[High-Resolution Photo Gallery] + [Utterli Microblog Feed]

Speed:Sport:Life and highmileage.org trailed Guinness-setting drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. all the way to Japan, and disappointingly discovered a dearth of wireless connectivity. Go figure. Instead of a live video microblog, S:S:L will bring readers a daily digest of Captain Clutch Kick’s first sideways excursion at Ebisu Circuit. Vaughn’s 2010 Mustang has been tuned with Ford Racing accessories to deliver over 500 horsepower — enough to shred two sets of fresh Azenis per day. Don’t worry, they’re free…

Friday, 6 March

[22:00] Upon arrival into Tokyo Station from Narita Airport, “ka-kichi” (car-crazy) travelers would do well to visit the Tomica store. Or not… half of my souvenir money has already been spent on incredibly obscure diecasts.

Saturday, 7 March

[09:00] The climb to Ebisu is lined by a drive-through safari that houses two rhinos, a cheetah, wolves, and flamingos.
[09:15] All kinds of JDM skunk fills the paddocks between Ebisu’s eight tracks. Spotted: a Toyota Caldina, a slammed JDM Odyssey, [etc]. It’s sureal to see 63-horsepower keijidosha linking every corner sideways. [photo]
[10:00] Our non-homologated ‘Stangs wear incredibly conspicuous race car transport tags. They’re quite possibly the only plates that have more street cred than Michigan Manufacturer plates. [photo]
[11:00] Holy cow. Turns out Vaughn Gittin is the coolest, most laid back, most approachable racecar driver ever. He offered to let me ride with him to the gas station, and I took the opportunity to hit him with the hardest question in my arsenal. Click to hear his very frank answer.
[11:15] Two of the three D1 cars on hand are based on vehicles that are out of production. Can you guess what this is? [photo]
[11:30] You know, I wonder if this logo was ever reproduced in Gran Turismo… [photo]
[12:45] The taping of a V-Option intro segment could have been mistaken for a diplomatic summit. Could drifting replace “ping-pong diplomacy”?
[14:00] I was allowed to take a stock 2010 ‘Stang around Ebisu’s beginner course. Drift courses are comprised of incredibly tight decreasing-radius turns, and are almost innavigable as road courses. The old Gran Turismo manual used to speak in deadpan about how the fastest way around some circuits could only be found using inertial drifts. “Ebisu’s “school track” proves this point. Vaughn took me on an eight-tenths ride that was tough to capture on camera — we’re working on steadier in-car video.
[20:00] Obliging a rural ryokan tradition, Vaughn signed autographs for our hotel to display in the lobby. While signing, he offered the hotel’s owner a ride in the side seat tomorrow — you’ll want to see this!

 Sunday, 8 March

[13:00]  Ms. Suzuki, proprietor of the Azumakan “ryokan” hotel in Fukushima, has arrived at the track in traditional dress. [photo]
[13:15] Ms. Suzuki helmets up as she prepares to be the first woman in a kimono to drift. [photo] [13:25] The Mustang looks great after five laps with Ms. Suzuki aboard. [photo]
[15:00] This RB25-powered Nissan Laurel has been slinking around the paddock. Dirty. [photo]
[15:15] Apparently, the previous owner of this Toyota Soarer was a huge Texas enthusiast. [photo]
[16:00] As if the safari experience yesterday wasn’t surreal enough, a man and his monkey have just hit the scene. For real. [photo] [17:00] I know “The Gittin Pose” can’t be forced, but I had to ask for a lesson… I think my next attempt will be more accurate. [photo]

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Adam Barrera

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