Published on July 6th, 2014 | by Jos Roder


G1GP: Ebisu – Spring 2014

Since 2009 G1GP has been a Japan based foreigner only drift competition, held at Ebisu on the Friday before the famous Drift Matsuri kicks off. Since its inception, drivers from over a dozen countries have tested their skills against other foreigners from around the world.

For the 2014 Spring G1 GP nearly 40 drivers represented Australia, NZ, Brazil, Finland, Ireland, USA, Switzerland, Italy and the UK.

As per a normal drift competition, sign on takes place and you get your stickers and goodies.

Window banner, G1 GP T-shirt, door numbers and a can of Beast Eye energy drink to keep us all charged.

Everything applied, it was time for driver’s briefing.

Track owner Kumakubo and fellow D1 driver Suenaga explained the lines required with help from our translator.

There is no scrutineering for G1, however they asked that everyone keep their driver window closed in case we rolled. Encouraging!

Kumakubo then asked is there anyone that does not have a driver window. Chris DeJager sheepishly put up his hand. They then asked him to cover up the window area as best as he could.

This was the result. Gaffa tape window net complete.

Starting here, there is a slight downhill run and cars are well into 3rd gear before initiating into the tightening right hander.

The white bus in the distance was the judges location for the day. Drivers needed to stay wide (to the outer ripple strip) entering into the right hander, hit the apex at the slowest point then exit to the outer ripple strip before transitioning into the last left hander just out of shot.

I remember being pretty stoked at this point lining up to begin practice.

The recovery/safety team looked on, with traditional broom ready for quick access at the rear.

Here is a shot as I lined up for my first practice run.

After practice, our qualifying was a roulette style, where one of our runs would be judged and we wouldn’t know which one.

Post qualifying, everyone gathered round to hear who would achieve a top 16 spot.

I knew I had not gone wide enough in my qualifying runs and my feelings were confirmed when they announced the Top 16.

The only benefit of not being in the top 16 was I could take some shots  as the battles unfolded!

The back straight was used as a parking/pit area for the Top 16 cars as it was right beside the front straight.

Some of the Top 16 drivers swapping stories and watching the other battles unfold,

Ken Leong battled with fellow Aussie Chris DeJager during the Top 8 and progressed through to the Top 4. (This photo is a video frame capture, video to come!)

The final battle came down to Ken Leong driving a S14 and Alex Zaffino in a R32 Skyline.

With a decision made, the foreign drivers all gathered to wait for the announcements!

Ken Leong is a happy winner, Alez Zaffino 2nd and Brendan Greaves 3rd, making it an all Aussie Top 3.

After the presentation, G1 has a new tradition of a special game of rock, paper, scissors to win prizes and even tyres.

It is a sight to behold seeing 40 foreigners punching the sky in unison and gives the G1 GP a truly unique flavour that I think all the drivers really enjoy.

Although I didn’t qualify, I was really quite content to just be a part of the experience and enjoyed every moment of my first G1GP.

Thanks to the Ebisu team for putting the event on.

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About the Author

Jos Roder

is the owner of Drift Life and delves deeper into drifting culture. Jos started drifting more than 10 years ago after discovering a sport existed that captured his favourite motoring endeavour, going sideways! Jos works full-time in the automotive/motorsport field as a PR Manager and Advanced Driving Instructor and currently owns a JDM S15 Nissan Silvia for drift/track/hillclimb duties.

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