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Toyota GT-86: Pre-Release and Already Modified for Drifting [Video]

Toyota GT-86: Pre-Release and Already Modified for Drifting [Video]

In my lifetime, I have performed several engine swaps. Most of which were from me or my friends being stupid and grenading a stock engine, so they were mostly just stock swaps. Only one time did I swap a different engine into a car and that was pulling a four-banger from a Mustang and dropping in a V-8. That is a straightforward swap and it still took many weeks.

So where am I going with this? Well, the Toyota GT-86 hasn’t even hit the market and someone has already gotten their greasy hands on it. Seemingly in hyper speed, out came its stock four-banger engine and in came a big V-8. Yup, Manabu “Max” Orido’s team pulled out the four cylinder and dropped a 5.0-liter V-8 farmed from a Lexus IS F. There are numerous other mods, obviously, but the only other ones that are clear is a widebody kit and wide rubbers on the backside.

Let’s put this in perspective. The GT-86’s stock 2.0-liter pumps out a respectable 200, but has received mixed reviews in terms of actual performance. The Lexus IS F’s 5.0-liter engine, on the other hand, pumps out 416 horsepower and launches its 3,780-pound body to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. The GT-86’s official weight hasn’t been released, but rest assured that it will barely tip the scales at 3,000 pounds, if that much. Add in the fact that Orido’s GT-86 is gutted and that the 5.0-liter engine is definitely modified, and you have one lightning fast car.

Why do all of this to a brand new car? They are preparing to run this monster in D1 Grand Prix drifting events. Recently it was caught on film testing and our initial response is summed up in one word… Wow!

Don’t believe us, check out the video above.

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Video: Drifter M. Kawabata performs ridiculous drift maneuver

The Japanese have the propensity to get overly excited over the simplest of things so when it comes to what they consider as ‘monumental achievements’, you can be sure that they’re exhilaration would go through the roof.

In a recent drift session in Japan, a Nissan RPS13 that was being driven by one M. Kawabata performed an eye-popping reverse-entry slide, drifting the car around a corner with the car’s rear end turning first while maintaining that position for the duration of the turn amidst all the smoking tires. Some people are calling the move ‘the best drift ever’ and justifiably so, it was as beautiful as any drift you’ll ever see with your own two eyes.

As far as the Japanese folks who were commentating on the event? Well, they’re reactions were just as priceless.

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Video: D1GP USA Round 3 Chicago with gallery

Video: D1GP USA Round 3 Chicago with gallery

Unfortunately Top Speed couldn’t spare a good man, or woman, to attend the third round of the D1GP USA competition in Chicago at the beginning of the month, but thanks to the top notch team at D1 we have quite a few photos to show you that will definitely make you feel as if you were amongst the thousands in attendance.

We already gave you the low down on what went on in Chicago with Team Orange and the D1GP official this past August 1st, but aside from that scandal the only thing different about round 3 of the D1GP USA tour is that member of the great American racing family, Adam Andretti has been replaced by former NOPI Drifter Rob Flemming in the judging booth and will stay on for the final round in New Jersey that will take place on September 5th. A couple of the cars ended up on their roofs but all the drivers walked away OK. Rhys Millen’s former Formula D winning Pontaic GTO was also in attendance, but it unfortunately didn’t make it into the finals.

Speaking of the D1GP USA’s national diversity with everyone from Japanese professionals to Finnish prospects competing, it was Canadian drifter Pat Cyr who qualified in the top spot for the competition. However the real story is about the upcoming American driver Forest Wang who looks like he could be competing in Japan next year if everything goes right.
Thank you to Jeremy Cliff for the video.

Check the leader boards and gallery after the jump.

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Team Orange D1GP USA Chicago scandal in the windy city results in $17,500 in fines

Team Orange D1GP USA Chicago scandal in the windy city results in $17,500 in fines

There was quite a bit of controversy at the third round of the D1GP USA tour in Chicago back on August 1st, apparently there was a bit of confusion between Team Orange’s driver Kazuhiro Tanaka who was beaten by the rising American star Forest Wang. The Japanese professional drifter thought that a One More Time was in order but the judges felt otherwise. The worst part of all is that a lack of communication between the driver and the D1 official at the starting line, most likely due to a translation issue.

In a sport where the prize money in no way justifies the competition, the majority of these extreme athletes are out there on the track because they have something more important than money pushing them forward, their egos. The last thing that a professional athlete traveling across the Pacific wants is to be defeated by an amateur, especially if they are an American. By standing in the way of the man from Japan, the course worker should have known that no matter how many all access passes he is wearing around his neck the man in front of him is in one of the most professional cars in the event, and he didn’t get in that ride overnight.

Tanaka was apparently revving the engine of his Subaru and gently nudging the track official out of the way with the orange car’s front bumper. During the protest from the official one of the Team Orange mechanics attempted to lower the man’s hands for him and in coming into contact with the D1 representative Tanaka was disqualified.

See PRESS RELEASE below for details on fine

Continued after the jump with press release and video.

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D1 GP USA Round 2: Miami

D1 GP USA Round 2: Miami

It was overcast that Saturday that wet South Florida summer day, when the professional drifters of the D1 Professional Drifting league finally made their way down to Dade county. Perfect for drifting, the wet asphalt lets the tires break free easier and saves rubber, sure you don’t get the big smoke, but it is still just as fun.

The rain was annoying, but not enough to cry about, besides, it immediately led me into the same tent as the professionals from Japan. I found myself staring at Takahiro Ueno, the guy with the bright red Vertex Toyota Soarer. Watching Nomuken, the “monkey man” puff on a cigarette. This was a different kind of motor sports experience, the drivers were so accessible, its almost like they knew the fans were everything, I wonder if this is what racing used to be like.

Continued after the jump.

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Video: The sounds of D1

Video: The sounds of D1

Top Speed recently had the opportunity to attend the second round of the D1GP USA. The experience was unforgettable to say the least. The event gave almost 100 drifting hopefuls the opportunity to compete alongside seasoned veterans and even last year’s champion from the professional drifting series. In the end it came down to a Green S14 from Finland, the four door Skyline of Nomuken and last year’s D1GP champion Daigo Saito standing atop the podium.

This clip comes from the semi final round when Daigo Saito was applying the pressure in his grey Toyota Chaser to Tanaka’s Team Orange Impreza.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the event.

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Drifting as a D1 professional

Drifting as a D1 professional

D1 is an amazing thing. It can literally stop the aging process. Now we don’t know if it’s the fan friendly atmosphere or pure senselessness of wasting so much wide rubber, but this professional drift phenomenon has the ability to turn 35 year old men pushing their kids out of the way in order to get an autograph from one of the professionals themselves, or just losing your hearing while watching the exotic machines idle in the pit lane where the seasoned veterans, there since the beginning like Nomuken and Ueno sit proudly next to their Skyline and Soarer, the latter taking a moment to capture the scene on his camera phone.

Laughing with their crew, taking photographs with fans, even taking a smoke break. These are two 40+ year old men who are having the times of their lives. Earning a living traveling the world, doing what most people are arrested for and are adored for it. They are showmen, but unlike the tired traveling salesmen, these middle aged men look younger than some of those guys with a pen in their hands. Professional drifting looks to be the fountain youth in a cloud of tire smoke, or perhaps just the best midlife crisis of all time?

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Countdown: 2 Days to D1 in Miami!

The D1 organizers have finally gotten there act together and after years of anticipation, they have found the good sense to come down to sunny South Florida. Round 2 of the 2009 D1GP USA series is rolling into Gulfstream Park this for one day only. It will be an entire day filled with sideways antics of the Japanese D1 professionals, stunt riding from the Adrenaline Crew, the finest that South Beach has to offer strutting their stuff at the bikini show and the start of the Roadstar car show. The only thing that could spoil the party is the rain, but it will just make the drifting that much better.

So, head on down to 901 S Federal Highway in Hallandale Beach this Saturday for an unforgettable automotive experience, just remember to bring a raincoat.

Don’t forget to enter Top Speed’s ticket giveaway for your chance to take home some tickets to a D1 event near you.

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Round 2 of the D1GP USA this weekend!

Round 2 of the D1GP USA this weekend!

Just a reminder to all of the drifting fans out there in cyberspace. Round 2 of the D1GP USA tour is taking place at Gulfstream Park just north of Miami, here in sunny South Florida on May 30th. Last year’s D1 Champion, Daigo Saito already scored a win in Anaheim, and American hopeful Forrest Wang managed to sneak up onto the podium.

So don’t miss out on your chance to see Nomuken’s new paint job and Kumakubo drifting the classic Team Orange Impreza. If you miss this one, you will only have two more opportunities to see the stars of the Japanese drifting series strut there stuff here in the U.S. Round 3 will take place in Philadelphia on July 18th, and the final round of D1GP USA action will be held at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 1st.

Check out the link above to enter Top Speed’s D1GP USA ticket giveaway, for the chance to win your way in to a D1 event near you.

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D1GP USA round 2 update!

D1GP USA round 2 update!

The second round of D1GP USA action was supposed to take place at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Well the venue has been changed, but not to worry, the new location is only about 7 miles to the east, 15 minutes closer to the beach, to the Gulfstream Raceway Park. The racetrack typically reserved for horses is located at 901 S Federal Hwy in Hallandale Beach. So if you up where the Dolphins do their thing on May 30th you’ll probably be all alone, so don’t forget: D1GP USA round 2 Miami at the Gulfstream Park Race Track.

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D1GP USA Round 1 Anaheim Results

D1GP USA Round 1 Anaheim Results

Well round 1 of the D1GP USA tour has come and gone, and to no surprise left two of the six competing Japanese drivers atop the podium. Last year’s champion Daigo Saito came in first place with Nobushige Kumakubo coming is second. But the real news comes from the American drifter Forrest Wang showing the rest of the field how it’s done drifting his way to a third place finish in Anaheim.

The next round of D1GP USA action will take place at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida at the end of the month on May 30. Don’t miss out.

Bracket after the jump.

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D1GP USA Japanese drivers announced

D1GP USA Japanese drivers announced

With the first round of the 2009 D1GP USA series less than a week away the officials at D1 have confirmed the Japanese professionals that will be loading their machines onto freighters and packing their racing suits for the first round of stateside competition in Anaheim on May 2nd.

The drivers confirmed for the 2009 D1GP series are former professional drift champions Daigo Saito (2008) and Nobushige Kumakubo (2006). Saito will be competing in his 800 HP four door Toyota Chaser, and unfortunately for diamond star fans Kumakubo will leave his JUN powered rear wheel drive EVO X in Japan and instead compete in the Team Orange Subaru WRX. D1 veteran and Vertex owner Takahiro Ueno will compete in his beloved twin turbo Toyota Soarer, better known as a Lexus SC300 here in the U.S. Toshiki Yoshioka will not be driving his latest generation Lexus SC430 and instead has found a ride in the Driftspeed S15 Nissan Silvia. Providing comic relief in the pits will be the “Monkey Man” Ken Nomura piloting his longtime favorite four-door R34 Nissan Skyline. New to competition but not to the sport, Daijiro Inada the founder of the D1GP will suit up to compete in Anaheim.

More after the jump.

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D1 driver profile: Takahiro Ueno

D1 driver profile: Takahiro Ueno

Takahioro Ueno is another one of the senior drifters competing in the D1GP professional drifting championship. Ueno has taken his love for the Toyota Soarer (Lexus SC300 in America) very seriously. In 1996 he founded the tuning shop Car Make T&E, owners of Vertex Aero parts. Using his Soarer as a test bed for the company’s body kits he uses the D1 competition to showcase the simplistic and elegant designs they create. He has entered the same model Toyota in every round of D1 competition since he began drifting professionally in 2001. Ueno had great success in his debut year, winning round 4 at Ebisu and finishing 3rd in the overall point’s championship. Unfortunately he has not been able to recapture his original success but devoted to the JZZ 30 chassis he is back competing in the same red Toyota Soarer for the 2009 D1GP Championship.

Profile after the jump.

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D1 driver profile: Yoichi Imamura

D1 driver profile: Yoichi Imamura

The Japanese drifter Yoichi Imamura has competed in the D1GP professional drifting league since it began back in 2000. He originally competed in a favorite of drifters around the world, a lightweight Toyota AE86. In 2002 he began competing for Apex’i and ran the first three round of the season in a turbocharged Toyota Altezza before switching makes in favor of an FD Mazda RX-7. After a year of getting the rotary powered drift machine dialed in Imamura was able to win the 2003 D1GP Championship.

Continued after the jump.

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