The Time When Racer Tarzan Yamada Survived an 186 MPH Crash Without a Rollcage

While the things that take place on the racing scene nowadays are nothing short of impressive, we mustn’t forget fast-spinning wheels were invented a long time ago. We always love a good time machine ride into the quick side of the past and, for today, we’ll go back to the shenanigans that took place on the 90s JDM scene.
Tarzan Yamada's 186 mph crash 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Those of you who follow the US Formula D might know Tarzan Yamada, a Japanese pro drifter turned judge. Let’s take the time to look back at what was the most extreme crash of the man’s driving life, one that took place in the 186 mph (300 km/h) arena.

Back in the 1990s, Japan’s top tuners battled it out at the Yatabe testing facility (now closed), using a 3.1-mile (5 km) high-speed oval as their playground. Once everybody made it past the speed mentioned above, the game was changed to see which aftermarket developer could reach that speed more quickly.

With things heading towards the 1,000 hp mark in an era when standard vehicles still followed the 280 hp gentlemen’s agreement, you can imagine the action was bewildering.

Tarzan was one of the fastest guys on the oval at the time, with one of his best adventures seeing him mashing the throttle of an S14 Silvia (you might know this as the 240SX).

The S14, which had been heavily tuned by Garage Mori, saw the driver going past 186 mph with plenty of confidence, but all hell broke loose during one of the runs.

As you’ll be able to see in the video below, the Silvia started sliding as it exited one of the bends, with the driver’s countersteering efforts being made redundant by the extreme velocity. Nobody knows what actually caused the car to lose grip, but it looks like aerodynamic issues were to blame.

The Nissan went off the track in an ultra-violent crash that saw it rolling on multiple occasions. A rollcage? They never bothered installing such safety devices.

The clip even packs a surprise coming from Tarzan’s recovery process, and while you can skip to the 8-minute mark for this tale, we recommend enjoying the entire 21-minute clip.

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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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