enjoy during down time. I mean, sure, there’s the vendors midway which has a few neat things from time to time; but more or less, there’s just the drifting and that’s it. Maybe it’s a logistics thing? I know there’s really nothing to be done at FDNJ on track, but surely a small portion of the paddock could be sectioned off for some local freestyle MX and stunt bike riders? At Texas, they could do some Legends and bandolaro racing on the front stretch oval track? Maybe I’m wrong, but It just seems to me that FD Japan (and Japanese events in general) are much more fan oriented than events in the states.

  10. Twitch_6 says:

    I had a great time watching FD Japan. I’ll admit, in some ways, it didn’t live up to the hype that I had built in my own head…but when I take a step back and think “this is just a first step in working towards something great,” I would say the event was a success.

    The live stream was good. The only issue I had is that by the end of top 16, my audio was about 10 seconds behind the video…but I’m guessing that was an issue on my end.

    I’ll agree, the commentary was odd, to say the least. I think not having a translator and/or bilingual commentator was a real missed opportunity. I would have loved to heard Max and Nob’s perspective on many of the runs (I think at one point even Ryan said “I really want to know what these guys are saying.”), as well as their thoughts on drifting in general (what’s their take on the HP wars, etc etc). My only real beef with the commentary was the way Jarod stumbled over Yokoi’s name as though he had never heard of him before (how are you involved with drifting and not know Yokoi and MCR?). I also laughed pretty hard when he mentioned the old D1 section (“I guess the speeds get kinda high?”…ya, no kidding…ever seen Saito vs Kawabata??). Nothing against Jarod, I’m just nitpicking 🙂

    I’ll also agree that the drag racing did get a little out of hand, and robbed the viewers of what could have been some good tandem battles. Personally if would have moved the start line much farther back, and made use of a “gentalmen’s start cone” or whatever. It was really difficult to see in the cameras on the live stream, but that right hand sweeper they were initiating in is a really tricky corner, especially to be accelerating on. The radius shrinks, the banking changes, and the exit is actually pretty blind as you come up the hill towards the first outside clip. I guess my point is I think it’s a bit of a shame that, in my unofficial opinion, the most difficult part of the section was not even part of the actual judged run.

    After FDNJ, many people were calling it “the best FD ever,” with many singling out NJ’s unique start line and subsequent lack of a drag race, as one of the main contributing factors. I think the contrast between NJ and Japan (in regards to the start line / drag race) perfectly illustrates that FD needs to do something with the starts (maybe rolling starts like IDC?).

    Speaking of IDC (last point, I swear lol), I think FD would do well to take a page out of their book, and have the judges give brief explanations for their decisions (maybe not always, but when there is a split, or the reasons for the decision are unclear). It makes things much more clear for the fans, removes all this conspiracy theory BS, and gives both current and up-and-coming drivers more opportunity to learn. I know they’re all friends, but I didn’t really like the way Dia was being called out over a few of his OMT decisions. Between the other two judges and the two English commentators, I would say Dia has the longest list of credentials amongst all of them….so maybe listening to him would be better than laughing at him. I can’t remember exact who was battling, but I do remember agreeing with Dia’s OMT calls on both occasions (talking about when he called OMT and the other judges voted for a winner)

    Anyways, that’s the end of my 200 cents. As a fan of drifting, I was really excited for this event. I think overall it was a success, and I look forward to seeing how FD builds on this going into the future!

  11. Yoshi says:

    @Chris thanks! http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/49619333

    Watching the feed, the Japanese commentators are quieter but give lots more information. The american guys talk about closeness and what not, the Japanese guys talk about techniques more often.

    I actually like the contrast at the same time. It’s amusing.

  12. Blaze1 says:

    They should really approach Toshi Hayama if they haven’t done so already. He would be a HUGE asset to the series.

  13. sanlis says:

    Really appreciate Max Orido and NOB, they really know what are these 70 drivers doing, they are not just describe how the cars fill the clipping zone or spin out, but they also really know why are the drivers doing good or bad, like they know driver A transition timing is not right, driver B should pull e-brake for 1 more sec….etc….

    I hope we can see these kind of professional comments from professional drivers in FDUS, to allow the audience not only know what the drivers did, but also know how they did and how they can did better.

  14. Kids Heart says:

    Toshi was the shit back in the day.

  15. rich says:

    Seriously fd drivers in the states improved a lot over the years but the fd events from a fan stand point is extremely boring. From the long breaks to boring and unenthusiastic commentating. I felt that same vibe watching the live stream (I could be wrong). I’ve taken alot of drifting virgins to fd events only find out that they were bored out of their minds. As opposed to d1 back in day, they were way entertaining, the drivers had character, and i ended up being hooked. Fd is growing but I think it can grow a lot faster if it really focused on the fan experience, The entertainment aspect of business. Does anyone else agree? Look at how Dr jerry buss transformed laker games into shows. I’m sure fd can do the same somehow.

  16. Scaifey86 says:

    @ sanlis, that’s generally the advantage of having actual drivers doing the commentary, it certainly adds to the event more than just a run of the mill commentator

  17. MATT says:

    Yokoi is coming back to texas this year, its nice to see him killing in on stream and IRL.

  18. Mike Peters says:


    With how much it’s clear by your comments you all hate drifting and FD, a lot of you sure tuned in for this, lol.

    So much whining in this industry.

  19. Caleb says:

    If you go to an event where high horsepower cars are flying thru corners sideways with lots of smoke and you’re bored; then maybe drifting isn’t your thing

  20. Blaze1 says:

    Hmm lets see… the term hate was only used one time in this whole discussion, wonder where that is? Its like this Mr. Peters and Caleb, everyone in this whole discussion LOVES drifting and that’s why we are all so passionate about this event. Its not hate, just our opinions about how we felt about the event with some suggestions on how to make it better. If people are spending money to go to the event or staying up all night to watch it online they deserve to have a opinion. If we hated drifting you are 100% right and we would not even watch it let alone have a opinion.

    “High horsepower cars are flying thru corners sideways with lots of smoke” is beautiful, but drifting has come such a long way even the casual viewer wants more then that. Would you fault a basketball fan for wanting to see more slam dunks and fade aways? Would you fault a football fan for wanting to see more one handed catches and sacks? Of course not, if it was a amateur class of the sport it would be a different story. We want the best action out of the best athletes in their respective sports.

    American drifting has this whole “shut up, don’t complain and just enjoy it” type of attitude towards its fans and its kind of getting old. Does it work? Has it bettered the sport in anyway? Do the sponsors like it? I’ll let you all be the judge of that.

    What did you guys like or disliked about the event?