Recreating Famous Tracks: Drifting Action at Japan's Tamada Sportsland (in Las Vegas)
With the rise of virtual reality and racing simulators, the world's greatest courses are more readily available than ever before. With an internet connection and gaming rig of choice, a driver can lap Nürburgring, take on the Long Beach Grand Prix and hit the drift jump at Ebisu's Minami course within an afternoon. The difficulties of shipping cars, travel reservations and different languages—not to mention the financial hurdles—fall away, but the physicality of driving does as well. What if there was a way to get a feel for driving a course in your own car but without worrying about missing flights or emptying the bank? This dream has become reality thanks to some hard work, great planning and GPS technology.
Place Your Bets
If you can't make it to some special track, maybe someone can bring the track to you. The latest result of this track replica movement is a 1:1 recreation of Tamada Sportsland, complete with the signature high speed front straight entry. While the original may be a go-kart track situated in the woods of Hiroshima, the swaying palms and rows of seating from Las Vegas Motor Speedway give this edition a distinctly American feel. That being said, each turn was faithfully recreated down to mere feet by the Vegas Drift staff, with K-Rails taking the place of the small rumble strips and tire walls of Tamada.
Going All In
Drivers from all over the southwest came to test their might throughout the course, with skill levels ranging from intermediate to Formula Drift Pro. Although the day was initially set up with four run groups, the drivers eventually mixed and mingled to take full advantage of the hot lapping setup for maximum seat time.
As the weekend continued, drivers got progressively more comfortable, upping the ante with increasingly longer trains and slamming together tight tandems through the technical turns with ease. Luckily, nobody completely cashed in their chips before shredding through Day 2 of the event—paint scuffs, a couple lost bumpers and some totaled tires were all Tamada claimed. Let's be honest, a trip to Vegas usually costs a lot more!