I first linked up with Fede in Japan for the short documentary piece I directed on him “Smoke Signals” a drift tale. (If you ever wanted a way to really see what kind of guy he is and his roots hit the link) We filmed some drifting at Ebisu with Team Orange as well as the 2015 Tokyo Drift stage in D1GP’s Odaiba circuit. That was a great success for us and we have been friends ever since, after a few months working behind the scenes on our FFF Drift Department project taking a trip to Italy was the next move.
Fede’s shop rest in the “Motor Valley” a small town that lay about 1.5 hours away from Milano. Motor Valley is exactly like it sounds. Picture the town hall being “Autodromo Varano” the racetrack in the middle, small shops, bars, and neighborhoods surrounding the circuit. Walk into any bar for your morning coffee and the bartender is wearing a Dunlop racing jacket, The racing memorabilia that decorates the walls across the city each tells their own story. Not to mention for any true racing fan, “Dallara” infamously known for their entire design and production process for race cars. From aerodynamics to carbon composite materials.
“Area 17” is where Federico and his team gets down. His shop with big dealership type windows host some cars with history including; his first Subaru Impreza Wagon from when he was only 18. You walk in and the first cars you’ll mention are his two Subaru D1GP spec Imprezas, two R32 Team Orange drift cars, an Evo Vl, La Paperona a 240 with Trak Yoto Boss Conversion, his GG1 and GGR FRS Rocket Bunny V1 and V3 Drift and Time Attack spec Toyotas, if your lucky he’ll let you see the new baby, his Ferrari 599 GTO Drift Spec Italian Lady.
It’s the reason why we are here today. Fede originally wasn’t going to build the car himself he sent it out be built at drift spec preferences and unfortunate events landed her back to Federico. Unfinished, nothing near drift ready. Like a stubborn Italian girl, she wanted to come back home. Federico’s 599 is a true Italian built Ferrari for Drift.
If you follow a bit of motorsports or are the average gear head, you don’t have to search far to find that Italians are purist at heart, especially to their core exotic manufactures recognized all around the world. Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini etc. So building a drift Ferrari in the Motor Valley of Italy is quite the feat.
The Autodromo Varano is a few kilometers from Area 17. I just so happen to come on the perfect weekend. Federico hosted the Drift Matsuri on the 19th so it was on! During the week prior we took care of business and the Matsuri was all fun and games.
The atmosphere that Fede is creating back home in Italy really stems from his unorthodox upbringing in American school and his disciplines in Japan. He’s the cool kid now who as a kid wasn’t cool at all. The Matsuri hosted some amazing Italian talent from Vets to Rookies as well as builds. The two most notable where twin s13’s with a VR38DETT plant and LS1 by “Drift Dream”. This could be because of my ride alongs but you be the judge.
At the end of the Matsuri is where I really got to see Fede in his element. Since the track is a short distance from the shop sure enough when we went back a few of the other drivers started trickling in. Mostly the younger guys that aren’t normally there for business or to get their cars worked on. A lot of them just looked around the room at the endless supply of things to get distracted with. From the bow and arrows casually sitting under neath his trophy case, to the manga statues scattered everywhere. It’s his drift Fantasy Factory.
I know he was drained not just from that day but from all our plans we have in the works. Yet there he was just hanging out with all these younger drifters and a few reps from JD Milano and Japanese Car Meet, a gathering of over 700 cars in Italy, Strictly Japanese. I secretly think this is what keeps him going so no way he would let these guys down.
At the end of it all, I got to eat good food, see some nice sights, and most of all experience another countries take on a culture I’m falling in love with more and more each day, Drifting.
– Apex Dave