Drifting continues to be popular in California, with thousands of fans packing the grandstands to see their favorite drift drivers square off. With that many drifting fans in attendance, it was an easy decision for HPI to put our R/C products on display at the Irwindale Speedway in California on Dec 16th and 17th, 2005. The D1 Drift “US vs Japan” battle is a special event on the D1 schedule that showcases the top professional drifters from Japan and puts them head to head with the upcoming US drivers in a competitive arena. Friday was a qualifying day where licensed D1 drivers from both sides of the pacific were fighting for a “Top 16” spot that gets them into the program on Saturday. Once narrowed down to the best 16 drivers, tandem drifting (Dog Fights) at speeds over 110MPH would decide the champion.
HPI brought out our latest Stage-D drift gear, bodies like our new Toyota Trueno for 1/10th cars and our new Volk TE37 wheels. For maximum impact we brought out the full-sized HPI Subaru Impreza race car and our bright orange HPI tent. The HPI R&D staff were on hand to demonstrate the art of nitro RC drifting and impress the crowds. Also present were members of the Touge Knights RC drift club, Driftco and Groovy Drift clubs, showing off their drifting skills. There was also a vendor village area, a Tokyo Auto Salon 2006 display, and a huge assortment of tuner cars on display. The vendor village featured everything from drift-inspired T-shirts, to the latest drifting console games, to adrenaline pumping energy drinks.
The US vs Japan drift battle on Saturday was shaping up to be an exciting one as several US drifters made into the top 16. The round of 16 competition saw intense battles throughout the field which eliminated several of the US drivers. After the qualifying smoke had settled, US driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. with his Falken Tire sponsored Ford Mustang had made it to the final match, beating the Japanese series champions from 2003 and 2005 on his way to the final. In the big final match of the weekend his opponent was Tatsuya Sakuma from Japan, driving a Nissan Silvia S15. The 10,000+ crowd on hand were treated to an awesome display of drifting skill as the two drivers battled it out. The huge crowd cheered as history was made when Vaughn Gittin Jr. became the first US driver ever to win a D1 Grand Prix series race, beating Tatsuya Sakuma in the exciting final round
HPI would like to thank everyone who came by our booth to check out the latest HPI products and watch the R/C drift action.
Check out the pictures below from the D1 US vs Japan Grand Prix...
D1 Grand Prix web site… http://www.d1gp.com/