I appreciate the world of professional drifting because it produces things that are unlike anything else on track. While sports car racing kills its weirdos (here’s a good history of the DeltaWing), drifting keeps generating them. Here is my new favorite: a 2000s Nissan Silvia made to look like it came out in the 1980s with a custom-built Mazda four-rotor.
There could really only be one person to drive a car this much of a mishmash, and that’s Tetsuya Hibino. A legend in Japan’s D1GP, he’s most famous for taking a tiny little Toyota Corolla AE86 and whupping bigger cars, bigger teams. Here’s a classic example of him making another driver make a fool of himself in a punishing wreck:
Hibino has gone on to run all sorts of strange cars in D1, building ultra-snappy cars with as low weight, as much power, and as much grip as possible. Cars like his Honda S2000 with a big-boost Toyota 2JZ weren’t easy to drive, and only Hibino was either brave or cavalier enough to even take them on.
No surprise, then, that he’s the one driving this four-rotor S15 that sounds like the world getting torn in half. It made its debut at Formula Drift Japan this month:
The engine is impossibly charming. Mazda only ever made a four-rotor for racing (and winning) the 24 Hours of Le Mans, back when it had the foolhardiness to do that kind of thing. Four-rotors never made it into production, but racing shops (in this case TCP Magic) keep the dream alive.
That Liberty Walk bodykit is also interesting. It’s a tribute to the silhouette Silvia racers that Nissan fielded in the early 1980s.
These ultra-wide race cars formed the inspiration for the bosozoku/kaido racer scene, as JapaneseNostalgicCar recounts. They shot flames and were turbocharged to their very limits, sensational as much as they were fast. It is sweet that Hibino’s new tribute keeps some of that over-the-top spirit alive.