Everyone has those "Initial D" fantasies of touge domination, only the fact that it's highly, highly illegal to race on public roads gets in the way. Motorhead Magazine shut down approximately five miles of the Mazda Turnpike up Hagone Mountain to whet that appetite legally. Turn up the volume, and enjoy.
Touge runs—Japanese street races held on twisty mountain roads—are still a no-no in real life, even though participants often block the passes from regular traffic and monitor them closely. However, many even hardcore anime geek otaku who aren't huge into cars know these runs from anime over the years. If you are into cars, the struggle between "this is illegal" and "those are some cool roads" is real. So, these guys figured out how to do a run legally, and it's a beautiful sight to behold.
A little bit of everything shows up to play in this video: a drifting Nissan GT-R, a GT-R set up for grip driving, a BMW Z4 Super GT car, a classic Ford GT40 and for you fans of the Fourth Stage, two Impreza WRX STis.
The drivers talk about how demanding and frightening at times the Mazda Turnpike can be. Professional drifter Kawabata Masato freaks out a little at the height of the bridge he's been drifting. Rally driver Toshihiro Arai points out that once the climbing lane goes away, it's harder to carry speed up the mountain.
Once you see that aerial shot of the majestic tail of smoke that GT-R leaves behind, though, you'll understand why this was worth the risk. Hear the roar of the cars reverberate against the forest. See how much faster they can take corners as opposed to a regular street car. Drool at the screen in awe.
There's a little music in the background, but it's thankfully subtle, and plenty of glorious exhaust and straight-cut gear whine sill comes through. Let's be honest, part of me wishes it was set to über-cheesy Eurobeat, but part of me is glad that it isn't.
It's no secret that we love a good demonstration run, where you take race cars out of their usual habitat and see what they can do. So, here's your reminder that these are actually professional drivers on a closed course as opposed to a lowly production assistant hired to move cars around, and that trying this when the turnpike is open to regular traffic is still quite illegal.