The 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon with NAPAC was held on January 9. Drivers participating in the D1 Grand Prix this year appeared with their vehicles and conducted the D1 kick off drift in the outdoor special area.
D1 Grand Prix celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. During the event commencement from 13:00, fans have gathered in the viewing area that was created beside the special course and just like that, the venue was filled of people; this kick off drift has become an annual event at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Since the viewing area is closer to the course than it was during the series game and the Odaiba special course, the fans were able watch intensifying drifts.
Eight people from among the 2014 season top rankings had a demonstration event with the same rules as the series race. First, each person did a solo run to determine the order, and competed with a degree of perfection, drifting on the area. Whenever the driver successfully made a drift while raising a white smoke in the narrow special course, cheers from the viewing area also raised.
They decided who went in first to eighth and then proceeded to the final round in the tournament way. This time, two units ran at the same time and did a chase run, competing on how close they were to the opponent while in a drifting state. Even here, they competed with their best in matches waged as if they were series matches. The magnificent chase run, where they approached their opponents while on the verge of crashing, was waged to gather the curious audience. On the first day, the 2013 champion Masato Kawabata won.
Finally each driver said their new year’s resolutions in front of the fans. The 2014 champion Kuniaki Takahashi said, “The D1 kick off drift will also be held tomorrow and the day after. Please come watch us if you have time since we will show an awesome match.”
Takahiro Ueno appeared with an EV drift car based on the Toyota Prius developed for the series, as a new challenge. The car wasnâ€™t able to perform perfectly since it was just assembled prior to the event. However, they are planning to use the EV drift car for the tournament this season.
(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)