D1 EXHIBITION Las Vegas, NV July 13-15, 2006

While taking time off from racing in the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT series we (part of the AutomotiveForums.com race team and RB Motoring) decided to use our race rig for drift support. We are all fans of drifting and we want to see the sport grow in the US.

When the D1 Exhibition in Las Vegas came around we could not resist the opportunity to provide support for some of Japan's top drifters. These were guys we grew up watching in Option videos. We were lucky to get the chance to see the cars up close, help fix any problems that arose, and learn the tricks of the top drifters.

Drift practice began on Thursday July 13th. Victor started the event off by taking a tumble while doing a wheelie on a little 50 in front of the Falken pit. He displayed the battle scar from the accident for the rest of the event.





Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas proved to be a cool one. The thermometer in our rig showed the ambient temperature in the shade to be 112 degrees. Compared to temperatures later in the weekend, that was nothing.

The Japanese drivers had never experienced such temperatures before. They were frustrated with the heat.

Daigo Saito and Yasuyuki Kazama were pitted under the awning of our rig. Rumor was that Saito had wrecked his normal drift car shortly before the cars left Japan to make the trip to Las Vegas. Not having enough time to put his drift car together he sent his street car over for the event. Saito spent Thursday afternoon applying all the vinyl to his car. He also slammed it on the ground. There was zero clearance between the rear tires and the fenders. There was also full interior, stereo system, and big screen tv.




Kazama's Car

Friday, qualifying day, temperatures were up a bit higher. The ambient temp gauge in my car read a high of 121 degrees. The thermometer on the side of the trailer was pegged. It only registered temps up to 120. The Japanese drivers were not fans of the heat. However they did say that they were going to return to Japan and brag about experiencing temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius. They didn't think anyone would believe they lived through it.

Despite the fact that standing outside was like being in an oven I saw quite a few driver's walking around in their driver's suits. They claimed they stayed cooler all bundled up. I saw Kazama watching practice wearing his suit.


Instead of hiding around inside the air conditioned comfort of the toter home I walked around and snapped some pictures in the pits. Although with temperatures exceeding 120 degrees constantly running a generator didn't work so well. Numerous trucks, including ours, had troubles with the generator overheating. The comfort of air conditioning didn't work so well during the max heat of the afternoon. That also meant that the refrigerators that were supposed to be cooling off the drinks didn't do so much cooling. The best bet for cold drinks was a cooler and ice.


Drift Practice Pictures (Sorry they're not the greatest. My digi cam is old and doesn't zoom much.)

Qualifying Pictures (The carnage started here.) Sorry I don't have eliminations pictures. I was too busy watching.
The qualifying driver list was as follows:

Qualified Position
Driver's Name
Vehicle Type
Q. Points
1 Tanner Foust Nissan 350Z 100
2 Yasuyuki Kazama Nissan Silvia 100
3 Voughn Gittin Ford Mustang 99.9
4 Daigo Saito Toyota Mark-II 99.9
5 Toshiki Yoshioka Toyota Corolla 99.9
6 Kensaku Komoro Toyota Corolla 99.8
7 Shigenobu Kumakubo Subaru Impreza 99.6
8 Tetsuya Hibino Toyota Corolla 99.5
9 Hideo Hiraoka Nissan Silvia 99.5
10 Tatsuya Sakuma Nissan Silvia 99.5
11 Daijiro Yoshihara Nissan 240SX 99.5
12 Ryan Hampton Chevy Camaro 99.3
13 Ken Gushi Ford Mustang 99.0
14 Hiro Sumida JZX 90 98.8
15 Alex Pfeiffer Mazda RX7 98.0
16 Takahiro Ueno Toyota Soarer 97.3
17 Kazuhiro Tanaka Nissan Skyline 97.0

Toshiki Yoshioka in his blue Corolla ended up winning the whole event. All the Corollas were killing it. For a four cylinder Tetsuya Hibino's tan Corolla sure ate up fuel. His crew guys filled up with fuel from our rig three times during the event. No one else came by more than once. Rumor was that he also went through a lot of nitrous.