The Japanese motherland has thrown some amazing scenes in front of my camera, but none of the images have evoked a reaction quite like the missiles that slip, slide and scrape around Ebisu Circuit. The drifting world has become strangely accustomed to the term ‘missile’, and this trending style has certainly had its time where battle scars were cool, rather than being a shameful reminder of running out of talent. Coming face to face with some of the most infamous missiles Japan has offered up, has taught me that there is always more than meets the eye with these mythical drift weapons.
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If you had to associate Japan with one particular make and model of car you would be hard pressed to argue anything other than the Toyota AE86. This humble little fifth generation Corolla is Japan’s darling of drift cars, undeniably the best car for delivering tofu in, and has captured the souls of tuners and car fanatics all over the world. So when Kamata-san, his brother and their father decided to specialise in tuning one model of car it wasn’t a difficult choice to make it the humble hachiroku.
The sport of observed trials is usually done on two-wheels with somewhere around 250cc, but down here in New Zealand the sport has been adapted. We added a couple of wheels, an extra passenger, and threw another 5000 – 6000 cc into the mix. Anytime a national round of 4×4 trials comes close to where I live, I make sure to go out and watch it (well watch through the videwfinder).
New Zealand’s obsession with the rotary engine is no secret, and downunder we have some pretty cool cars hiding away in sheds, parked up in little country towns, and even threading the needle down gravel rally stages. These photos are nothing new (some have been popped up on Facebook here and there), but I came across them again recently and every time I see these pics they bring a smile to my face.
A weekend out shooting is always a good weekend (as long as it doesn’t pelt down with rain). Last weekend the 4&Rotary Promotions Jamboree was held on my doorstep literally and I was on duty covering things for NZPC & TimeattackR.
At the start of 2018, I adopted a ‘keep photography fun’ approach to this year. I got a message from a buddy of mine who had just got his new bunny all signed off. I sorted the importation of this genuine TRA-Kyoto kit from Japan so was quite keen to go for a ride in the completed product. Of course I grabbed the camera to flick off a couple of shots.
Here is what we ended up with.
Not long ago I was sitting in a rental car cruising through the French countryside when I spotted a sign adorned with ‘LeMans’. I was initially en route to another destination, but how could a petrol head like myself resist stopping in at a place as famous as the Circuit de la Sarthe!?
As a photographer I feel it is important to be able to keep things fresh. After shooting cars for a number of years there are times where I become so bored shooting another generic car consisting of a blister kit, wing, hippari stretch tyres and a set of aftermarket gauges. I realised last year that the key to not hitting photographers block is to make sure I change things up every once in a while so recently I indulged in some Grand Prix Hydroplane racing.
As I write this, the 2018 WRC season has just kicked off in Monaco, with drivers leaving service it is time to switch on the anti-lag, and bolt on the lightpods. As it is a weekend of rallying, it seems only right to keep the blog on a rallying theme too!
In 1999 I remember coming across a photo of a yellow and black Nissan in Japan that ran under a series known as JGTC. Ever since that moment it was love at first sight. This car has adorned my computer desktop, I have built models of it, driven it in Gran Turismo lap after lap and it just seems to have been the one car that I have never forgotten. It was one of the first Japanese competition machines I ever stumbled across, so not long ago I decided to track it down and do something I never thought as a 15-year old I would have the chance to do – come face to face with it.