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Kazuya Taguchi: Mastering the Art of Drift

Contributed By Formula Drift

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Entering its 21st season, Formula DRIFT is recognized as North America's largest professional drifting championship series. As the first official series in North America, Formula DRIFT has taken competitive motorsports to the extreme, attracting fans and car enthusiasts from all walks of life and establishes itself as the worldwide leader for the Sport. This high-skilled, high-powered motor sport where drivers intentionally maneuver their cars into well executed, controlled sideways slides at high speeds through a marked course, has professional drivers & teams competing in eight championship competitions in 2023. Judged on execution and style, rather than who finishes the course in the fastest time. Drifting is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and is often compared to the freestyle nature of skateboarding and motocross.

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In the drift world, Kazuya Taguchi stands out not just for his skill but also for his quiet, focused demeanor. His journey from Japan to making waves in Formula Drift reveals a lot about his dedication. On the “Outer Zone” podcast with Jacob Gettens, Taguchi opened up about his career, his views on drifting, and how he maintains his zen amidst the chaos of competition.

Taguchi’s journey from a young enthusiast in Japan to a recognized competitor in the Formula Drift series is a tale of passion, skill, and cultural exchange. At the heart of his story is not just his prowess on the track but his deep-rooted love for the sport, ignited at the tender age of three when he first experienced the thrill of virtual racing. The transition from virtual circuits to actual, physical racetracks was marked by Taguchi’s relentless pursuit of mastery over his craft. In Japan, where drifting is not just a sport but a cultural phenomenon, he honed his skills, understanding the delicate dance between man and machine. It was here, in the birthplace of drifting, that Taguchi learned to communicate with his car, a Toyota S15, through the language of speed, angle, and smoke. 

Driven by a desire to test his skills against the best in the world, Taguchi ventured to the United States, diving headfirst into the competitive whirlwind of Formula Drift. The challenge was formidable, not just on the track but off it as well, as he navigated through cultural nuances and linguistic barriers, all while adapting to the American style of drifting. This style, characterized by its emphasis on high speeds and aggressive angles, required Taguchi to recalibrate his approach, fine-tuning his techniques to match the intensity of the competition.

The evolution of Taguchi’s career in the U.S. is also a story of the cars that have been an extension of his will on the track. Transitioning from the familiarity of his Toyota S15 to the raw power of an American-tuned Nissan GT-R, Taguchi demonstrated his versatility and willingness to push beyond his comfort zone. The GT-R, a beast on the asphalt, demanded a different style of handling, challenging Taguchi to adapt his driving to harness its potential fully. It was a testament to his growth as a driver, showcasing his ability to meld the precision of Japanese drifting with the brute force celebrated in American circuits.

As the chapters of Taguchi’s career continue to unfold, the drifting world watches, eager to see how far this fusion of styles and spirit will take him.