Text: Angelo B. Puyat / Photos: Vince Pornelos, Brent Co, Dean Ang | posted September 15, 2009 15:00
Nobuteru Taniguchi in Manila
A rain soaked afternoon wouldn't dampen the enthusiasm of local drift fans as Burnt Rubber Productions and PLDT myDSL staged one helluva drifting treat. Straight from the Land of the Rising Sun, Nobuteru Taniguchi a.k.a NOB (No One Better) held a drifting exhibition and press conference in the Ortigas Home Depot grounds. Also present in this event were local drifitng aces, spearheaded by champion Alex Perez, Pia Boren, and celebrities Gaby Dela Merced and Ryan Agoncillo.
Taniguchi is a seasoned competitor recognized worldwide as a sort of drifting god, as he has campaigned a successful career behind the HKS team in Japan. Beginning in 2001, NOB first gained popularity aboard the HKS engineered Nissan Silvia S15 which saw him take many wins over the course of several years. In 2005, HKS built him a new drift machine in the form of the Toyota Altezza. HKS wanted to prove that an ordinary daily driver like the Altezza could be transformed into an awesome sideways toy, with the right modifications of course. It's quite fitting that Taniguchi-san went behind the wheel of a Toyota again, since it was the legendary Toyota AE-86 that got him hooked to drifting in the first place.
Currently, the 38 year old driver races in the Japanese Super GT Championship piloting a Mazda RX-7, proving that his skills go beyond just drifting. Indeed, this is the type of guy with high-octane fuel coursing through his veins.
During the brief press con, NOB told us about his name. As he was customarily called by close friends "NOB" after the first three letters of his name, he wanted to make a catchy acronym for it. With some creativity going into the thought process, he came up with the moniker "No One Better." Asked if he thought he truly was the best driver from Japan, he said that as a competitor you want to believe in your abilities, and this shows in the confidence he's put to his name. When asked after as to whether he thought he was better than the "Drift King", Keiichi Tsuchiya, NOB said although he recognizes Tsuchiya's role as a pioneer and pillar in the sport, he likewise reiterates he has a style of driving all his own. And yes, they are friends.
Withstanding the rigors of racing and attaining numerous accolades along the way, he continues to display an excellent work ethic through the years. Asked as to what keeps his motivation high after racking up win after win after win, Taniguchi humbly replied that he simply wishes to be the best in his chosen discipline, which is racing. This is why he remains ever-eager to improve every time he steps inside a car, whether it be drifting or circuit racing.
Of course, NOB was asked what he thought about the Filipino drifters when it came to putting on a show. Unfortunately, he couldn't comment much to the skills of our own drivers as he hadn't seen them in action. He did say he looked forward to the following day where the Lateral Drift Championships would take place, since NOB was going to be one of the guest judges for the said event.
Before the interviews began, Taniguchi was busy smoking the Bridgestone Adrenalin tires off the heavily modified 400-horsepower Nissan Silvia S13, which was so graciously lent by the folks over at Motul-Autoplus. Within a few minutes, NOB was obviously in his element as this car, which he had only driven there, was already dancing to his very calculated inputs. It was a shame that NOB was not given a big enough area to really showcase what he could do with a drift car. Hopefully next time, NOB can do what he does best in a bigger track and really get a chance to wow the crowd with his sublime car control.
For this day though, being in the company of one of the world's best drifters was enough. No doubt, the sport of drifting is really the hot ticket in the country's motorsports scene.