EVENT: D1GP 2012 Kickoff at Tokyo Auto Salon: Part II

Posted by Park Baker on 14th February in Events.

D1GPKickoffTAS 24

Continuing coverage from this year’s D1GP Kickoff from Tokyo Auto Salon, here’s a look at the tsuiso (tandem pair) battles from Saturday’s event.

D1GPKickoffTAS 22

Kawabata (RPS13) gets in a quick lap before taking on Suenaga in his FD3S RX-7.

D1GPKickoffTAS 38

Suenaga prepares for his first-round run.

D1GPKickoffTAS 33

As per the usual method, the drivers had two runs in each round, one leading and one chasing.

D1GPKickoffTAS 31

Kawabata (RPS13) took this round and advances.

D1GPKickoffTAS 21

The fact that it was only an exhibition didn’t mean anything to the drivers, who were pushing it just as hard as any normal event. Here, Kawabata takes a celebratory run as he moves on up the bracket.

D1GPKickoffTAS 230

Next up was Daigo Saito in his JZX90 Cresta…

D1GPKickoffTAS 29

…going up against Takahashi in his big Mark X.

D1GPKickoffTAS 28

Watching two big sedans battle it out was perhaps the most exciting of the first round runs.

D1GPKickoffTAS 27

After sticking closely to Takahashi, it was Saito that moved on to the next round.

D1GPKickoffTAS 25

In a head-to-head Skyline match, Nomuken and Tezuka had a well fought battle. R34 vs. ER34!

D1GPKickoffTAS 15

Tezuka took the win in his brand new Bee-R R34 machine.

D1GPKickoffTAS 03

Next up was Hibino taking on Kumakubo in the Laurel (as seen in the first shot of this post). The AE86 was used for this exhibition, but as many know, he’ll be moving on to a new weapon this season.

D1GPKickoffTAS 05

Hibino’s new 86 made its public debut at this event.


While it seems to be getting mixed reviews across the board as a D1GP performer, it looks to be up to the job.

D1GPKickoffTAS 23

It even got a short battle in with its older brother. Sibling rivalry? Okay, lame joke. Moving on…

D1GPKickoffTAS 17

After Kumakubo’s Laurel made some contact with Hibino’s AE86, Hibino won. In the second round, Saito took on Kawabata.

D1GPKickoffTAS 16

Keeping it tight.

D1GPKickoffTAS 19

After another close battle, Saito was the one to move up the bracket.

D1GPKickoffTAS 04

Here’s Hibino gearing up for his second-round run against Tezuka.

D1GPKickoffTAS 06

After last season’s R34-nosed R32 Skyline for Tezuka, this time its all-34.

D1GPKickoffTAS 11

After the two runs, Hibino came out on top and advanced to the final round.

D1GPKickoffTAS 12

A few more pair tandems among the runners up…

D1GPKickoffTAS 18

…and Saito was crowned the winner of Saturday’s exhibition round over Hibino.

D1GPKickoffTAS 34

Before the event wrapped up, all the drivers took a final lap to draw some fanfare from the crowd for the upcoming season.

D1GPKickoffTAS 09

Hirota, who didn’t take part in Saturday’s battle, also made a quick appearance.

D1GPKickoffTAS 14

Tezuka takes a final lap.

D1GPKickoffTAS 26

That Bee-R looking so clean!

D1GPKickoffTAS 08

Takahashi throws the big Mark-X around one last time for the crowd.

D1GPKickoffTAS 20

There seem to be lots of fans of this big sedan, and its easy to see why. Great looking car with lots of power.

D1GPKickoffTAS 13

Hibino gives it one last go around as well.

D1GPKickoffTAS 36

Saito posts up in the center for his win…

D1GPKickoffTAS 37

…and a wrap up by the organizers was in order, with some words about the 2012 season.

D1GPKickoffTAS 35

I’ll leave you with a couple more shots of the car many fans came to see.

D1GPKickoffTAS 02

Hope the new 86 suits Hibino well this season!

D1GPKickoffTAS 32

That’s it for the D1GP Kickoff from Tokyo Auto Salon. Keep in mind that this was strictly a demonstration/exhibition, so the results won’t affect this seasons standings. The 2012 season gets into gear in mid-April at D1GP Tokyo Drift Odaiba. More drift coverage coming your way from Japan this season, including the Drift Muscle, MSC Challenge, Grassroots events, Ebisu Drift Matsuri, and more D1GP. Looking forward to it!

::Park Baker

Written by Park Baker