Last Saturday, February 13, Japan was struck by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The quake struck off the coast of Fukushima in the Tohoku region. The same place where the deadly magnitude 9.0 quake struck Japan, set off a tsunami killed thousands, and caused a nuclear disaster nearly ten years ago. The quake was also felt in Tokyo, hours away from the epicenter.
Fortunately, there is no tsunami this time around. Reports also say that no deaths or serious injuries are confirmed. However, the quake did cause several landslides, collapsing highways, and even blocking roads around the area. One of Japan’s most popular race tracks and drift circuits was also damaged by the landslides caused by the earthquake – Ebisu Circuit.
Ebisu Circuit is famed for its Minami drift track, a staple on the D1 Calendar since the early 2000s. But Ebisu Circuit is more than just about drifting. The motorsport complex is comprised of seven tracks for grip events and two skid pads. Designed by drift driver Nobushige Kumakobo (who also owns and operates the track), it has been a go-to location for car enthusiasts in Japan and around the world.
From the photos posted by Powervehicles.com on social media, the cleanup and repairs needed on Ebisu Circuit are extensive. A large section of the Drift Land track was damaged together with portions of the famous Minami track. From the video, the landslide also heavily damaged the Highashi circuit. A massive cleanup and repair works are certainly needed, but thankfully no one was injured by the landslide.
For reference, this isn't the first time Ebisu Circuit was damaged. When the magnitude 9.0 quake struck in the same region ten years ago, the motorsport complex was heavily damaged. It also destroyed several vehicles parked in the facility, including Team Orange drift cars. It took some time, but Kumakobo and his staff were able to repair the circuits and drift tracks. Hopefully, they’ll be able to do the same this time around.