Catch The Drift

Just as in the hit movie, the racing was fast and furious when MidWeek checked out a drift session for remote-controlled cars

Wednesday - July 05, 2006
By Lisa Asato
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RC drifters man the controls during an exhibition at<br />
Kahala Mall
RC drifters man the controls during an exhibition at
Kahala Mall

For one night a week in an Iwilei parking lot, it’s all about the boys, their driving toys and a little zoom-zoom-zoom.

Remote-controlled car drifting is a pastime for an informal group of car and race aficionados whose weekly sessions draw about 30 people and go until midnight. Last Sunday, they brought their hobby indoors for what was billed as an “exciting exhibition of small-scale driving mayhem.”

There was non-stop drifting action at Kahala Mall
There was non-stop drifting action at Kahala Mall
There was non-stop drifting action at Kahala Mall
There was non-stop drifting action at Kahala Mall
There was non-stop drifting action at Kahala Mall

“Drifting is like figure skating as opposed to speed skating,” says David Shimokawa, marketing director of Drift Session, LLC. “It has elements of road racing in there where we’re trying to negotiate turns quickly and maintain speed. Speed and the technical elements of the sport, they’re important, but we also have the elements of personal style and flair, which can’t really be timed. It’s just something you have to see; either it looks impressive or it doesn’t. Drifting’s kind of a subjective sport like that.”

Remote-controlled drifting - whose life-size counterpart is the focus of the feature film The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, now in theaters - is a stylized driving in which cars appear to be sliding on a slippery course. Replacing the rubber tires with 2-inch diameter ABS plastic piping, produces the effect.

“Out of control, but in control,” is how Eric Alferes describes the sport.

Alferes sells the remote-controlled cars starting at about $180 at his Kakaako shop Advance Graphics. His candy-apple green Honda S2000 was a crowd favorite at the Kahala Mall exhibition. “I just painted it yesterday,” he says.

Among the car’s admirers was Lance Kurata, a physician from Kahala. “It’s kind of flashy and whips by a lot of the cars,” he says. “One guy tends to go through the barriers all the time, the Lexus.”

Kurata watched the event for more than an hour with his 2-year-old son Cole, who shares his dad’s love of cars and trucks.

“He can’t talk yet but he calls them ‘vroom,’ ” Kurata says.

Asked what he thought about the $180 price tag, Kurata says, “For him, if he wants it, that’s fine. Of course he’ll have the coolest car.”

Having only seen drifting on TV, Cherise Seigaku and Matt Sakagawa also stopped to watch.

“I’m kind of impressed with the cars,” Seigaku says, “They’re like the cars you see on the street, on TV.”

Painted, detailed with stickers and fitted with spoilers, or drifting wings, the one-tenth scale cars are fashioned as replicas of what you’d see on the street. “You try to match it to

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