Audi was good enough to offer me a bright red A1 to play in the snow with for the weekend and I met up with a bunch of friends shortly after for a whole load of fun up at the Nagano based, Megamiko Winter driving park. This awesome place is a couple of hours drive north from Tokyo and offers a safe haven to practice your snow and ice driving techniques…
I’d never actually driven hard on snow or ice before but I was looking forward to seeing how the A1 handled the conditions. This particular A1 came equipped with some of the best stud-less snow tires in the world; Bridgestone RE-01’s. The only downside? The A1 has an FF configuration, so I was constantly yanking at the handbrake!
Before we get to the actual slideways action, I want to backtrack a little to the awesome dinner we had the night before at the Colosseum Inn Tateshina. In truly formal Japanese style, each of us had to give a small speech and introduction. I’m fine in English but in Japanese, I still suck!
Unlike my Japanese linguistic skills, the food, and company for that matter, was awesome.
As was the wine! On the right is Tanabe san, ex WRC rally driver and Master Instructor for the Audi Driving Experience here in Japan. Next to him, was one of only 62 COTY ( Car Of The Year ) Journalists/Judges in Japan.
Did I mention the food was great?
A surprise guest was Mitsuhiro Kinoshita, who many Aussies will also know as the driver of the Garage Revolution FD which finished third in last years WTAC competition. It was a pleasant surprise to see him at the dinner. Even more surprising was what I found out later about where he was heading later this year. More on that in another post.
Kinoshita san had appointments the next day so was on the water this evening – such a shame because the wine was excellent! If you are ever in Nagano try the local Cabernet Savignon.
After a good nights rest, everybody met in the lobby for the 2 minute drive to the Snow Park. Conditions could not have been better.
So too, the lineup of cars that were out that day which included all the chassis configurations you can name. It was shaping up to be a weekend of epic proportions!
Two of the really surprising cars that day were this M6 and Porsche GT-2! And yes, they were drifted in controlled anger as well!
There was also a surprise “guest” car that the snow park had stashed away – a LHD Chinese Domestic Market Subaru Sti Impreza! Turns out the snow park also doubles as one of Subaru’s testing grounds and I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel to see how the little beast handled in the snow!
More on the outing in a post coming soon!
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Words and Photos – Adam Zillin