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若手D1ドライバー:田口和也選手

UP GARAGEが育てる正社員D1ドライバー田口和也|RacerzLife

生年月日 1992/11/18 出身 生まれは鹿児島県、育ちは北海道、現在は東京都町田市在住 出身校 日本自動車大学校(カスタマイズ科) 愛車 BMW(E90)・シルビア(S15) 主な功績 2011年 全日本学生ドリフト王座決定戦(東日本大会) – 優勝 2012年 全日本学生ドリフト王座決定戦(東日本大会) – 優勝 2013年 ノーネームヒーローズ in Kanto age2クラス – 3位 2014年 ドリフトマッスル チャレンジクラス – 準優勝 2014年 D1ストリートリーガル シリーズランキング – 24位 2015年 D1GP シリーズランキング – ランキング外 2015年 フォーミュラドリフトジャパン ポイントランキング – 8位 2016年 D1GP シリーズランキング – 37位 2016年 フォーミュラドリフトジャパン ポイントランキング – 4位 出典:http://d1ms.upgarage.com/?page_id=23 現在は、TEAM UP GARAGEから、 D1 GRAND PRIX・ FORMULA DRIFT JAPAN の2つのカテゴリーに参戦する田口選手。現在の体制でドリフト競技が出来るようになるまでは、大変な苦労があったそうです。 それは、特に資金面。どのモータースポーツに関しても参戦資金の壁はありますが、その中でもドリフトは特に若手から上がって来るのが難しい競技だと思います。 それでも、努力すれば叶う、気持ちを発信すれば叶うということを伝えたいと熱く語る田口選手は、どのように現在の場所に辿り着いたのでしょうか。 ーーー ドリフトを始めたきっかけを教えてください。 僕は元々北海道出身で、父親も車がすごく好きで、父親の友達がドリフトをやっていたんです。それを見に行く機会があって、小学校4~5年でしたっけ。その時に乗せてもらったのがきっかけです。 それまではずっと、物心ついた時から僕はレーサーになるって言い続けていたんですけど、それをきっかけにドリフトの道に決まりました。 ーーー 最初のレーサーという夢は、どのカテゴリーのレーサーでしたか? ずっと、幼稚園とかの文集みたいなのあるじゃないですか?そういうのには、F1レーサーF1レーサーって書いてました。 ーーー レーサーを目指すに当たり、最初に練習を始めたのはいくつの時ですか? 16歳の時かな?高校1,2年の頃なんで。 よく出入りしているというか、勝手に学校帰りに遊びに行っている車屋さんがあって。 そこにお願いをして、僕が自分の車を買うから、サーキットまで連れていって欲しいって言って、その車屋さんに僕が買った車を運転して行ってもらって、現地で運転を交代してドリフトをさせてもらってました。免許が無かったんで(笑) ーーー ドリフトを始める時に買った最初の車は? 最初はTOYOTAのソアラでした。30系の30ソアラを先輩から5万円で買ってきて。 オートマで、特に何もされてないやつ。 それをお世話になってる車屋さんにアドバイスをもらいながら、全部自分でやって、ドリフトできるような仕様にしてドリフトしてました。 オートマのまま、デフだけ作って、2wayデフで。まあ、その時はデフロックだったと思うんですけど、そういったのに乗せ換えて、練習し始めました。 物心がついた頃から将来の夢はレーサー。その夢に向かってブレる事無く突き進み続けた田口選手は、免許の取れない16歳から半ば強引とも言える方法でドリフトの練習を始めます。その強い気持ちに、協力者が集う。それは現在の田口選手のチーム体制にも通じるものがあるのかもしれません。 そしてD1ドライバーへ ーーー アップガレージに入社したきっかけは? きっかけは、全日本学生ドリフト王座決定戦ってのがあって、ドリフトの甲子園みたいな、学生だけのドリフトの大会なんですけど。 それに2011年12年と2年連続出場して、2年連続東日本大会で優勝したんです。 その時アップガレージが若い選手とかモータースポーツ好きを応援するスポンサーをしていて、それで目をかけてくれて、内定をもらったっていう。中々ないパターンなんですけど。 表彰式の時にアップガレージの方から内定書と言う形でもらって、ここはなんていう企業なんだ!と思って。 まあ、アップガレージというと、クルマ好きには結構知名度もあって、そんな企業からこういった形で内定書をもらった事にスゴイ驚いた記憶は、今でもはっきり覚えています。 ーーー アップガレージに入社するまでのドリフト活動の資金はどうしていましたか? …






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