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May 18

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Japfest at Castle Combe Race Circuit 2011, Track Sessions, Drifting and Action

Maybe it’s because we arrived incredibly early or the track sessions were starting really late, I’m not sure but we completely lost track of time as we were wondering round the stands and clubs admiring all the cars, alot of people were still pulling up and giving their cars a last minute polish before the crowds swarmed round.S14a Drift Car tuned

As I was talking to one owner about his incredible Toyota Corolla with a supercharged engine…The unmistakeable scream of Honda’s fabulous vtec echoed through the crisp, brisk morning air as a civic type r of some description was coming out of Castle Combe’s west way on to the dean straight, 2nd gear-bouncing off the limiter, 3rd gear to the top end and a swift dive into 4th before a loud throttle blip into 3rd as he was preparing the car for the straight after camp corner.

As we headed towards the barrier at dean straight, it was good to see what else was out. There was one of the older Honda Preludes out on track that was doing really well, it sat on the corners very nicely and gave the newer Honda Civic’s something to think about. Another great site on the same session was a really tidy looking Mitsubishi Evo II or III. This guy was just going balls out; it looked like he was trying to break traction and get a drift on, he didn’t ever quite do it but made some nice fast transitions between Bobbies and Westway, it was great for the spectators too, you could hear everyone oooing and aahhing, just expecting him to go off.

toyota chaser JZX100Toyota Tourer Chaser Drift CarOne of the cars that really stole the first session was a blisteringly fast red Honda civic type r. It looked completely standard, the magic was hidden underneath. As it passed, you heard the unmistakeable sound of a supercharger whine. You hear about and see these supercharged Hondas all the time- but when you see it out on track you can truly see the power difference. Every lap he would catch up on the car in front and follow quite closely, then after camp corner, going down to folly he would just pull out and overtake…effortlessly…The acceleration was truly jaw dropping. It made a standard type r look like a standard non- vtec civic. It really did sound throaty and powerful, as he went to overtake, it went to a new level of loud, stunning car.

SW22 Toyota MR2 Heavily ModifiedSW22 Toyota MR2 3sGTE tuned EngineThe next session was just as exciting, some more big power cars came out, but the three fastest cars by far were the btcc ones. Redbrick racing bought 3 of their BTCC Honda Civic Type R Cars Down, driven by professional drivers. These guys were really in a class of their own. They stayed close together and people tended to move out of the way when they saw them coming. Touge Heroes Mazda RX7It was great to see people try and keep up with them, the straight stuff wasn’t too much of an issue, but the racing car technology really shone through in the corners, this is where you could see the effects of a good aero kit, massive brakes, and a spot on suspension setup. On the British touring cars there was no role, and they were a whole 20-30mph quicker into the corners and about 10mph faster through them and very fast out of them too. Again the thing that struck you about these was the sound, you’d hear them coming from a good mile or more away and over the other side of the track.RE amemiya D1 replica Greddy RX7 carThere was another 3 big power cars constantly swapping and squabbling between each other on the track. One of them was a silver evo with a massive rear wing and diffuser-I suspect a turbo to match. There was another white evo 7 which looked fairly standard, but was ridiculously fast and an older GC8 Subaru Impreza, This Subaru seemed to have the edge over all the cars, but it looked the least modified. It was a completely standard 4 door GC8. It was great.

The way he was taking Camp Corner in that Impreza was equally as impressive, it was interesting to see how he took a completely different line to everyone else-even the touring car drivers. Every time he was coming up to the corner, everyone was like that’s waaaay to fast, you could hear people muttering and reeling thinking we’d see a big crash, somehow he took it. This guy seemed to know something about the track no one else does, he was great to watch. The way the car accelerated down the straights can only be described as relentless.

You all know what the real crowd pleaser was though..that’s right, it was the drift cars. They were loud, fast with massive body kits and wings to match. As soon as “drift cars” were mentioned over the tanoy, you’d see everyone running to the nearest corner, and falling over each other in some cases!. I think this is a testament to how well received and appreciated the sport has become in the UK.

It was definitely worth it though, they put on a great show considering the general lack of corners at Castlecombe. They must of been coming into camp corner at just over 100mph, then powering out the other side! You could see them modulating the handbrake and steering fighting to keep the car sideways at the start of the corner, then loads of smoke, sound and power as they were headed onto the straight.GBH motorsport Nissan Silvia S14aGBH Motorsport Nissan Silvia S15

It was a very pleasing site, one car in particular really stood head and shoulders above the other cars though. It was the Japspeed Subaru Impreza. Straightaway the thing that struck me was the sound, it was a screaming six cylinder compared to the usual flat 4 warble. I also think it had an anti-lag system or it was just running incredibly rich, there was loads of popping and banging on overrun and when the car was bouncing off the limiter.

The combined sound of a screaming inline 6 engine on the limiter, massive turbo wine, intake noise, screamer pipe and anti-lag style popping and banging made for a truly visceral and audibly delightful experience. The site of these cars completely sideways with smoke encompassing the whole car was the cherry on top, to be fair the drift lads stole the show.

Silvia V8 Japspeed Drift Car

They managed to get the cars out a fair few times over the day but around 4pm just as everyone was getting ready to head off, there was the final drift battles, these were really close and quite intense to watch some of them managed to get so close to each other, a small hiccup could of resulted in a big crash. Even though they were all professional competitors some of the limits showed. I think it’s because Castle Combe is generally a very fast circuit that the speeds they were doing weren’t really relative to the cars setup.

Some of the power overs out of quarry corner though were astonishing, these guys would of kept the thing flat out sideways if it wasn’t for the corner straightening out. This was probably the most visually stunning place to spectate from.

It was amazing to watch them come into the corner facing us, full opposite lock, then switching back very quickly to tackle quarry.

You can see who won the drift battles over at Driftworks

J's Racing Honda S2000

All in all, a very great, very memorable day , lots of laughs, lots of great people, lots of stunning cars, drifting and track action- the weather was great for the first time in ages too, could a day be any more perfect for a car nut? I think even if you weren’t interested in Japanese cars and even if you weren’t interested in cars at all you would of still had a very entertaining day.



The rest of my japfest coverage:

Japfest 2011 photos at Castle Combe Racing Track Day, Japanese Performance Cars Photos

Japfest at Castle Combe Race Circuit 2011, Track Sessions, Drifting and Action

Japfest 2011 at Castle Combe Race Circuit Show Report

Japfest at Castlecombe 2011, Europes Biggest Japanese Performance Car Show?

Permanent link to this article: http://carsandcoolstuff.com/2011/05/japfest-at-castle-combe-race-circuit-2011-track-sessions-drifting-and-action/

1 comment

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  1. Tyanne

    Thanks for sharing. What a plaseure to read!

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