Japfest Donington 2017

This weekend saw the next instalment of Japest 2017. I travelled down on the Friday night from Yorkshire. After missing out on the Santa Pod Japest, there was no way I was missing this one.

As car show camp sites go, the Donington Park one, was good. It had electric hook ups, showers and most importantly proper toilets. The pub at the bottom of the camp site was reasonable. The food wasn’t too pricey and tasted good.

So on Saturday I caught up with a couple friends from the Yaris Club UK and had a good wander round. The Yaris Club UK stand had some really nice examples of the little hot hatches on show. One in particular was getting a fare bit of attention, what with it being an import. There was quite a bit of JDM fan girling going on, but that’s what car shows are all about.

Throughout the day there was different track events going on and even a time attack competition. That saw some seriously good times get put down. While there wasn’t technically open pits, you could still wander past and have a look in as the race teams prepped the cars. With some of the teams being under a lot of pressure, you’d expect there to be a little tension in the air. But most of the guys were happy to chat about the cars if they had time.

No Japfest would be complete without drifting. However there wasn’t any drifting competitions going on during the day. But there was drift ride a longs available for you to buy.  At £15 I didn’t think they were too bad, you got a couple of laps in a BDC spec car with a very capable driver. What did put a damper on it was the fact that I think they ran the cars too hard. Trying to get as many runs in as possible. Which in one hand is great, more people get to go on. But the pushing the cars that hard was causing them to burn through tires quickly and over heat the engines.

There is a fine balance to be made between looking after the cars and entertaining the people. What was good, was seeing the younger kids going on the drift ride a longs. Getting kids interested at a younger age can only be a good thing.

Speaking of drifting, if you wandered through the retail village you’ll have gotten chance to chat to Kirsty Widdrington who is currently sat mid table in the British Drifting Championships Pro Am competition. Both her and her team that were there were more than happy talk about drifting, cars and just have a laugh with you. Which made the Super Pro stand an incredibly friendly place to hang out.

It wasn’t just drift drivers in the retail village, there was a decent array of stands. A few sticker stalls, clothing stands and detailing stands as well. Bilstein where there handing out sunglasses and Eibach, Samco and Toyo all had stands to. There was couple of competitions going on as well. Tyre changing time trail, digital F1 racing simulator and a guess the wheel weight as well.

Being a Mx5 owner it was only a matter of time before I ended up on the Combustion punks stand, chatting with Yetti about the over fenders he makes. As well as the custom hard top he is developing for the Mx5. They had a really great stand with some very interesting cars on there. I have to say I was most fond of this mega clean NB. The colour, the wheels, the kit all just work for me.

The was also a really cool Mazda pickup on hydraulic suspension, which looked a lot of fun.

While the club stands had a lot of MX5’s and civic on them. There was a great range of other cars to see, like this Suzuki Swift from Club JDM UK. A clean looking hot hatch with a lot of potential.

On the subject of Suzuki’s, this Ignis caught my eye. It is something I haven’t seen before. It did remind me of a Cilo or a Corsa with a bodykit on. I don’t mean that in a bad way, just it made me stop and think when I first saw it. It is a pretty bold move to modify an Ignis, I can’t imagine there is many aftermarket parts for them.

From hot hatches to Race spec cars. Japest Donington 2017 had it all. The atmosphere was great and spending the evening hanging out with other car nerds was fantastic. There was no massive dickheads, just the odd irritating person who spent a little too much time revving.

On the whole I thought it was a great show and would happily go again next year.

I’d just like to say thanks to Ed for being my camera man on the track. Top bloke.


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