It's not often before coming out and making one of these videos that I need to check that I've got health insurance,
but today I might just need it. (Sub to Oroka Baka on Youtube. Credit: Captions)
This is Ebisu circuit, the largest drifting racetrack in all of Japan
High up in the mountains of Fukushima
If I was ever looking to commit a heist, this would be the place
I'd come head hunting for a getaway driver
Ebisu circuit is where the best drivers from across Japan descend for a daredevil
Adrenaline rush that makes a mockery of even the most extreme roller coasters.
Today, we've traveled here into the mountains two hours north of Tokyo to try to understand why drifting has become a national obsession
To hear from the drivers consumed by it and to experience it for the first time ourselves
Complete disregard for health and safety just standing here I feel like I need insurance let alone being in the car
So they come up this straight 165 kilometers an hour and drift round the corner
What scares me the most is there this barrier that I'm standing behind look down here a car has actually bumped into this
So it's not the most reassuring place to stand. I can smell the burning tires as the cars drift past
I can smell the burning tires as the cars drift past.
Drifting's always had something of a bad-boy image in Japan given
it has its roots in illegal street-racing but the story of drifting didn't start entirely on the streets in the
1970s a professional motorcyclist and car racing driver
Kunimitsu Takahashi turned the poor grip of his tires to his
advantage by coaxing his Nissan
Skyline into a slide before the apex of a corner and powering out on the straight with a high exit speed
Mastering the technique gave him the edge over his rivals who are unable to match the speed when turning the corners
Leading to repeated victories in the All Japan Touring Championship, but while
Kunimitsu Takahashi is referred to as the father of drifting he's not the king that title goes to
Keiichi Tsuchiya who's literally known as "Dorikin", The Drift King the legendary figure who really put drifting on the map
Keiichi started out on mountain roads as a street racer known as hashiriya in
Japanese was inspired by Takashi's drift technique
Which gave him the edge while racing up on the mountain passes.
Before professional races were typically from wealthy backgrounds and learned on racing circuits
But Keiichi was from a more humble background and learn to race on the streets before going on to compete professionally
It was this background that was instrumental in encouraging younger drivers from working-class backgrounds to get up into the mountains and hone their skills
like their idol in the 90s Keiichi's legends played a role in inspiring a hugely popular manga comic series called
Initial D which he himself worked on as an editorial supervisor
Initial D helped bring drift into the mainstream within Japan and led to a new generation of films that brought the drifting
subculture to a global audience
but even if you've never heard of any of these things, hopefully
You know about drifting from Mario Kart where everybody knows drifting is the secret to successfully winning any race
As luck would have it the day were filming we run into Alexi Smith an Australian drift fanatic who runs one of the most
popular drifting channels in the world, "Noriyaro". If anybody can explain the appeal behind drifting it's him
Drifting is... When you are doing everything you're not supposed to be doing.
You know when you watch a Motorsports show and you see the introduction of the show and they show a bunch of little highlights and clips
What do they show you?
Crashes and cars sliding around and it's big and smokey
Drifting is that. It's a highlight reel all the time.
Imagine all of a sudden, you know, whatever hobby you have
You were told that hey, if you go to this weird place in the other side of the world
You can do that hobby all day as much as you like. With absolutely freedom
Right. That's the appeal
Many drivers buy their cars at Ebisu racetrack where they can keep it in storage and finally sell it back or what's left of it
At the end of it all Adam from Sydney is on holiday in Japan for two weeks one week spent sightseeing and the other drifting
How long have you had this car now adam? Three years now. And today it meet it's demise? Yeah, just driving too hard, I guess
We're in tears. So what are you gonna do with it now? I've sold it actually back to power vehicles now
It's a pretty cool concept though, right the idea that you come here
You can buy a car, store it here then when you come back you can use it and then destroy it
Yeah, is it is this bit here like burnt or something?
Yeah, that's from the first fire. The first fire.
So dealing this is an expensive hobby
You don't you don't go into drifting to be rich when you consider a set of tires is about
$200 or so and you can go through two sets a day
so what kind of career do you have to fund something like this?
Yeah, working IT. IT.
You heard that ladies and gentlemen. IT.
Work hard behind the computer then come out to Japan apply it all on lovely cars. Up in smoke.
Up in smoke literally, yeah
So for a beginner and there's probably people watching this that might just want to come up and drive don't have any
Qualifications myself included. What are the rules?
What do you need before you can come up here actually start racing and drifting around the track. Absolutely nothing
You don't need these licenses or anything like that
All you do is like nothing you need a car and you pay the entry fee and be over 16
What are we waiting for? I tick all of the boxes. Although I know I would kill lots of people
Look what I recommend you do first is maybe not go driving first. Maybe go for a passenger ride first
I have a friend that you need to ride with
So Alexi's friend is gonna drive me around the track
He's secretly loving this, look at the little smile on his face all part of his plan to get me killed. Let's see
He's the boss of a former Tokyo Street drifting team called side attack.
Probably the most fun I've ever had in my life
looked fun! such a good driver it felt unreal
It felt like I was in a VR headset or something
Because the helmet can be completely sealed in I couldn't really hear much apart from the screeching of the car.
It's just that feeling of having cars near like next to you. Yeah, they look like they're about to crash.
Some of them did crash, there was smoke coming out. It was just insane
It really was
I'm gonna give up YouTube
This is the day I give up each even become a drift driver drift racer cuz I want to be able to do that
just Takahashi-san's level of control and intuition.
Driving 160 km/h while sandwiched between half a dozen cars it really is incredible
I have a lot of respect for it and I'm also quite envious because I wish. wish I could do it as well
Next up it was Ryotaro (Risottaro)'s turn to be thrown around like a dog toy and this time we'd be
passengers of what might be the world's most extreme taxi ride?
How do you feel? Excited!
Look at this, it looks like a real taxi.
And the lights on the top, they say Team Orange. That's his team there. It's Team Orange
He's like a professional
D1 drift one driver and they actually he drove around the world doing drift
Are we ready? Yea. Yes let's do it!
It's intense, it's scary, but it's still not as scary as Ryotaro's (Rissotaro's) driving. Nah! I'm save driver
I have never experienced anything like this
We just finished driving the drifting and look at the tire what's happening here, it's actually
This is a official evidence of how fast and how crazy
He drives on this mountain road
Today it rained this morning so he didn't use it, but on a sunny day
tires burn a lot faster
so what they do is, this little tank right here. Water tank and
There's a switch in the front you turn on and what they do is it will actually spray the tires
to cool the tires down incredible, isn't it?
You know what? I'm a little bit disappointed in myself today many of my friends actually do drifting over the years
They've invited me to come along and join in. I've always been very dismissive and very narrow-minded
I just sort of say, Ugh, drifting isn't that just going round the corner really fast?
But whether you're sandwiched between two other going a hundred miles per hour pressed into the back of the seat, hoping the car won't
Lose control as smoke billows in through the window for the smoldering tyres (tires) below. It's hard to deny that drifting
Is one of the most exhilarating experiences
You can have I can see now why people obsess over it so damn much. I can see why people love it
Ebisu circuit is one hell of a place. There's nowhere else quite like it in all of North Japan is also no accommodation
so if you do plan to visit
There's some fantastic hot springs around the area that do speak English and even allow tattoos
You can find a list of options as well as where to find Ebisu circuit in the description box below
Drifting one word. How do you summarize your experience today?
Gravity gravity. That's what I had. That's what I felt, G's, right
And a huge thanks to Alexi who by just sheer luck was here today
He is one of the number one channels on drifting in Japan
I mean, we've just come here as beginners
But he knows pretty much everything going so check his channel out if you want to know more, but for now many
Thanks for watching. We'll see you next time to do it all over again
Now we have to enjoy the real horror Ryotaro's Drive home. (Sub to Oroka Baka on Youtube. Credit: Captions)