I do love watching drifting quite a bit. Especially when it’s straight from the motherland of it: Japan. The energy of the commentators, especially Manabu Suzuki “The Voice of D1” with his high-intensity (damn near screaming) commentary. D1GP is also one of the longest-running drift series in the world, starting in 2001 operated by media company Sunpros. A deep archive spanning nearly 20 years of drifting means that every moment has been captured, even the nasty ones. I’m talking about huge crashes.
This video was specifically produced by the popular Japanese video magazine ‘Video Option’ to show the biggest crashes of some of the most popular drivers on the grid. D1GP uses high-speed road courses with big entries and little runoff, as opposed to the American style of small karting courses or big ovals, which means massive shunts can happen on a fairly regular basis.
There are some seriously hard hits in this video, but the drivers seem shockingly chill about it all. The drivers even poke fun at AE86 drifter Kazuya Matsukawa who has something of a reputation for being a hard charger at all costs. Still, the familiar, legendary, faces are here with Nobushige Kumakubo of Team Orange fame appearing, along with Daigo Saito and Masato Kawabata, both famous for their ridiculous reverse entries and aggressive tandem style.
In fact, that combination in battle resulted in my personal choice for the biggest crash, when Saito and Kawabata collided mid-drift at Fuji Speedway and were sent spinning at shocking speed into the barriers with both cars written off. It’s scary to see the pre-HANS device world of motorsport but luckily they made it out with little to no injuries.
An honorable mention goes out to Manabu Orido for being a crash master in D1 and in his popular role as a host on ‘Hot Version.’ For such a capable racing driver, he has some inexplicable crashes. In this video, he reminisces on a crash that happened as a result of a bad feint initiation. Feint is kind of like a Scandinavian flick, where the weight of the car is shifted back and forth, away and towards the corner to provoke rotation. Orido flicks the car toward the outside of the corner, panics, and locks up, sending him straight to the barriers.
Most of all, I just love being immersed in the explosive, loud, and colorful drift culture of Japan. The cars look sick, the on-screen graphics are borderline absurd, the driving is aggressive, fast, and the antithesis of the modern lazy, smoky American drift style. I especially love Suzuki-san’s commentating and his transition from entertainment terror to real terror when Orido-san crashes his Supra. Get to know the drivers a bit more with this video, and watch some insane carnage here.