King Of Nations Practice – Ebisu Circuit 2017

Written by Joe Ascoli
Photography by Joe Ascoli

Being in Japan…scratch that. Being at Ebisu Circuit – is unlike anything else. A quick 3.5 hour drive from Narita Airport, and when you start to see sights like this, you’re close.

Photo Aug 21, 5 28 34 AM (1)

Originally, I planned on driving the other courses, but two things stopped me. And for the record, nothing stops me from driving; but, watching my first ever drift competition, in Japan, at Ebisu Circuit, at Minami Course – yeah, I can go a day without driving.

The Siekert brothers, of B&M Okinawa, were really dialed in practice. Seen below with the matching Origin Lab S14’s.

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Seeing Naoki drive in person is something every drift enthusiast should witness. The aggressiveness, yet perfect precise control, is something to look up to. Naoki brought out his Origin Lab equipped SR S15, to Round 2 of KON, and it was looking very badass. The Team Burst/N-Style group knows how to properly execute an S-Chassis.

It was exciting to see Daigo Saito out with his demo JZX100. This car does not fit into FD Japan’s rulebook, so it is strictly a play car. The motor is set extremely far back, in the bay, to dial in the COG and overall balance of the car. But, since the firewall was modified, it is deemed illegal for competition. Luckily, King Of Nations has a different set of rules.

I’m sure you can imagine how amazing this car sounded cresting the Minami Jump and barreling inches away from the wall. JZ at full noise; so good.

Not many drivers were taking practice lightly, as seen below.

This was an exciting moment. Nakamura and Saito headed out for some battle practice.

I’ll let the next series of pictures speak for themselves.

Okay, switch! It was wild watching Nakamura pull hard on Saito’s JZX.

With practice nearing the end, Nakamura was the last car on track.

Drivers piled back into the pits to do some last minute changes before the introduction ceremony began.

Bill Siekert, seen below, working on his son’s S14. Bill is an awesome guy, from the US, who now lives in Okinawa where he runs B&M Okinawa.

Chris DeJager, seen below, is an incredible driver. Qualifying 3rd, behind Saito, and Nakamura, it was going to be quite the battle to watch these guys compete for top spot. Unfortunately, he had some trouble during one of his battles, but I’ll get to that in the next article.

Keiichi Tsuchiya, seen below, one of the three judges of KON. Apparently a very funny guy, as he had the crowd laughing the entire time. If only I could understand Japanese…one day.

Driver introductions and battle results in the next article!

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