Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup 2018 in Odaiba

Drifting is an amazing motorsport.  If you don’t know anything about it, like me, it is an extreme sport and rapidly growing.  It started in Japan about thirty or forty years ago and has gone from strength to strength.  When I got my invitation to attend the FIA Intercontinental Drifting Cup 2018 in Odaiba, I was very pleased.  I was pleased because because I enjoy motorsports. However, to be honest I knew little about drifting and that was going to change.

From what I understand, the sport isn’t about who is the fastest or who crosses the line first, it is all about points.  Drifting competitions consist of elimination rounds in which two drivers at a time slide their cars, side-by-side through short courses of just 3 or 4 corners, just like at Odaiba.  Judges assess car control demonstrated by each driver and award points, according to a criteria, for things like speed, angle, line, ability to emulate the other driver, distance between cars, etc. and choose a winner who progresses to the next round of eliminations.

To get the most amount of points the drivers drove like madmen!  I mean that in the best possible way though! The levels of skill they displayed were amazing.  They got their cars literally just centimeters from some of the wall that must have had some people hold their breath.  Once away from the first wall they must have been busy in the cockpit moving the steering wheel around to make it through the upcoming corners.

On the Saturday, the event had some great weather but that degraded in the afternoon and continued on to the Sunday, which also saw intermittent rain while I was there.  The weather didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for the event. Everyone looked like they had a great time as there was not only the racing, but chances to look over the cars in the exhibit area, get signatures from the drivers and, for some lucky people, sit in the passenger seats of the cars and take a ride around the circuit.

Several cars did clip the walls, but I only saw one hit a wall and not come off.  That one did require a forklift to get it off the track. The good thing about any delay on the track.  They were dealt with decisively. Cleanup crews sprinted to get debris off and everything cleaned up. While the crews were doing their work a van was running around the circuit entertaining the crowd by hitting the brakes and flipping the rear of the vehicle high up in the air, which brought huge cheers.

The event was completely amazing and I enjoyed it immensely.  Unfortunately on both days I wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as I had planned, due to recurring camera troubles that needed urgent repair on both days!  I was very disappointed, but what I did see was looked incredibly fun and impressive.

Drift racing will return to Odaiba next year and I will be attending it again because it is very, very exciting.  If you are in Tokyo then, I would highly recommend you putting it on your bucket list of things to see! You can see its website here and its Facebook page here.