Who is Drift King ?

Who is Drift King ?

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Is Drift King real ?


Many people think that the legend named "Drift King" aka "DK" aka Keiichi Tsuchiya (土屋圭市, Tsuchiya Keiichi) is only a legend. But no!

It is a Japanese racing driver born on January 30, 1956 in Tōmi, Nagano Prefecture. He is primarily known as the "Drift King" for his mastery of controlled skids (drifting) in auto racing events and his numerous video reports on learning to drift : “Pluspy” 

He started his driving career in 1977 as an amateur in the Fuji Freshman series, and quickly rose through the ranks as he competed in all types of competitions, from national championships, Le Mans, NASCAR, and especially the JGTC (Japanese GT Championship), to the "D1 Grand Prix", where he currently serves as a judge and referee.

He is the most famous drift driver in Japan, as he is considered the founding father of drifting. That is why this man is one of the most respected persons within the JDM culture... he did a lot for it.



History of Drifting

Inspired by Kunimitsu Takahashi's special driving technique, which he observed in the Japan Touring Car Championship (JTCC) in the 1970s, Tsuchiya practiced drifting in wild mountain races (called "Touge" or "Tôge") and then on the racetrack. In 1988, he was the driving force behind the launch of drifting as a circuit discipline 1,2 also called D1 and D2.






"Pluspy" could be the very first drift video in the history of the car! Push, lady, push... You can see the head! Congratulations, it's a boy, but he already has a steering wheel in his hands... What are you going to call him? Keiichi Tsuchiya...

The quality of the image is a testimony of the time. This video is 30 years old ! For the younger ones, you should know that shooting such a video was already quite complicated considering the available equipment. All the on-board camera systems cost a fortune and were the size of a fridge.

Then, after the difficulty of shooting, we still had to find a way to broadcast. Internet was still a vague idea, Youtube was far away in the futur... In other words, nothing! Videos were released on VHS tapes that had to be bought or rented in a video store. We used to go there on BMX wearing our green and red anoraks after having stopped at the tobacconist's to buy chocolate cigarettes... In short... The nineties!

But all this didn't stop Keiichi Tsuchiya. The pioneer who gave his letters of nobility to drift, inspired Initial D and made the AE86's price rise. Don't look for it, it starts from there. Although the video has a blaze that we would have gladly given to a curly-haired bichon, it's still 23 minutes of hardcore drifting on the open road.


Keiichi Tsuchiya's Show


  • Tsuchiya served as technical director for the manga and anime Initial D; a Japanese street racing seinen manga by Shuichi Shigeno that ran from 1995 to 2013.
    In the beginning, the Drift King helped the mangaka with technical details such as car movement and behavior, drifting, and explanations of the technical side of racing so that the story would have a more realistic feel.


  • In 2006, he appeared in a cameo in the movie Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift as a fisherman. He was also a stunt coordinator and stuntman for this movie.



    • Keiichi Tsuchiya also participated to a automobile TV show that called "Best Motoring. It has special episodes called Hot versions and it is quite a show. Check it out.



      Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya


      In an interview the Drift King declared :

      "People make mistakes when their heartbeat rises when the police chased me, mine didn't rise at all, so i could get away.
      All the drivers who came to Usui Pass were experts i went there and I realized it was a place for people with crazy skills.
      There are 184 corners in Usui Pass. Here Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini are useless, powerful cars are unfit for downhill races : some people do not control their brakes
      and fall down the ridge.

      I was amazed at the driver's level i gave up and went back to Komoro to continue training.

      I wanted to debut at Usui Pass, so I practiced hard. I worked in a company in the day and in a pink salon at night.
      I made money to customize my car and i would usually practice at the Komoro plateau which has a 2000 m high slope.

      Once at a place in Ueda city, where we had races there too. I don't remember it clearly, but i was bleeding seriously i thought i would die.
      It was on a right-angle corner in Ueda city, my speed was 100 km/h when i hit something i was hospitalized for 3 months.
      Even when while i was at the hospital i still wanted to improve my racing skills.
      I wanted to debut at Usui Pass, i really wanted to go there.

      It took 4 years, but finally i was enough confident to go there. The people in the top class of Nagano all hung out together and we would all go to Usui Pass :
      Racing people from Tokyo, Saitama, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Chiba and it made me feel wonderful.

      Without Usui Pass we would not be racing drivers. Thanks to Usui Pass, we became so much better... It is just that kind of place
      When I drive a car i forget all the unhappy things.
      If I win all the time, i think it won't be interesting anymore so to keep moving forward you must always polish your technique. I would practice and get better until i'll die.

      It is my life."

      Keiichi Tsuchiya's Racing Pilot Career

      • 1977 : Debut in Fuji Freshman series.

      • 1977-1984 : Runs some races in the Japan Touring Car Championship.

      • 1984: Fuji Freshman Series Race (Toyota AE86), six victories.
      • 1985 : Japan Touring Car Championship (Toyota AE86) 1st in class.

      • 1986: Corolla Sprinter Cup, two podium finishes.

      • 1987: Japan Touring Car Championship (Honda Civic), one win.

      • 1988: Toyota Cup, 1st overall.
        Japan Touring Car Championship (BMW E30), 3rd in Class 2.
        Macau Guia (BMW M3), 4th overall.
      • 1989: All Japan F3 championship.
      • Japan Touring Car Championship (Ford Sierra Cosworth), one win.
      • 1990: Japan Touring Car Championship (Ford Sierra Cosworth).
      • Macau Guia (Ford Sierra Cosworth).
      • New Zealand Touring Car Series (Toyota).
      • 1991 : All Japan F3 championship (Ralt-Mugen), 10th overall.
        Japan Touring Car Championship (Nissan Skyline GT-R), 5th overall.
      • 1992: Japan Touring Car Championship (Nissan Skyline GT-R).
      • 1993 : Japan Touring Car Championship (Taisan Nissan Skyline GT-R), one win.
        Japan Endurance series (Honda Prelude), 2nd in Tsukuba 12 hours.
      • 1994 : All Japan GT championship (Porsche 911T), one victory.
        Japan Touring Car Championship (Honda Civic).
        Suzuka 1000 km (Porsche 911T), 1st in class, 2nd overall.
        24 Hours of Le Mans (Honda NSX), 18th overall.
      • 1995 : All Japan GT championship (Porsche911TRSR).
        Japan Touring Car Championship (Honda Civic).
        Suzuka 1000 km (Honda NSX), 5th overall.
        Tokachi 12 Hours (Honda NSX), 1st overall.
        24 Hours of Le Mans (Honda NSX), 1st in its class.
      • 1996 : All Japan GT championship (Honda NSX), 13th overall.
        NASCAR Thunder Special race at Suzuka.
        24 Hours of Le Mans (Honda NSX), 3rd in class.
      • 1997 : All Japan GT championship (Porsche 911/Dodge Viper).
        Fuji InterTec race (Toyota Chaser).
        Suzuka 1000 km (Lark McLaren F1 GTR), 9th overall.
        NASCAR Thunder Special race at Suzuka.
        24 Hours of Le Mans (Lark McLaren F1 GTR), qualified 10th, retired in race.
      • 1998 : All Japan Touring Car Championship (Toyota Chaser), 7th overall.
        All Japan GT championship (Toyota Supra), 8th overall.
        Le Mans 24 Hours (Toyota GT-One), 9th overall.
        NASCAR at California Speedway.
      • 1999 : Japan Touring Car Championship (Advan Altezza Touring car).
        24 Hours of Le Mans (Toyota GT-One), 2nd overall.
      • 2000: 24 Hours of Le Mans (Panoz LMP-1 Roadster-S), 8th overall.
      • 2000-2003: Team ARTA (Honda NSX) All Japan GT championship.

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