It must be painful watching something you created turn into something you no longer believe in. For the founding fathers of the D1 Grand Prix drift series, Keiichi Tsuchiya and Daijiro Inada, we’re sure nothing was more difficult than the moment they decided to step down and leave the famous drift series. They became deeply concerned that the spirit of drifting had become more of a sellout event than what it used to be: an event that sold out; in their hearts, perhaps they’d done the right thing for the better good of the sport. What they decided to do instead was get back to the roots of drifting, where power and money aren’t the determining factors of a team, but instead, the skills of their driver. In just a few short months, Keiichi and Daijiro are back with a new series: Drift Muscle. I had to check out the first round at the Sea Maze Circuit, and let me tell you, I was more than impressed.
With two other drift series currently in Japan—MSC and D1—a third might not have been necessary, but it was Drift Muscle’s aim to put the fun back into drifting, from the driver’s perspective. Here, it’s all about the driving as no limitations are imposed; classes are available for every skill level, with the focus of the series aiming to improve the quality of drifting and allow fresh talents to emerge. In an effort to keep the cost of event production down, you probably won’t see Drift Muscle except at the smaller tracks. Some of D1’s driver roster came out to support Drift Muscle’s first event, such as the Drift Samurai, Kawabata, Hibino, Saito and Koguchi, who were all there driving lightly-tuned practice cars. Without any competitive attitudes or sponsor-dictated rivalries, Drift Muscle has the potential to creep up slowly; after all, Keiichi and Daijiro do know what’s right for the sport—they are the originators!