Need for speed - Okinawa drag race in Izena

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Photos courtesy of Okinawa Drag Race Kyokai and Crossports
Photos courtesy of Okinawa Drag Race Kyokai and Crossports

Need for speed - Okinawa drag race in Izena

by: Shoji Kudaka | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: April 12, 2016

It’s fun watching shows like Top Gear and Wheeler Dealers. The dedication that these car enthusiasts put into tuning up sport cars to push the speed limit, or to give new life to old cars by scraping up parts and allowing mechanics to work their magic is fascinating.

But let’s face it, nothing beats seeing the speed and power of cars up close and personal. Motor heads, it’s time to check out some drag racing!

On Saturday April 23 and Sunday April 24, around 50 cars and motorcycles will rev up their engines on Izena Island to decide who is the fastest in Okinawa.

Cars like the Nissan GT-R, Fair Lady Z, Toyota 27 Levin and Mazda RX-3 will be driven at top speeds on a 600-meter straightaway.  Imagine the sounds of powerful engines tuned up specifically for drag racing, or the white smoke and smell of tires spinning with force before the car blasts off toward the finish line.

And, aren’t you curious to see Nissan GT-R exceed a speed of 200 kilometers an hour. Sure you can see many GT-Rs and old Skylines or Levins on public roads on Okinawa, but it takes an opportunity like this one to see what these machines can do. Legally anyways.

To head to this weekend of drag racing, you’re going to have to take a little road trip, including a 90-minute drive to the northern part of Okinawa and 60-minute ferry ride to to Izena Island. But it will be worth the travel to experience the thrill and heat that the best muscle cars and speedsters in Okinawa create.

And, let me remind you that you can take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the beautiful view of the island.

kudaka.shoji@stripes.com

Okinawa Drag Race in Izena

Location: Runway on Izena Island (Shuttle bus will provide transportation between port and venue)

Date: April 23-24
*April 23 is for practice sessions
Time 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Admission: Free
*Also check out Crossports
(http://crossports.o-cross.net/) (https://www.facebook.com/crossports.okinawa/?fref=nf) and Okinawa Drag Race Kyokai (https://www.facebook.com/okinawadeag/?fref=ts)

Directions to Unten Port
1.    Go on Okinawa Expressway and Exit at Kyoda
2.    Go on Route 58 curving to the right, as you see a Baseball Stadium on your left.
3.    Make a left at Isagawa Intersection and merge onto Route 71
4.    When you come to a T intersection make a left to go on Route 505.
5.    Drive as you sea ocean on your right.
6.    When you find a sign for Unten port, make a right. Follow arrows with the letters “運天港”
7.    You can park your car near the terminal. 500 yen a day for parking.

Departure and arrival time of ferry connecting Okinawa’s main island and Izena on April 23 and 24

Unten (on Okinawa’s main island) to Izena Island
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
11 a.m. to noon
3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Izena Island to Unten (on Okinawa’s main island)  
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.