The internet at large remains obsessed with the big flick reverse entry style of drifting big in Japan with Naoki Nakamura, Team BURST and the little circuit Meihan. It always looks amazing how the cars bush up against the wall, flirting with destruction, looking like they’re about to crash. Here’s what you don’t normally see: the crashing.
The wall at Meihan, the spiritual home of today’s drift style, popular with American obsessives like Team Animal Style and loved worldwide, isn’t actually the wall you have to worry about. That’s just the pit wall, the one that cars scrape as they throw big entries into turn one. Looks dramatic. Looks unreal. But what you really need to worry about is that just after the first turn, there’s another wall right there, one that you face, one that you hit if you spin out.
It’s funny—the whole style is predicated on ultra-aggressive driving, just one big flick and hope for the best. It’s funny that the track itself has this wall waiting to eat up cars that get too aggressive. If you’re not aggro, the move doesn’t work. If you’re too aggro you go butt first into a wall.
This is what really makes the place such a legend, that there’s real consequence in the style, that which Animal Style made a pilgrimage to see, that the internet still watches, hopefully, hungrily, expectantly.