Office Chair Racing Is Officially the Purest Sport

Illustration for article titled Office Chair Racing Is Officially the Purest Sport
Screenshot: NHK World-Japan

When someone tells you their racing series is inspired by Formula One, you’re probably thinking it involves some high-performance cars that race at prestigious international tracks. But this is office chair racing, and it’s the greatest sport in the world.


On Sunday morning, the Japanese city of Hanyu hosted the latest round of the Isu Grand Prix, an ultra-competitive race run by a bunch of people seated on office chairs that was dreamed up ten years ago.

Teams of three duke it out on the 200m circuit over two full hours to see who can complete the most laps, Reuters reports.

There’s an interesting use of strategy at play here when it comes to navigating the office chairs. Obviously, the most effective way to navigate a chair is by pushing it, but you have to check out the cornering maneuvers going on here—competitors have to flip around to gain the most traction when it comes to getting the perfect cornering radius.

It’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch in that it’s probably the most ridiculous form of racing I can think of. Everyone complains about how motorsport is regulated to death these days—so honestly, can you get any purer than office chair racing? There are no pesky rules to get in the way of a good battle, no super-decked-out vehicles guaranteed to win. Hell, even the prize for the winners is practical: the top team is gifted 90 kilograms of local rice.

It’s pure, physical, competitor-dependent competition. It’s fun as hell to watch, and anyone who has ever had a long day full of daydreaming at work will likely imagine it’s fun as hell to compete in. Formula One wishes it was this good.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


Pure? Maybe before the mainstream blog blogmedia covered it. Used to be a time that replacing the stock fasteners with aluminum (only need to last one race) and pulling the seat padding out of a $50 steel bodied basic model from Staples could put you in the top 10.

Now all the big teams are running Herman Miller Aeron’s with hours of wind tunnel testing and carbon fiber seat bases and the little guy gets squeezed out.

Your best bet now at a competitive race is those reverse hillclimbs (hillfalls?) where you hop in a discarded tractor tire and send yourself over a cliff. Fastest to the bottom who is also least sick or least dead wins.