The drift king returns… with a monstrous Nissan R35 GT-R!


Drift legend Masato Kawabata is no stranger to the fuzzy side of physics – just check out how he masterfully backs his Silvia drift weapon into this corner.


Bear in mind that Masato was the first to accomplish a backwards entry at international-level competition, which strikes us a completely understandable when you consider that he’s driving his car backwards with 600 rampaging horsepower trying to yank it forwards.

Never one to use his laurels for a lie-down, Masato has spent the off-season break overseeing the creation of a tyre-smoking menace in the shape of an R35 GT-R, which he plans to wield like a blunderbuss in the upcoming D1 GP series.


Masato Kawabata's Team Toyo R35 GT-R drift car

With big players like Team Toyo Tires Drift, GReddy, LB Works, TRUST and famed designer Kei Miura at the helm, the R35 was transformed from an all-wheel-drive road weapon to a rear-wheel-drive, tyre-frying apocalypse.

Even though no one, even those with a tenuous grip on reality, would call the stock GT-R’s 550 horsepower a limp-wristed effort, the new drift warrior – dubbed the ‘R35X’ – boasts more than 1000 horsepower from a severely fettled VR38 block.


Masato Kawabata's Team Toyo R35 GT-R drift car

Considering that all 1000 ponies now bolt from the rear axle only, you could rightly presume that some serious sideways action is on the cards.

To convert the GT-R from its supercomputer-controlled, torque-shuffling centre differential to a rear-drive drift menace, the build team went back to a simpler time when GT-Rs had brothers called ‘Skylines’, some of which available in two-wheel-drive. You see where we’re going with this.


Masato Kawabata's Team Toyo R35 GT-R drift car

After setting up a Hollinger sequential ’box to send the gut-punching power to the rear axle, the team wrapped Toyo Proxes racing rubber around 20-inch RAYS’ ‘TE37 Ultra’ wheels to make sure Masato has the insane amount of grip needed to harness all 1000 horsepowers.


Masato Kawabata's Team Toyo R35 GT-R drift car

Then the born-again GT-R went on a crash diet to rival six series of The Biggest Loser (but we’re assuming with fewer tantrums, tears and sepia-toned flashbacks) to come out wrapped in enough carbon to scare Al Gore into hiding.

This thing is big. This thing is mean. This thing is tough.

And we can’t wait to see it in action.


With humble thanks to and photojournalist Dino Dalle Carbornare!