If you grew up in the late 80s or early 90s like myself and had either a self-discovered or family member influenced interest in motorsport from a young age, you’ll need no introduction to the Super Touring era of the BTCC and, in particular, the later generation of cars that competed towards the end of the decade. You’ll more than likely have a favourite car that sticks in your mind from playing TOCA games on Playstation back in the day; perhaps it was the green & gold Nescafe-liveried Renault Lagunas, the silver & blue Volvo S40s or the red and white Vauxhall Vectras. For me though, the Vodafone-liveried Nissan Primera was always my favourite and I don’t really know why.
I found this footage from early 2015 on one of my old hard drives. Alex’s S14 had just been fitted with URAS aero and WORK VS-XXs and was then driven to one of the first Three Sisters drift days. Shortly afterwards, it was driven to Lydden Hill for Round 1 of that year’s British Drift Championship.
While I was at Tokyo Auto Salon I’d been tipped off about a small drift event that would be taking place at Meihan the following Wednesday, organised by the N-Style crew (Naoki Nakamura etc.). The only problem was that the weather forecast was predicting heavy snow, so I held off making any travel plans until the day before so as to ensure that the weather wouldn’t be too extreme.
I’ve been watching Frasier‘s E36 go under the knife at Retroshine for the last few months, slowly being transformed from a slightly tatty and stock-bodied car into the HM-Sports kitted, WORK Meister S1R wearing drift car that sat before me at STL HQ last Friday afternoon.
If you’ve been reading Tokyo Auto Salon coverage on other sites up to this point, you’ve probably read plenty of hyperbole regarding the event and Japan as a country itself. Yes, TAS bombards your senses with more than enough sights and sounds to keep your brain preoccupied for a week or so and yes, Japan will always be an awe-inspiring country for travelling Westerners but I don’t want to focus on either of those topics in this post. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Japan a handful of times in the last few years and, if there’s one trait that stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to understanding and appreciating car culture in this country, it’s the attitude of Japanese car enthusiasts.