Motorsports have been around for as long as people have had vehicles. If it’s got an engine and wheels, we guarantee someone somewhere will try to race it. And there aren’t many counties that love their motorsports as much as Japan–especially the mystical, magical art of drifting!

While other places may have longer or faster races, Japan is definitely one of the best places in the world to catch cars sliding through corners almost as if they were on an ice rink. And, while a talented driver could probably get nearly any car to drift, racers often use cars modified for maximum drifting, including things like negative camber, a type of wheel alignment. But one Celica owned by Japanese motor-enthusiast Kawashima has been capturing people’s attention both in Japan and overseas thanks its mind-bending, extreme wheel alignment.


If the word “camber” means nothing to you–and don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone!–it refers to the alignment of wheels on cars. When the camber is zero, the tires are basically flat on the ground–what you would normally expect to see on a car. On the other hand, when the camber is positive, it means the top is pointed out in a V-shape, and if the camber is negative, it means the top is pointed in, like the kanji for the the number eight 八.

While a slight amount of negative camber would probably pass unnoticed by the average person, extreme negative camber, or “oni-kyan” (literally “demon camber”) as it’s known in Japan, is impossible to miss. It ends up looking something like this.

As you probably guessed, extreme negative camber is generally not recommended for your car! According to the experts on Wikipedia, it can cause excess wear on your tires as well as your suspension and shock absorbers. Oni-kyan can make handling more difficult when you’re trying to drive straight and can, in turn, also have a large negative impact on your fuel mileage, in addition to adding excess wear on hub bearings. Using extreme negative camber on your tires also lowers the clearance of vehicles, making it easier for mufflers or bumpers to get damaged.


So, with all these glaring demerits, why in the world do people use it?? Well, as we mentioned before, it seems to help with maintaining control when drifting–or any car. In fact, many racecars use extreme camber to help with cornering, like the 1960 Milliken MX1 Camber Car below. Also, you have to admit, it just looks really cool! Some folks even think that the low, wide stance gives the cars a more masculine look, though we’re not sure how a car can really look “masculine.”

▼Vroom! Vroom! Vrooooom!


If you’ve never seen drifting before, here are a few videos of Japanese folks sliding their cars around corners and in circles, kicking up smoke and having a great time. It’s better than Gran Turismo or Fast and Furious any day of the week!

▼Drifting on regular roads, through mountains

▼Wheel-view of some intense drifting on the Tsukuba Circuit

Whee! More fun than a barrel of monkeys!

Of course, some of you may be inspired to take your cars out and go whipping around a mountain corner or two, but we’d really like to ask you not to do that! If you feel like racing, please take it to a track where you can be sure no one else will get injured.

Finally, for more information on the insane Celica feature above, check out the Japan-centric car blog Nori Yaro!

Sources: WikipediaKaigai Hannou, Nori Yaro
Images: Wikipedia, Kaigai Hannou, YouTube