I was fortunately enough to spend some of last year road tripping across Japan to discover the secrets and culture of this magical country. The
culture, the history, the food and most importantly the drifting!
When it comes to Japanese workshops, there was one I was particularly excited to visit. One of the best in the business.
I certainly had to make a stop at the famous Mind Control Racing Factory. Now if you haven’t
heard of MCR I feel really bad for you, but don’t worry, I’ll let you in on the secret 😉 The owner and head driver of the team is none other than
Now unless you’re into drifting you may not know who this is, but put it this way, Yokoi has
competed in some of the biggest drift series in Japan as well as the world such as D1 Street legal,
D1 Grand prix, And both Formula drift Asia and America. He is also d1 street legal series
champion in 2012 so you can understand he is pretty big in the drifting world. Jump on YouTube
and type in his name and you will only see how good he and his team are.
The very first thing I seen when walking into the workshop was a purple s14 Silvia (purple is the MCR team
colour) that was being put back together. The guys at MCR are all well known for driving S-chassis
vehicles and all opt to stick with sr20 motors that come in the Silvia. This particular s14 was of
team driver Tetsuya Kume. Unfortunately I never got to take a photo of the car complete so this is
a photo of it a few days later at rd 1 of d1SL.
As you can see by the engine bay, Yokoi is a talented artist when it comes to cars. He is well
known for painting and selling different rocker covers for Japanese imports. All of the team cars
are painted in this way as well as some airbrushing. His rocker covers can be purchased off his
website and hang on display right next to the shop entrance.
Once I met Yokoi he offered to show me some more of his and customers cars. I thought to
myself “there’s more?” as his workshop is very small with room for 2 maybe 3 cars to be worked
on. He said come with me and we left the workshop. Next thing I know we were 5min down the
road in a car park were a bunch of Silvia’s and 180sx were parked. You see, Japan is so compact
that every bit of space is used for something.
First car I noticed upon arrival was the famous purple MCR s14 that Yokoi is notorious for driving
during D1SL, but also sliding around the streets of Japan. You see, MCR is not only a well know
drift team on track, but also one to be feared on the streets.
The car looked to have been sitting for quite some time but Yokoi said it still gets used for fun at
the track as he grabbed a helmet from the front seat. As you can tell by the damage, it still gets a
regular thrashing from time to time. When I asked if he still takes it out on the streets from time to
time, he refused to comment but had a smirk on his face that hinted to it happening more often
Under the bonnet was more of Yokoi famous artwork.
The inside of the car is as expected with everything nonessential being stripped out and a full roll
cage and set of bucket seats fitted. All the usual gauges and computers were also fitted but you
will also notice that the CD player and door trims still there. The thing is, regulations state that a
car entered in D1SL must still have parts of the factory car fitted hence why the series is called
If you also zoom in you will notice a picture of a male body part flying into a female body part
taped to the dash hahahaha.
This red 180sx that was also parked behind was a customer’s car. You can see the type of
clientele that gets work done at MCR. Drifters tend to stick together in Japan and will only get
there work done by another drifter.
We than headed back to his workshop to look at some other cars. Out the front were a few
vehicles on jack stand with panels missing covered in broken bumpers and surrounded by blown
gearboxes. I asked what was happening with all of them. “Scrap” Yokoi said. SCRAP!?! You
could sell them in Australia and still make a bit of cash. But sitting across the street was an
awesome looking black s15 Silvia. This was Yokoi’s daily driver to get around. I could only wish to
have a car like this back here in Australia for a daily. But we all know what the police think of
modified vehicles here.
Lifting the bonnet reveled the usual with all his cars. Painted rockers cover and engine bay in his
famous lace style. Another thing I noticed was all of his coolers (inter cooler/radiator/oil cooler)
were all koyorad and said made for M. Yokoi on them as he is sponsored by koyorad.
He had to leave me for a minute as he had a call regarding his trip to America (which he was
leaving the following day to compete in formula drift), so I took the opportunity to look around. I
came across this small pit bike all painted up sitting in the corner covered in dust. Guys back
home would love to get their hands on a bit of MCR memorabilia like this. Imagine cruising around
the pits at a local track on this.
I also noticed a Toyota JZX110 Mk2 sitting in the workshop
His mechanic was also there working on a customer’s s15 Silvia. When he saw me shooting
photos I think he got a bit shy as he kept laughing and wouldn’t look up for me.
Yokoi than exited from his office and gave me something. When turning it over I realized it was a
sticker of his blue and silver DMAX s15 which sadly was already over in America for formula drift.
I than found out I was the first person to get this sticker and it was going to be sold in the USA to
his American fan base. He said it was a present for visiting and I was the only Australian to have
one. We than went to look at one last team car before I headed off. Around the corner was a
purple Nissan 180sx that another team member drove. That famous purple always looks good on
Before leaving with an angry wife that sat in the rental van the whole time, I went back to quickly
look over some of the MCR merchandise he had for sale. You can’t go to a place like this and not
leave with as many souvenirs you can get. I ended up buying a tshirt that I currently am wearing
as I type this article. If your into drifting and Japan, make sure you put Mind Control Racing on the
list of places to go. You won’t be disappointed.