Social media is a great thing if used correctly. Over the years I have gained great friendships world wide and worked on these friendships for nearly 4 years waiting for the right moment. That moment being in October 2017! I had planned a 7 week trip to Japan to visit and action my dreams that have been in place for some time now.
One of these dreams was meeting and experiencing a Ferrari drift car! Yes you read that right, a Ferrari 360 drift car! I was fortunate enough last year to be taken as passenger in two 430s, a 599, a 458 and a 458 Ferrari, experiencing them on the track and the street! So safe to say I know a little bit about my Ferrari's and their handling. So when I stumbled across a Ferrari drift car the mind was stumped. I had so many questions, was it still paddle shift and how did they get such a car to handle the way this thing did?
After some research I found the owner, Hirokazu Suzuki, founder of ARIOS, a company in Japan specialising in aftermarket car parts.
Speaking for some time I had mentioned that I was planning on visiting Japan later in the year. Suzuki San insisted that we visit him at Ebisu circuit and experience his Ferrari drift. Without hesitation I added it to the calender and worked out a day to meet that would suit us both.
Before I get into the day I finally got to meet Suzuki-san and his 360 Mondena I want to share with you what I know of him and how he became the owner of a Ferrari drift car.
Hirokazu Suzuki, born in 1978 grew up in Fukushima Kooriyama city where his father ran a car maintenance factory. With speed and fuel running through his veins Suzuki-san was riding motocross from the age of 5.
Reaching his Teenage years saw Suzuki-san race go-karts, winning 3 kinds of series in his first year of racing! Achieving greatness in the first year there was now very little room for improvement which saw him behind the wheel of a Drift car by the age of 18. And not any drift car but a Mazda RX-7(SA22C). Still not satisfied with only drift Suzuki-san started racing a Toyota Starlet (EP82) in the touring race series, also winning this!
Obviously skilled behind the wheel Hirokazu enjoyed challenging himself and his cars now building a Honda Civic for racing purposes and attempting open wheeled formula cars plus many other forms of racing!
Even drifting a zenki s14 :P
Still not satisfied with these builds Suzuki-san had his heart set on a Ferrari track car, the dream being a Ferrari 348 first followed by a 360 Mondena second, influenced by the many supercar magazines he would see daily. Suzuki-san wanted to stand out and make something different. And a Ferrari drift car was exactly that! No one had built a Ferrari drift car before.
After selling many of his cars it was time to buy a 348 and learn to drift a Ferrari. Not exactly suited for drift he sold this car to a friend buying his second choice, a 360 Mondena, which he first raced in time attack events doing very well once again. But the heart lied with drift and the dream to drift a Ferrari was still the number one desire. Would the Mondena drift? Suzuki-san took it to ebisu circuit to find out.
Hirokazuthen played with many different set ups and got the car sliding nicely gaining a lot of exposure, eventually being invited to partake in the D1 drift event held at Odaiba. Doing well, once again, Suzuki-san wanted to do better feeling he needed a handbrake. The issue being that his F1 360 Mondena was an electrohydraulic manual (basically a paddle shift auto) which meant a hydraulic handbrake set up would be extremely difficult to do.
The smart option was to purchase another 360 Mondena, being the manual V8 6MT which underwent many modifications including the desired hydraulic handbrake set up.
This new car is designed to show how tough you can make the F360 look and the potential it has to be a drift car. Hirokazu teamed up with Liberty Walk to take his Ferrari to the next level. Liberty Walk kitted the Ferrari F360 with their aero package consisting of a front diffuser, wider front fenders, side skirt diffuser, wider rear fenders, rear diffuser and rear duck tail wing.
Suzuki-san told me he will never stop improving his Ferrari drift car and will get better at drifting with more angle, more tyre smoke and more Ferrari's!
I have been so intrigued by such a personality and have really enjoyed the friendship with Hirokazu Suzuki. Knowing what I did about him it was only a matter of time before I had to meet the man of many experiences and add another one to his life story! That experience being the opportunity to meet and take an Australian girl for laps around Ebisu in his pride and joy as well as being apart of my story which goes a little like this >>>>