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Top 10 Drift Vacations to Take Before You Die

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Regardless if you are independently wealthy or have a credit card to max out I put together the Top 10 drifting vacations you need to take before you die. The list is compiled upon driving, fan entertainment, atmosphere, and all the fun you can have in the area!

 

10. D1NZ Final Round – Mt. Smart (Auckland, New Zealand)

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The D1NZ season ends at Mt. Smart under the lights! The venue is a custom built and it puts fans very close to the action. The track does take place in the Mt. Smart Stadium parking lot which normally holds duties for the National Rugby team. Once the race ends you are just a quick cab from downtown Auckland where some of the real fun can begin. Don’t miss some top drivers like Mad Mike Whiddett and C’s Garage take on the New Zealand night.

9. Irish Drift Championship – Mondello Park 

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The most fun you can have in Ireland is by far Mondello Park. It puts you pretty close to Dublin and has the most energy over a drift weekend in Ireland. Big name drivers such as Dai Yoshihara, Darren McNamara, and other international stars tend to come and drive at this Ireland track as well. If you happen to come here and enjoy watching a weekend of pro drifting then you could also do the ProDrift Academy and drift on your own at Mondello!

8. Formula Drift Irwindale Speedway (Los Angeles, California)

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The “House of Drift” as everybody knows it had to make the list. So many people attend this event now parking has been moved off site and stands have been put anywhere they can fit. The driving here tends to be world class and over the last few seasons a championship has been sorted out during the event weekend. Once the Irwindale weekend is over you will find yourself not very far from Los Angeles, Hollywood, and other places to finish out a great weekend.

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Nobushige Kumakubo Bringing Out V8 powered S15 to D1GP

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Kumakubo and the other Team Orange drivers have shown off the new D1GP car build that has been tested recently around Ebisu. The biggest shocker of the build is that it features a big N/A V8 engine to power it up. Kumakubo talks about how driving the V8 is a different experience on his Facebook page! Sounds like he is enjoying it so far. Below is a link to some test video footage posted of the car running at Ebisu.

 

Watch it: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=636044966445082

Daigo Saito & Robbie Nishida Running Misslies at Ebisu [VIDEO]

Here is one awesome video from Matsuri showing Formula Drift drivers and teammates banging doors all around the various tracks of Ebisu Circuit! Daigo Saito is in the white missile car in the video and is flying around courses with Robbie Nishida in what might be the most fun you can possibly have in a drift car period!

2014 D1 Street Legal Round 1 at Bihoku [RESULTS]

Check out the start of the D1 Street Legal series that went down at Bihoku over the past weekend. The big winner was Naoki Nakamura on the weekend! You can see his final battle with Kazuki Hayashi in the video above. Nakamura qualified third for the event after suffering serious mechanical issues in practice. His car normally around 450hp was down around 370hp after an issue with a broken camshaft put him out for most of practice. Here is how they finished up:

1. Naoki Nakamura (25)
2. Kazuki Hayashi (21)
3. Yusuke Kitaoka (18)

Michie Mimoto & Rie Shinmi Head to D1GP Round 1 at Fuji Speedway

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Female drivers Rie Shinmi (KIDS HEART) and  Michie Mimoto are set to both make a debut in D1GP Round 1 at Fuji Speedway. Mimoto is the 2013 D1 Women’s League champion giving her the proper credentials to compete in the D1GP series. Her debut in D1 will be with a newly built vehicle. Rie will remain in her R34 Skyline which is already D1GP spec/ready for the event at the end of this month. This is the first time a woman has driven in the D1GP series dating back to 2004 at Ebisu Circuit where Akemi Okazaki drove as the first woman in the series.

D1GP Japan Driver files for Petition to run Formula Drift in 2014 [RUMORMILL]

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While we don’t have many details at this time here is what we do know about a D1GP driver heading into Formula Drift for 2014. A source has told us that a new D1GP driver who has never been in Formula Drift in previous seasons is applying to run in Formula Drift via a petition. D1GP licenses are not recognized by Formula Drift or the FIA so the driver is forced to petition in to Formula Drift based on his merits and experience or face the Pro Am circuits. I can only assume if the rumors are true that Formula Drift will approve the petition.

To take the rumors one more step forward I think it is a good chance he will fill the shoes of the APEX’i Lexus SC430 that Patrick Mordaunt is leaving in 2014. Its an interesting connection someone made and APEX’i has had a history in supporting Japanese drivers. What do you think of the news? Who do you think the D1GP driver could be?

 

Up and Comer: A Sit Down with Andrew Mensah [INTERVIEW]

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It’s that time of month again when I sit down and look at a new driver of my choice and asks him some questions. Since living down in Florida I really wanted to dig in and look for a Florida driver I found interesting. I remembered this kid that showed up late to one of the events I was running a couple of years ago in the Cleveland, and when I asked him why he was late he replied, “I just drove from Florida bro.” Andrew Mensah was that driver and he is this months Up and Comer.

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Edgar Sarmiento: Andrew, so I noticed you speak all these languages on your Facebook. Where are you from?

Andrew Mensah: Well I was born in West Palm Beach, Florida but when people ask I tend to say South Florida or Miami because most people don’t know Florida too well. Though now that Formula Drift was at Palm Beach International Raceway, people in the drifting community tend to know finally where I’m talking about.

ES: Yeah, South Florida sounds about right. How long have you been drifting?

AM: This past weekend was the official fifth anniversary of my first track drifting experience. I got into it before I started driving by watching videos and reading about it in magazines.

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ES: I know you drive wherever you can, what events are you planning for in 2014?

AM: My main priority this year is making a transition to international drifting so I will be exporting my BMW to Japan, and entering a few Drift Muscle events, D1SL and other events to get my name, car, and driving into the Japanese drift scene. I am going to seek sponsors for next years season and hopefully come out strong for a good season of Japanese drifting.

ES: Yes, I did notice that you are always talking about Japan this and Japan that. Is it that cool?

AM: Yeah, Japan is really that cool. When you’re a person, like me, that initially goes because you know of the cool cars and technology, and then you see that but you also see so much more. My first trip to Japan I did all of my drifting at Ebisu, my friend Shane showed me the Japanese car culture, and then I left. That alone was amazing. My last trip to Japan was on a completely different level, I stayed at Shane’s house and made friends with local drifters, went to tracks like Nikko and Fuji, drove with locals, and had a blast learning the language and the culture all while having exciting door to door tandems in the rain at Fuji and hanging the front tire in the air at Nikko.

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ES: That’s amazing Andrew! You barely ever hear about someone leaving the US and heading to Japan to do some sliding around. Make sure you share some details later with me. What would be some your highlights in drifting?

AM: Some of the highlights of drifting for me was the first time I put my car into third gear and stayed on the throttle, it was so much better than I ever thought. The first tandems I had at Central Florida Racing Complex and getting used to following another driver instead of only thinking about what I was doing myself. The V8 swap in my car. Driving with a lot of angle for the first time and loving it. Doing my first official backwards entry. Driving East Coast Bash in my missile on 4psi, and tandeming with Drift Alliance. Driving for the first time Drift Matsuri at Ebisu. There are so many more, but every time I do or learn something new in drifting is a highlight in my book.

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ES: So since you have experience some Japanese drifting; what would you say a perfect set up is?

AM: It’s different! My personal ideal American setup would be an E36 because I love them and they make amazing grip, LS7 crate engine with at least 500hp stock, Hinson LSx RX7 Turbo manifold headers, GTX4201 turbo, with a huge wastegate dumped out the center of the hood. Hollinger 6speed, quick change diff, SLR, WiseFab, BMW OEM (if your lucky), or some other angle and control arm kit BC Racing ER type Dual reservoir coil overs Big spacers and wheels for the rear, add some flares or a wide body kit to fit the new width Nitrous because everyone at the top has it, so why not. And obviously necessary seats and safety equipment you need.

My ideal Japanese set up would be the same car with a smaller turbo and no nitrous. Ha! But seriously I love cars so much that saying what setup is really perfect is something I cant really do because every car has its own thing about it that makes it awesome.

ES: Seems like you have a game plan already! Do you have any thoughts or opinions on the American drift scene?

AM: American drifting is as good as it can be. We don’t have tons of circuits within driving distance in most of the country. I’m just glad that drifting exists in America, and it has its own thing going on that’s different than the rest of the world.


(Footage of our last staff trip to Japan for Matsuri. It is a blast!)

 

ES: I know you have attended a lot of different events. Which one was your favorite and why?

AM: My favorite event I ever attended, despite having gone to awesome events like Matsuri, East Coast Bash, Lone Star Drift, and Street Wide Drift, would be the 2012 Black Friday event at Central Florida Racing Complex. It was our first overnight event in Florida, and it was a smashing success. We partied hard, and drifted around a giant bon fire until the sun started to come up. Ebisu Matsuri is definitely a second place.

ES: Any recommendations you can give to anyone getting into drifting?

AM: Don’t give up! Go faster than you think is okay, and use the drift to slow you down. Modify your suspension before swapping your engine. Make sure you have fun responsibly within your own limits. Respect you limit, but know when to push them at the same time!

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ES: Any big plans for 2014?

AM: Turbo the V8, move to Japan, and have fun in Japan!

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ES: Thanks Andrew! I can’t wait to check out anything you share from your move to Japan. Any shout outs?

AM: Chelsea DeNofa – for recognizing the thirst in me to drift at a decently competitive level and helping me to get there
Erick Gomez – for caging my car when I really had no way to get it done and I was in school with other priorities, but he got me caged up on the super bro rate, and changed my drifting for good.

My past and present mechanics: Pablo Garcia, Aaron Messmer, Alberto Rosa, Ben Brandner, Fred Conkling, Mickey Figueroa, Kevin Smith, Antonio Diaz, and Hayato Tomaru.

And everyone else that has helped me along the way!

KE70 vs. AE86 at Nikko Circuit [VIDEO]

Shot at Nikko Circuit by Noriyaro this video features a KE70 vs. AE86 video which has 4+ minutes of tandem drifting featuring Manabu Mitsumori and Takuya Takahashi along with some friends in pursuit. The guys are at Nikko Circuit in the video which involves some door banging fun.

Formula Drift Japan Takes on Fuji Speedway July 4th [RUMORMILL]

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During the broadcast of Formula Drift Thailand the announcer Jarod DeAnda first mentioned a Formula Drift Japan event at Fuji Speedway which was a huge shock to everyone in our office! He then mentioned it again about 5 minutes later saying the Formula Drift Japan event at Fuji Speedway in collaboration with MSC will take place over the Independence Day weekend here in America (July 4th). Haven’t seen any news or posting of this event anywhere else but Jarod has been announcing drift events for 10+ years now and we can imagine he is a reliable source for this information. More updates if they become available. This Fuji Speedway event will seemingly be the one in collaboration with the Formula Drift Asia series for the 2014 calendar championship.

D1GP Going Green in 2014 – More Regulations and Clearing Up Rumors

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After talking with several sources and getting some great translations from Japanese drift forums we have learned about the changes as close to 100% as we can get for the new drift season. Several people have confirmed the ban on nitrous in the series which we reported on earlier this week.

D1GP will also require all drivers to run a catalytic converters for the 2014 season which we are told is part of an effort for D1 to help align with regulations and become more of an official motorsport in the country. Some rumors have been going around that D1GP will be banning race gas and venting wastegates but we have confirmed these reports are incorrect.

We are being told that some teams and various supporters of all the D1 series ranks are waiting for the Formula Drift Japan schedule to be released and looking to run events with that series instead. Check out the Kick-Off D1GP gallery we covered earlier this month showing the series kicking off strong in 2014.A big thanks to the help we got from Powervehicles.com, Robbie Nishida, various D1 teams, and some bilingual readers.

Here is a recap of regulations being put in place for 2014:
1. Nitrous is banned
2. Catalytic Converters Are Required
3. Exhausts Must Be Pointing to Ground
4. Race Gas is Still Legal (other sites reporting illegal)
5. Venting Wastegates Legal (other sites reporting illegal)

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