Yasuyuki Kazama

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Yasuyuki Kazama
Nationality  Japan
Born (1970-02-01) 1 February 1970 (age 48)
Matsumoto, Nagano
D1 Grand Prix
Years active 20012006
Teams Kei Office, DG-5, Team M.O.V.E.
Wins 7
Best finish 1 in 2005
Championship titles
2005 1

Yasuyuki Kazama (風間靖幸, Kazama Yasuyuki, born 1 February 1970, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan) is a drifting driver from Japan, formerly competing in D1 Grand Prix, well known for using the Nissan Silvia S15. He is also known as Waku Waku and Spin Benz Dokan.

Biography[edit]

Kazama was first introduced to drifting at age 17 when he watched Gengo Kitagawa, who later became his spotter and mentor, drifting on a touge.[1] As soon as he got his driving licence he began drifting in his Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 with the proceeds of his job in a filling station. He later escaped death when his car slid down underneath a crash barrier and fell 30 feet down the mountain.[2]. He was a originally a mechanic and sponsor driver for "Kei-Office" until August 31st, 2005, when he left the company to start up his own shop[3][4] called Rodextyle but he continued to support Tsuchiya's company as the sponsor driver for his then-new company DG-5 until 2007 which he eventually retired from competition drifting to focus on Rodextyle.

He was formerly known as Spin Benz Dokan due to a incident that happened after the 2001 D1GP season finals in Nikko, when Sunpros had filmed a 'Team Drift' segment for the Drift Heaven series and involved hitting a then-D1 Driver Toru Maruyama's daily Mercedes Benz. He was later known as Waku Waku Kun or Rodeo Clown due to his reputation as a clown within the series and his being well known for his Rodeo Drift, a form of doughnutting by sitting on the driver's door of the car which he first practiced at the Big-X events, then later at D1GP pre-tsuisou rounds warm-ups in 2005 when he changed the side windows of his car to make it possible to perform the trick.

Kazama is also known in the United Kingdom for his only mainstream TV appearance outside Japan in the BBC2 show Top Gear, in which he teaches Richard Hammond drifting in a stock Vauxhall Monaro VX-R. As with the rising popularity of the drifting scene there, he has since made two appearances in both Autocar in April 2006, driving a Caterham Seven and February 2007 issue of the Octane.[5][1]

Drifting career[edit]

He made a name for himself in drifting contests throughout the mid-90s, driving a Toyota Mark II JZX90, and a Nissan Silvia S14. In 1994, he was 3rd place for CarBoy's STCC event. In 1997, he won the Chubu Ikaten which took place at Rally Kids INA (INA Circuit) along with his team "Kazama Juku". He became one of the first drivers to use an S15 for drifting but was heavily in debt until his patience paid off when he was sponsored as a driver by Kei Office, a tuning company which was owned by Keiichi Tsuchiya whom he later worked for as a mechanic. In 2000, he won the 2nd Ikaten Superstar Drift Battle held at Ebisu Circuit's South course.

D1 Grand Prix

From when he first started in the D1GP series at the end of 2000, he had moderate success, but when he teamed up with Gengo, things started to pay off. He ran his personal S15 until Kei-Office debuted a blue S15 at the Final Round in Nikko, which the car was being worked on throughout the 2001 season and was also continued to be used for the 2002 and 2003 season.

In 2002, he managed to earn the runner-up spot at 2nd round in Ebisu Circuit against Nobuteru Taniguchi. On-wards however, he was unable to get past through the qualifying runs which ended up with him being ranked 17th overall.

In 2003, the Kei-Offce team had debuted a new track-spec S15 at the 4th round in Fuji Speedway which wore the company's signature jade green, Prodrive GC-06D rims and a new 2003-spec original brand body kit (now under Rodextyle) as the previous kit was co-produced by Behrman/Wisesquare. He still had moderate success especially taking the runner-up spot once again at Round 5 in Ebisu. He was ranked 12th overall.

In 2004, this was marked as a start to a successful season for him as he won his first event at the season opener in Irwindale, it was a important pinpoint since he was a veteran drifter within Ikaten.[6][7][8] At the championship round finale, Kei-Office once again debuted another S15 with the main focuses of a lighter chassis than the previous car, use of Driftmaster rims, HKS 2.2L stroker kit setup by Auto Produce Boss and the use of a Holinger sequential transmission. The car was later reused for the 2005 and 2006 season. The 2003-spec S15 was used only for international events throughout 2005 until the car was exported to Norway in 2007. He had a very steady season and was able to keep a seeded position. He was ranked 4th overall.

In 2005, he manages to win the season opener held at Irwindale once again. He also earned more victories at Sugo and Ebisu rounds to rack up his position as the series point leader. At the championship finale, he is crowned as the 2005 D1GP champion and earns the championship title by beating Masao Suenaga only by 1 point.

In 2006, he switched teams from Kei-Office to DG-5 with 2005 championship car having cosmetic changes, specifically with the Kei Office aero being removed for GP Sports' G-Sonic Evolution kit. He manages to win the season opener in Irwindale, earning him a nickname that some would say the 'Irwindale Meister'. The S15 remained green until it was later repainted to blue after DG-5 collaborated with Avex's M.O.V.E, starting in Round 2 onwards. He was able have a steady season earning a win at Round 3. He was ranked 3rd overall but it would be the last season that he would compete in the D1 Grand Prix. He also earned a victory for the U.K. exhibition match in Silverstone Circuit with a T-car S15, later used by Hideo Hiraoka the following year along with other D1 drivers from 2008 on-wards. The 2005 championship car would later be used by Katsuhiro Ueo (2007), Youichi Imamura (2008-2011), Yoshinori Koguchi (2012-2013), and Shinji Minowa (2014).

Drifting results[edit]

(key)

D1 Grand Prix[edit]

Year Entrant Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Position Points
2001 Kei Office Nissan Silvia S15 EBS
9
NIK
3
BHH
TAN
EBS
TAN
NIK
TAN
11 22
2002[9] Kei Office Nissan Silvia S15 BHH
DNQ
EBS
2
SGO
TAN
TKB
TAN
EBS
TAN
SEK
DNQ
NIK
TAN
17 18
2003 Kei Office Nissan Silvia S15 TKB
DNQ
BHH
16
SGO
10
FUJ
8
EBS
2
SEK
16
TKB
16
12 26
2004 Kei Office Nissan Silvia S15 IRW
1
SGO
1
EBS
8
APS
4
ODB
8
EBS
16
TKB
8
4 72
2005 Kei Office Nissan Silvia S15 IRW
1
ODB
3
SGO
1
APS
5
EBS
1
FUJ
16
TKB
7
1 97
2006[10] Team M.O.V.E. w/ DG-5 Nissan Silvia S15 IRW
1
SGO
16
FUJ
1
APS
3
EBS
16
SUZ
16
FUJ
6
IRW
2
3 91

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.d1gp.co.uk D1GP UK official site
  2. ^ Max Power (magazine), June 2005
  3. ^ Morton 2006, p. 119.
  4. ^ Ferrara, Michael (2006). "Formula for a winning D1-spec S15". Dsport - performance + tech magazine. Vol. October 2006 no. 46. photograph by Michael Ferrara. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  5. ^ Octane February 2007
  6. ^ "Irwindale speedway: Japanese driver claims D1 title. (Sports)". Los Angeles, CA: Daily News. 2004-02-29. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  7. ^ Coonce 2010, p. 36.
  8. ^ He won the title with Nissan Silvia S15. David Bean (2015-02-06). "Nissan Silvia: Fast, furious ... and illegal in the United States?". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  9. ^ Morton 2006, p. 15.
  10. ^ "D1 World All-stars". Ziff Davis, LLC. 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2016-09-27.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ryuji Miki
D1 Grand Prix Champion
2005
Succeeded by
Nobushige Kumakubo