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Team Japspeed

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  • Baptism of Fire

    Tuesday 5th June 2018 saw the start of a long week for Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter ahead of the opening round of Drift Masters Grand Prix.

    With less than 24hrs to go before boarding the ferry to the continent Matt and the team at Garage-D worked through the night and well into the early hours to make sure everything was ready for the upcoming challenge – including more than a few hours testing on the rolling road.

    Satisfied with their thorough checks the team loaded up and embarked on the 3hr drive to catch a ferry on the Dover-Calais crossing and a chance to catch up with some much needed sleep. The rest was short-lived however as a mammoth 20hr drive saw Matt and the team trudge their way through continental Europe, arriving at the Kazimierz Gorski Stadium in Plock, Poland just after midnight on the Wednesday.

    Working on a few more hours sleep the team wasted no time in setting up on the Thursday morning, ready for practice at midday. Practice came and Matt got his first look at the line he would be expected to match. Unlike anything before seen in the UK drift scene the Polish circuit contained no less than 13 transitions (unlucky for some) as well as a countless number of walls.

    “The track did not disappoint - with 13 transitions, many clipping points and walls to run I needed a satnav to find my way around”

    -Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter
    Team Japspeed Driver

    Practice went well and spirits were high as Matt quickly found the judged line and it was clear the hard-work from everyone involved had paid off. With everything prepared the team could rest ahead of the main event on Friday.

    Loaded up with a fresh set of Maxxis VR1 Tyres, Matt was keen to get out on track for P1. Unfortunately a series of incidents would mean Matt and 5 other drivers wouldn’t be able to complete a run safely. P2 came around and Matt put in a pair of fantastic runs despite the 30°C heat and layers of rubber being laid down over the course of the day. Suffering from a little too much grip in practice, the team dialled out some of the extra grip from the car’s setup ready for the 1st qualifying session.

    Unlike the weather conditions we normally expect here in the UK it soon became apparent that Matt’s Skyline was not coping well with the heat. Despite some mechanical gremlins Matt pushed hard. Unfortunately straightening on his first qualifying run meant Matt found himself in a do-or-die situation going into Q2.

    Having not trekked across the continent to play things safe; the team added a made some last minute tweaks to fine-tune the car’s setup. Matt laid it all on the line and put on an incredible performance - nearing the end of the run Matt was sitting in 2nd place overall in Qualifying. All he had to do was make the last corner.

    True to his do-or-die style Matt chucked the car sideways however with the sun setting and the grip levels on track dropping rapidly; Matt soon realised he had pushed too hard as the tyre wall caught hold of the back end of the car causing Matt to straighten and bring a premature end to his weekend.

    Disappointed with the result Matt and team took the opportunity to relax on Saturday and watch what is rapidly becoming known as the best (and perhaps most challenging) drift championship in the world.

    Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to congratulate Conor Shanahan, James Deane and Tor Arne Kvia on taking podium at this event. We can’t wait for round 2 in Hungary in just under 2 weeks time.

  • Return To The Thunderdrome

    The BIGGEST celebration in UK drifting took place last weekend as the British Drift Championship returned to where it all started 10 years ago; Teesside Autodrome.

    Arriving early on the Saturday Matt ‘Doorhunter’ Carter, Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith and Matt ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Denham couldn’t wait to get out on track for practice. Owing to some final preparations on his usual drift weapon the weekend would see Matt Carter at the wheel of the Japspeed Lexus IS200 which you may remember underwent a thorough tune-up ahead of mechanic-come-driver Ant Thompson stormed onto the UK DriftCup competition earlier this year. Despite a few teething issues at the wheel of a new car, all three drivers were confident going into qualifying the next day.

    Day two and a slightly damp start meant things could go either way in qualifying. First up and Paul Smith put in an impressive 1st run, smoking up the Teesside circuit, covering the crowd in a cloud of Maxxis Tyres smoke; earning him 77.7 points. With a strong first pass Paul dropped the hammer on run 2 scoring a strong 81.3 points and 12th place overall.

    Next up; RDX Academy instructor Matt Denham showed us all exactly what his #RXV8 is capable of with 87.7 points on his first run and a consistent performance through into the second (with a score of 86.3 points) handed him a very respectable 6th place in qualifying.

    Last but not least Matt Carter proved practice had paid off in the Japspeed IS200. Covering the crowds in Maxxis VR1 smoke clouds; earning a straight 85 points. True to form Matt threw the IS200 at each and every clipping point. An equally strong 2nd run earned Matt 9th in qualifying just 3 places behind teammate Matt Denham.

    Heading into the Top 24 battles Matt Carter came face to face with Lee Barker. Two strong contenders who in true BDC fashion placed everything on the line to ensure a spectacle for the gathered crowds. It may have been a new car to him but that didn’t stop the Doorhunter living up to his name on the chase run with the front wing of the Lexus spending a significant amount of time by the door of Lee’s Skyline. Unfortunately the judge’s decision would be made against Matt Carter; bringing a premature end to his weekend.

    Paul Smith would be pitted against Scott Cartledge in his top 24 battle. On form throughout his lead run Paul made it difficult for his competitor to keep up the pace. Likewise on his chase run Paul kept the pressure on matching Scott’s speed and angle incredibly closely. A unanimous decision in Paul’s favour ensured him a place in the Top 16.

    Advancing into the Top 16 Paul Smith now found himself against Driftworks driver Richard Grindrod. Always a favourite with the fans a Japspeed-Driftworks battle never fails to disappoint – this was no exception. With little to call between the two drivers a tough choice for the judges put Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith into the Great 8.

    In his top 16 battle Matt Denham came up against Matt Stevenson in his E92. Bold entries and lots of angle were the order of the day here. On Denham’s lead run it was a wonder his opponent managed to stay on course through the trail of Maxxis Tyres smoke engulfing the circuit. Giving his all on his chase run, Matt Denham kept up the pressure – earning him the place in the Great 8 alongside his teammate.

    Heading into the Great 8, Matt Denham had no mean feat ahead of him as he came up against Simon Perry and his GTR R35. A strong lead run from Matt not only covered his opponents in a cloud of tyre smoke but helped place him in a strong position going into his chase run. Despite a solid lead run, Matt would still have to push hard to keep up the pace with the GTR. Despite his efforts it would spell an end to Matt’s weekend.

    Meanwhile and stoked on his successes so far Paul Smith was confident going into his Great 8 battle against Jason Clark. However never a competitor to be taken lightly the Slide Motorsport driver would easily put up a fight for the ex-BDC Champion in his LS-powered RX7. An incredibly close battle left the judges with no other option but to run again under the One More Time rule as no unanimous decision could be made.

    Finally into the Top 4 and Paul Smith would be pitted against IDC and BDC veteran Duane McKeever who it was fair to say had been on fire all weekend. Both drivers were clearly on top form with no quarter given by either side through the respective lead /chase runs. A tense few moments passed before a close call decision from the judges found in Duane’s favour with Paul ‘Smokey’ Smith claiming his first podium of the 2018 season in 2nd place. A fantastic result all round with Team Japspeed also claiming the Team Constructors Title.

    Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to congratulate Duane McKeever, Paul Smith and Martin Richards on taking podium at this event.

  • One More Time

    May 26th and 27th 2018 will forever mark a significant milestone in the history of the Irish Drift Championship as this weekend saw the last ever IDC round taking place at Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Co. Dublin – Drift on the Docks!

    Arriving early on Saturday Shane ‘Sully’ O’Sullivan and the team wasted no time, despite the scorching heat to get the pits setup and make the most of the available practice time out on track. With unseasonably dry weather (for a bank holiday weekend at least) the conditions were ideal for a few days of high-spirited adrenaline-fueled tyre-smoking action!

    Making the most of both Saturday and Sunday practice sessions Shane and the newly converted 1JZ-powered Japspeed S15 were on top form with man and machine performing in almost perfect harmony. Things were looking good going into qualifying in the morning.

    The dry conditions held up throughout qualifying which allowed Shane to put the power down and cover Dún Laoghaire Harbour in Maxxis tyre smoke to the revered awe of the gathered crowds. Earning himself a score of 80.4 in his first run put him in a great position to push the Japspeed S15 right to the limit (we wouldn’t have it any other way) in his 2nd run – which it’s fair to say was only more exciting than the run which came before it. Having locked down two consecutively great runs Shane secured himself 9th position overall in qualifying.

    Heading into Top 24 and a sudden weather change bringing somewhat wetter conditions Shane found himself face to face with Jack Shiel and his 260bhp E36. Leading the way on run 1 Shane persevered with a setup perhaps better suited to the drier conditions earlier in proceedings. For the most part a clean run however the growingly torrential conditions would get the better of the S15’s setup and a touch too much power saw Shane pirouette directly in front of his competitor.

    With everything to play for on his chase run Shane put everything on the line and pushed hard to try and apply the pressure to his rival. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be Shane’s weekend as the judge’s decision would rule against him to see an earlier than hoped end to Shane’s charge for the podium.

    Everyone at Team Japspeed would like to congratulate Duane McKeever, Jack Shanahan and Mitch Larner on making podium at this event. We’ll be coming back harder and stronger than before in the Irish Drift Championship Prize Fight!

  • One Crazy Weekend

    Last weekend saw the Irish Drift Championship return in an assault of tyre-smoking adrenaline-fueled mayhem which saw some of the best drifters Ireland have to offer alongside an array of international intruders descend upon the Mondello Park Circuit.

    Continue reading

  • Sunday Service

    Easter bank holiday weekend saw the triumphant return of the British Drift Championship in spectacular fashion. Rising from long dark nights spent in workshops and garages across the UK and beyond tyre-smoking junkies of all ages descended upon Rockingham Motor Speedway for the inaugural event on the BDC calendar. Continue reading

  • Interview With Matt Denham

    Ahead of the start of the 2018 British Drift Championship we caught up with Team Japspeed's newest driver; Matt Denham to talk about his career so far and his plans for the coming season. Continue reading

  • Japspeed's Newest Recruit

    Team Japspeed are delighted to announce that we have a new driver joining the team for 2018, Matt Denham. After success in the 2017 British Drift Pro-Am Championship, where he won the Pro-Am Drivers’ Driver of the Year award, he will make the step up to the Pro class, where he will be hoping to clinch his first title.

    Continue reading

  • Wheely Good News

    Arguably one of the easiest and most cost effective bolt-on performance handling modifications for any car is fitting wheel spacers to provide that perfect fitment.z
  • Lexus See Then

    You might have heard that DriftCup launch their 2018 season this weekend and you also might have heard our long-serving team mechanic Anthony Thompson will be competing in our Lexus IS200. But have you seen the new look? Check out the images below for a sneak peak ahead of the weekend's event!

  • Upping The Ant-T

    For 2018, we have a new driver competing with us – and it’s a face many in the drifting scene may already know - Japspeed Team Mechanic, Ant Thompson. Ant will be driving in the UK grassroots series; DriftCup.

    Ant is no stranger to Team Japspeed; working hard wielding spanners behind the scenes for the past 8 years. In that time he has become an integral part in getting our cars ready to compete in the British and Irish Drift Championships as well as the countless shows and events the team attend every year.

    With a fascination for all things automotive from an early age Ant has been pursuing a career in Drifting long before joining Japspeed in 2010. Many in the scene will know Ant not only for his work in the Japspeed camp but also for his eye-catching S14 which can often be found at drift practice days up and down the country. With that in mind it seems only fitting that he should don a Japspeed race suit and hop in the driver’s seat. After all who else knows our cars better?

    For the 2018 season however Ant will be retiring his Nissan and taking the wheel of the trusty Japspeed Lexus IS200. Of course this isn’t your average IS200 and is fully equipped; including a 2JZ engine as well the usual drift spec modifications. Ant’s new ride is currently undergoing some TLC in the Japspeed stables to ensure it is fighting fit before joining the 2018 DriftCup grid in a week’s time.

    It would be fair to say the Japspeed IS200 has seen some action over the years – it has taken plenty of abuse from some famous faces including Formula D veteran Ryan Tuerck, Gymkhana Grid Champion Luke Woodham, and Japspeed brand ambassador Rick Van Goethem.

    With the season starting very soon, there isn’t long to wait before seeing the Lexus back out on the track. DriftCup starts at Rockingham on 11th March.

    Good luck Ant!

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