Despite having some extremely talented drivers; no Australian has ever competed in the Japanese drift championship D1GP Japan. In December 2011 Jake “Driftsquid” Jones took a holiday to Tokyo and ended up being invited to drive a Team Orange Drift School car around Ebisu. Soon after he returned to Australia he was offered a drive in the Team Orange Subaru WRX at Round 1 of the 2012 D1GP Japan event known as Tokyo Drift in Odaiba, Japan. So how the hell did this 22 year old from Adelaide score the drive? We’ll let Jake tell the story.
Wataru Furutani from Yokohama Japan’s Motorsport Dept. and Jake Jones in the secret Yokohama Design Centre.
So there I was, sitting in a meeting at the Design Centre in the headquarters of Yokohama Tyres Japan next to Kumakubo-San, the owner of Team Orange. I had no idea what they were all talking about. Then Kumakubo turns to me and says “You should come to Ebisu tomorrow”. I looked at Ian Baker, the CEO of World Time Attack and Hi Octane Racing, and he said “Yeah why not”. With no hesitation I said “Let’s do it. I would love to come and watch”. Kumakubo looks at me and laughed “Watch?” he said smiling, “You’re going to drive!”. Haha alright now this is insane!! I was in Lala Land for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted tomorrow to arrive sooner.
The next morning I still felt like death from the head cold I got on the plane trip over to Japan (Yeah Jake, and the hostess bar had nothing to do with it: Yokohama). Getting from Tokyo to Ebisu without knowing a word of Japanese is pretty daunting, if not impossible. So Tats Kano, from Yokohama Tyres Australia, wrote us a note in Japanese. We had no idea what we were doing; but with the note we had we just showed it to people, and they lead us in the right direction.
D1 Superstars Kumakubo-san, Suenaga-san and soon to be Jake Jones.
We got on the bullet train to Fukushima. Once we got to there it was a short cab ride through the mountains to Ebisu-Circuit. Luckily we had our note. Our cab driver knew no English at all. He got us to Ebisu. However, when we arrived he had no idea where he was going. The place is that huge, the cab driver got lost and we ended up on the Touge Course, hahaha. Lucky for us there were no drifters on the track at the time. We found the office at Ebisu and walked inside to meet Kumakubo-San and Suenaga-San, who has been another inspiration to my Drifting. I couldn’t believe this was all happening. Oh and it was snowing too. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen snow.
Jake’s 700 HP Nissan Onevia in Yokohama ADVAN war paint at the Tectaloy International Drift Comp at World Time Attack 2011.
So we sat around the heater and they were reading a Option magazine, funnily enough it was the latest issue which had a story about my Onevia from WTAC haha..
It’s the first time I’ve seen snow. Now I have to drift in it.
Kumakubo was a busy man so we let him be for awhile, Dave and I went for a walk outside to check out some of the insane views Ebisu has to offer. Kumakubo called us to his people mover and showed us around the track. This took around 40 mins, the place is HUGE!! I couldn’t believe how much you can do at Ebisu. It really is Drift heaven. Kumakubo then took us to the car park and started up a car, “this is yours for the day” he said to me. I was so excited. It was so surreal. I don’t think I could even say how excited I was to be driving some Ebisu tracks. I grew up up watching the Option D1GP videos and thinking “Oh how I would love to drive that track some day”. Well now it was happening right in front of me.
An Ebisu snow drift (haha). Jake lets loose on Ebisu for the first time behind the wheel of a Team Orange Drift School S14.
Kumakubo explained where we were allowed to go and were we couldn’t. As it was snowing and I had never drifted in the snow before I took a little too much precaution. I drifted the Touge Course, South Circuit and Drift Land. I took Dave for a couple spins and just had a pure blast. It was so awesome to actually experience it. I’ve now made a promise to myself that I will be back when it’s dry and I’ll purchase a car to have a full week of fun.
Jake drifting in the rain and snow in an unfamiliar car. Keep away from the walls was the only instruction!
We finished up and went over to watch Suenaga Teaching people how to Drift. After seeing these drivers in the morning and now watching them in the afternoon. Such a huge improvement it was crazy!
Keep the car away from the banks and the telegraph poles too!
Did we mention it was wet?
Before we knew it the sun had gone and we were about to get picked up. Suenaga and Kumakubo asked us if we would like to visit K-Style. Now, if you don’t know what K-Style is then you must not follow Team Orange. It’s their workshop and its where the Team Orange cars are held, walking in the place and seeing the EVO9, ECO X and C33 Laurel was so awesome. Kumakubo let us look all around them. Just looking around the workshop you notice how much time and effort goes into these cars. There were Mountains of ADVAN Neovas everywhere too. It was like the ultimate Workshop haha.
A downhill hairpin on the Touge Course. Lots of handbrake and very slippery.
My dream to becoming a D1GP Driver was a distant lifetime goal. Now it is within reach.
Soon after returning to Australia Furutani-san from Yokohama Japan’s motorsport division called Tats Kano from Yokohama Australia with some great news. He said Kumakubo-san and himself were so impressed with Jake Jones that they offered him a drive in Japan’s D1 Championship round one in Odaiba on14th April.
All Jake has to do is come up with the money to pay for the drive, plus the flights and accommodation. There’s no way he can save up the money in that time; no matter how many night shifts and no matter how much overtime he does in the winery warehouse where he works. So we have decided to help him...
All you have to do is "Like" our ADVAN Australia Facebook Page and we'll donate $1 to Jake Driftsquid Jones D1GP trip to Japan on your behalf.
Stay tuned. We have a video of Jake drifting around Ebisu coming soon.