What is Touge?
Touge; it literally means ‘pass’, as in a ‘mountain road’. Touge racing finds its origin in the mountains of Japan where local street racers cut their teeth by racing up and down the ‘circuits’ of local ranges such as Mount Usui and Gunma. Races were initiated with the mere flick of the high beams and were ended at the bottom of the course with the lead car usually victorious. Drifting is not synonymous with Touge. The art of drifting is merely one of many techniques a rear wheel driven car may utilise in his quest for downhill (or uphill) glory with the added benefit of it being very difficult for his opponent to overtake, a sideways vehicle is easily capable of occupying more than one lane.
This man forms the strategic link between so many of the modern Touge’s popular mediums including being the technical director on the Initial D television series which has the distinction of being most the accurate, informative and entertaining work of Touge fiction in the media. To add to his impressive résumé he performed a similar function in the last Fast and Furious instalment; Tokyo Drift, sharing his knowledge with the Hollywood crew to ensure the viewer was treated to the real deal.
Since he has retired from racing in 2003 he has kept himself busy with a plethora of activities such as judging the D1GP international drift series and hosting the Best Motoring International television series wherein they often battle several tuner cars down various mountain passes. The ultimate reward? A chance to battle man himself in his legendary RWD Corolla.They don’t call him the official Drift King for nothing; the man has pioneered the art of drifting even as a young pup taking his cues from Kunimitsu Takahashi, legendary F1 and MotoGP race driver.
Weapons of Touge
Legendary Touge greats include vehicles of varied configurations. Despite their ability to go sideways at ridiculous speeds, rear wheel whips often face great battles alongside their nimble front wheel driven peers. From the FWD stable you can expect a wide array of Hondas such as the EG Civic and a healthy mix of Type R machinery including the Accord, Integra and EK Civic. In this class you will even find a few unlikely hatchbacks with the likes of Susuki and Daihatsu often represented. The RWD camp is oversaturated with the entire Japanese army in full effect. Here you’ll find the full compliment of Nissans, Toyotas, Mazdas and with various forms of abnormal aspirations and engine capacities. With their optimum grip, don’t discount the 4WD camp with sure-footed Imprezas, EVOs and GTR’s vying for top honours
Hot property includes: 86 Toyota Corolla (Hachi Roku), Mazda RX7, Skyline GTR, Impreza STi; EVO Lancer, any and all Silvias, Honda S2000, Toyota MR-2. Do not attempt a Touge in a Ford Mustang… with its frightening live axle configuration you’ll more likely see yourself the wrong way up at the bottom of De Waal Drive than you are likely to feature in the movies.
Video gamers in need of a Touge fix can rejoice with the latest instalment of Gran Turismo promising a fair share of Touge stages for you to rip up. In the interim gamers will have to get their satisfaction from Need for Speed: Carbon which features a Canyon Duel scene very reminiscent of the Tokyo Drift movie.