Japfest 2013 (Part 1)

I hadn’t been to Japfest since 2011 – come to think of it, that was probably the last time I actually went to a car show. With so many grassroots drifting events to enjoy (not to mention the BDC) shows have taken a back seat in my priorities list of late but Japfest is always worth a visit.

The day started with a 2.15am wake up call and a 3am set off time with the Car Loan 4U guys; considering that 3am would usually be the time I decide to head to bed on a Sunday morning, I wasn’t exactly feeling enthusiastic about the day ahead…

We caught up with Joe in his Onevia on the M6 and, after a swift McDonalds breakfast and some crafty disguises…

…we arrived at Castle Combe as the sun was rising. Ian, Mark and Baggsy from Acorn were also setting up at the same time, although they were much less tired having chosen the much more intelligent solution of sleeping at the track the night before.

Matt was overwhelmed with the new Car Loan 4U merch…!

Once we were set up I decided to have a quick wander around some of the stands before the thousands of punters rolled in. The car club stands are littered around the entire perimeter of the circuit and took about an hour to walk around, so for now I just took a look at the company stands.

This stunning AE86 was parked up on one of these stands. While I guess it’s a bit of a shame that this thing probably doesn’t spend its time tearing up B roads and mountain passes I suppose it does make a change to see a meticulously preserved example.

I don’t think I need to say much more regarding this particular car…

Stunning DC5 on the Adrian Flux stand.

Midge from Fast Car’s Prelude project. It’s a shame I couldn’t get a decent shot of the interior as it’s probably the highlight of the car! If I remember correctly he bought the Prelude for around £50 – proof of what you can create with a little bit of money and a lot of creativity.

Jon’s stunning Evo sat on CCWs.

I can’t help but think that the turbo setup in the pre-facelift EK would be better utilised with a more sensible amount of rear camber. A very cool car though nonetheless.

The Kyouto Drift boys were out in force as they were also going to be competing in the Drift Kings competition that was running throughout the day.

This R32 was very nicely done.

I absolutely loved this Soarer – such clean execution.

As the gates opened to the public I walked over to the Micra club stand where some of the coolest cars I saw all day were located.

So simple, yet so effective.

This S14a was very nice – an uncluttered exterior finishing it off perfectly.

R-Motion’s awesome EG track car – the Mugen front lip and unknown rear wing work so well together.

I couldn’t help but fall for this simple S13.

I’m pretty sure this is Chesh’s old DC2 but I don’t think it’s in his posession any more. It was good to see it still looks as good as it did two years ago though.

This IS200 sat on Work Eurolines didn’t seem to be getting much attention which was a bit of a shame – it was definitely one of my favourites on the day.

This R32 was looking pretty sweet as well.

A classic case of textbook S15 modifying.

The XD9s transform this S15 from an already awesome car into a stunning one.

This R32 looked very correct.

I loved this Zenki S14 as well – great wheel choice and styling cues.

While I respect other people’s decisions with regards to what route they want to go down when modifying their car, there are some exceptions when I find myself just thinking “why?”. This S13 with an R32 rear end conversion could have worked with a fair bit more care and attention to detail, but the mix of Veilside style aero, a lot of filler and a slap-dash approach has resulted in this monstrosity.

Ah, that’s more like it!

I can’t remember the owner’s name but this Clover Green Pearl EK coupe on SA3Rs has been around for as long as I can remember from back in my Honda days. It hasn’t changed much exterior-wise but, in all honesty, I don’t think there’s much that could be improved upon.

Back in the pits the crowds continued to grow throughout the morning, with plenty of them stopping to take a look at the drift team pitting areas.

Alex, Joe, Matt and the rest of the Car Loan 4U guys had really pulled out the stops in terms of presentation – it was great to sit back and see the reaction they were getting from fans having only developed into a fully fledged team in the last few months.

Matt was on fire all day in his Z32 but I’ll cover the track action in more detail in my next post.

He was going through tyres at a fair rate of knots though…

…but, more importantly, had joined Alex in picking up a creepy co-pilot.

These kids wanted their picture taken in Matt’s 300 – I’m sure it will get them all the girls.

Joe might not have been going through tyres at the same rate but he was still having a good time pushing his Onevia beyond his usual cautious limits – it  was definitely a pleasure to watch the fairly basic Silvia holding its own against some of the more extreme cars.

I couldn’t help but mock him for his F1 driver similarities though thanks to that cap – where’s the expensive watch, celebrity girlfriend and energy drink sponsorship Joe!?

The guys also found themselves being interviewed by the event announcer later on in the day which resulted in some very cheesy one liners…



…and cheesy faces! Stay tuned for part 2.