How you got into drifting: I was watching street drifting VHS tapes that my dad would rent from those tiny Japanese video rental stores in Torrance, CA. At first, I didn’t care for it until I saw some Japanese dude in a JZZ30 soarer drive from the north side of Japan to the southside hitting up all the famous canyon roads and drifting them. He was a badass. Then I began following the D1GP series closely and, ultimately, forcing my dad to let me try.
At the same time, I was doing a little bit of stage rally as a co-driver for my dad.
Judging experience: I've done some judging across the board from some smaller Indonesian drifting events in Bali, to Red Bull’s Car Park Drift in Oman and Dubai. Most of the time i’d rather be behind the wheel, but it’s always nice to see the talent in different parts of the world.
First drift car: 1992 Nissan 240sx. It was champagne exterior with brown interior. My favorite color combo.
First event: Speed Trials USA at Streets of Willow 2001/2002. I did a stupid manji on the front straight, lost control, went off course, and almost hit the flagger. I was immediately kicked out. I was also 14 years old with no driver’s license. I don’t know how I was able to get on track. This was also not a drifting event.
Favorite drift car: Too many to list. Ok maybe JZX100 Cresta.
Favorite track: Sepang International Circuit
Biggest drift inspiration (driver(s)): Taniguchi would have to be high on my list of inspirational drivers. I still watch his old on-boards and his hand movements. Till this day, I don’t think anyone is as calm and smooth behind the wheel. A close friend of mine and huge inspiration to me is Daigo. Daigo is a dont-give-a-F kind of guy behind the wheel. I’ve spent countless hours with him behind the wheel, and his driving is out of this world. He crashes a lot and knows no limits!
Other involvement in drifting: Drifting has brought me a long way. Starting from Drift Days with Drift Association back in 2001, to traveling the world has been a pretty solid career. I currently compete in Formula Drift mainly, but still do smaller grassroots events here and there.
Why Super D Cup? Because Super-D embodies what the spirit of Japanese drifting is about. Style and fun. No pressure from competition or sponsors, rivals and/or peers. Super D is an avenue for drifting fanatics to express themselves with their cars, the driving, the culture, etc.
Words of wisdom for competitors: Have fun. Remember why you’re there in the first place. Real winners leave with a smile! Oh and Power, Angle, Grip. 3 things you need to win. lol
How You got into drifting: I bought my first S13 back in 1996? ... after watching Option DVD with Itai san's blue 180sx drifting. I started to drift on the streets with couple of my friends because drifting wasn't even known yet.
Judging experience: Clubfr, Spotter, and chassis guru for Formula D pro teams
First drift car: S13 240sx 1991
First event: Clubfr DDay (official event), before that mostly on the streets
Favorite drift car: Itai 180sx
Favorite Track: USAIR raceway park
Biggest drift inspiration: I would have to say Taniguchi Nobuteru. I watched a lot of his in car videos and tried to emulate his style when I was starting out. There are so many good drivers with different styles now - it's hard to say. Naoki Nakamura is definitely one of my current favorites to watch.
Other involvement: I'm always helping out with instructing at our local event - Clubfr Ddays. I also started an exhibition event called Automass and we host events to showcase drifting locally. I'm currently helping several drivers in Formula D with spotting and chassis setup. I try to get out and drive as much as possible for fun. I still enjoy it very much.
Why Super D Cup? Super D was something Julian and I talked about casually before it became official. Super D is about having fun and bringing Japan style to the states. It's exciting to showcase Japan style to the states. I was involved with helping bringing Naoki and prepping his S13.
Words of wisdom: There are different views of what drifting is in the last 5 years due to a focus on Formula D. I think drifting is about driving pleasure and self-improvement. There is more emphasis on building a proper "drift" car now than the actual driving and technique. Build a fundamentally sound drift car and keep it simple. Learn as many techniques as possible, and watch drivers that you want to emulate. From there, you need to develop your own style and go faster. As you advance your skill set, you'll start to figure out what you need from the car and you'll find your own style. Having a great drift car isn't about making 1000hp, find a good balance and go drive....a lot with your friends. Have fun!
Hometown: Temple City, CA
How you got into drifting: Because of my friends who were really into drag racing and car shows, we watched a lot of Option Videos and read the magazines. I didn't have the money to successfully do what they did, so I decided to work on my driving instead. Thanks to the internet, I became friends with other people, such as Dave and Mark from Slide Squad, did a lot of touge driving and street drifting and the rest is history.
Judging experience: Drift Day Competitions in So Cal and Midwest, Top Drift, NOPI Drift, and Final Bout
First drift car: 1991 Nissan 240sx
First event: When I started, drifting was not allowed at any race tracks. We had to go undercover at SpeedTrial events in 2001 and drift in the back sections of Streets of Willow and act like we were just going too fast in the corners.
Favorite drift car: Koguchi's black 180sx with the engine pushed back, v-mount, and Blitz Z2 wheels
Favorite track: I've never driven it, but one day I hope to spend several days at Nikko Circuit
Biggest drift inspiration (driver(s)): Taniguchi was my favorite when it came to solo driving. He had so much speed and control, yet inside the car he was so calm and smooth like he could see everything in slow motion. When it came to tandem driving, Kumakubo was my favorite. It's a lot more common now, but back then, nobody could drive up on a person's door like Kumakubo could. He was so aggressive, but could keep it under control at the same time.
Other involvement in drifting: I was a drifting instructor for Speedtrial and Club4AG since Drift Day 1. I competed in several competitions including Option Ikaten, Falken Drift Showoff, D1GP, Formula D, and RS-R Drift Festivals. Today I continue to be VP and head instructor of Drifting Pretty and just drive for fun when I have the chance.
Why Super D Cup? Super D embodies a spirit that I really like. The competition gives a nod to the exciting style of driving that inspired me as a young driver and emphasizes it so that it can continue to inspire the next generation of drivers. I'm really relieved and excited that Japanese influence is still relevant in American drifting.
Words of wisdom: Have a really good understanding of yourself and your car. I, as well as everybody else, can see it when you're in complete control of your car while pushing it to its limit. Nothing is more exciting than seeing that, whether you're driving an 80hp AE86 or a 400hp s13. Also, don't worry about what other drivers are doing. No car is the same, so you all shouldn't be driving the same. Drifting is an expression of yourself and Super D is a great place to showcase that. Above all else, though, make sure to have fun and "drift with your smile" as Kumakubo would say.
Hometown: Berkeley, CA
How you got into drifting: My interest in cars began the summer before my freshman year of high school. I was into Japanese supercars like FD RX7s and Supras. I would buy the tuner magazines, but they were all full of HIN show winners and cars that didn’t get driven. Then I saw an article in an old Super Street magazine about drifting and Japanese cars. It was called “Right Hand Rides”. There were a few busted 180SXs and Silvias that “drifted.” Went and looked it up and that sealed the deal!
Judging experience: I’ve judged a few events at Thunderhill in the past. One that ended with Julian and Ryan going at it!
First drift car: FC RX-7
First event: First one I went to was Drift Showoff 2003, where I saw fellow judge Benson compete against Koguchi! First event I drove was a Thunder Hill full track day
Favorite drift car: For my personal car, I would choose any S-Chassis. But my favorite car I like to see drifting is a FD RX7.
Favorite track: Meihan! But I really wish I could have driven Sekia Hills.
Biggest drift inspiration (driver(s)): Hiroshi Fukuda for just how wild and powerful his 180SX was back in 03-05. His driving style was very different too. Short gearing and a crazy sounding car! Kazuhiro Tanaka when he drove the S15. All of Team Burst, Akinori Utsumi, Atsushi Kuroi, Kazuya Bai, and Fumiaki Komatsu for really getting me into it! Kansai style!
Other involvement in drifting: Helped get Naoki Nakamura here for Super D Matsuri, Works for Wolfreign Motors, and Stacked Inc in Osaka, Japan. I am always trying my best to expose my friends to the purest form of drifting from Japan - giving any advice or suggestions when I can!
Why Super D Cup? Because there is no better way to follow up Super D Matsuri than this. We all need to raise the bar for grassroots drifting and this is the way to do it!
Words of wisdom: Drive hard! Drifting is not new here anymore. I want to hear you on the gas! Be on each others doors (not through them) and put on a show! You all know what you have to do!