There’s no denying the devastating loss of life, destruction of property and profound sadness of the March 11 earthquake in the Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures that measured 9.0 on the Richter scale. As the region began to rebuild about three weeks after the shaker and the resulting 33-foot tsunami, we reached out to take the pulse of the motorsports and tuning scene.
Andy Gray, owner of Powervehicles.com, a tuning shop, drift car prep house and JDM vehicle exporter based at Ebisu Circuit in the Fukushima prefecture, stepped up and did a little legwork for us. He talked to Kumakubo, one of the most respected players in the Japanese tuning industry, owner of the Team Orange D1 drift team and the famed Ebisu Circuit. Kumakubo-san reported the following:
Sportsland Sugo is relatively undamaged, but due to its location, very close to many of the affected areas, it’s being used as a helicopter base, distributing relief supplies to the local area. The plan calls for motorsport activities to resume sometime in May.
Sendai Highland suffered in a major way from the earthquake. It has critical damage to the dragstrip, main circuit and control tower, and repairs are expected to take at least one year.
Motegi’s oval track has been cracked and the main terrace has also suffered catastrophic failure, all of which is undergoing repairs and shouldn’t take long to fix. Tsukuba Circuit suffered minimal damage and was expected to reopen April 19.
Ebisu Circuit had plenty of cracks and landslides. The racing surface in Driftland took a hit with the far turn losing some surface, the grandstands collapsing and plenty of fissures. The garages suffered greatly with a few sliding downhill or left teetering on the brink, some with cars still inside.
Kumakubo’s own shop, K Style, suffered no structural damage; it was just shaken around a lot. Local friends at Agent K’s tuning shop were also shaken badly — windows were smashed and cracks appeared in the concrete. Local GT-R tuning shop RGF escaped with no real damage.