Category: Japan

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Encounter: Shell Engineering 86 – Pit Lane Spotlight

Kiyosu City, in the heart of Nagoya, is home to Shell Engineering; a shop that focuses on the total tuning of both circuit and street cars.  Kogai-san, the owner, unveiled his newest project 86 at HKS Premium Day this year.  Cloaked in the complete Blitz Aero Speed package, the new body panels are coated in a richly dark blue/black color that, much like the shop, elicits an aura of mystery; a mystery that sets this 86 apart from the rest.

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Encounter: Osaka’s Auto Select – GTR Rundown

When Eiichiro Sawa founded Osaka based Auto Select in the early 80’s, his main goal was to share his knowledge of tuning and racing spirit with not only his friends, but with a wider range of enthusiasts as well.  In 1985, after establishing himself in the industry of aftermarket tuning, the popular magazine Carboy did a feature on Auto Select that highlighted Eiichiro’s story; this story resulted in a tremendous boost in customer base.  Their decades of continuous R&D of new parts and tuning methods has kept them alive through many lulls in the industry, and is a major reason why they’re so well known to date.  You’d be hard pressed to attend an attack event in Japan, or a motor sport event in general, without the Auto Select flag being flown.

 

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Feature: The Pan Speed FD – Reborn

The last time I saw this car was literally a year ago; and I can tell you, it looked nothing like this.  Yes, this is the same FD chassis that PanSpeed commissioned last year at HKS Premium Day, except that this year the car has gone through quite a cosmetic transformation.  Actually, you can see it’s previous reiteration here.  Over the course of last year, the car was stripped of it’s exterior and fitted with an entirely new aero kit that PanSpeed has been developing.  I know this is a bit late in the day, but I finally stopped fiddling with my new audio equipment that I got for the new Podcast long enough to get the article out.

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One Shot: Fuji Circuit 360 Modena

One of the funner things to do when the action on track grinds to a halt due to delays in the race, or fluid clean ups, is to walk around the paddock where the owners of the race cars and teams park their daily drivers.  Case in point, this Ferrari 360 that was nonchalantly parked amongst mini-vans and flatbeds at Fuji.

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Encounter: Tatsumi Nights With Masa and Motomasu

I was browsing through some older photos on my hard-drives this evening and came across these shots of Masaki-san’s, and Ono-san’s Porsches one night – since it’s Thursday, and the appropriate thing to do these day’s on a Thursday is to throw things back, I decided to post them up.  There were a few of us that had gone out to Tatsumi to say hi to some friends and we ended up meeting them out there.  Yoko was there as well which was a nice surprise.  These photos were actually already processed, for some reason I never uploaded them.  Really trying to find time to drive in Idlers again this year, and seeing some of these cars gives me some motivation.  Click past the break to check them out.

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Close-Up: Ken’s G-Work☆CR-X

While no doubt popular in it’s day for it’s nimble handling, performance, and excellent gas mileage, I wonder if Honda ever imagined the capability that their CR-X would have on circuit nearly 30 years after it’s inception?  This particular example, hailing from the camp of G-Work, is no doubt a testament to the capability of the tiny chassis.  Barreling through TC2000 in a mere 1’02.419, the NA B-series powered CR-X can hold definitely hold it’s own.  Click past the break for a gallery of shots on track at Tsukuba Circuit.

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Encounter: フシミンのFD2 – グル走

Caught this pretty cool FD2 at Tsukuba during a Grooving event.  The entire interior was gutted and it was running a pretty mild aero package. Fastest time it clocked was 1’01.25 – pretty quick!  The fender cut away made the car look much more aggressive than the factory form.  Click past the break for a few more shots.

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Close-Up: The Circuit Scalpel – Esprit’s NSX

On many occasions, probably due to lack of my creativity, I’ve written excerpts on this site comparing certain managerial techniques to a variety of car builds.  That may or may not have something to do with my education and work background in the business sector, but I feel it’s something I can comfortably relate to.  These topics, at surface level, I would imagine to be somewhat obscure on an automotive website.  The truth of the matter is, in almost all regards, the processes discussed are very much applicable to time attack builds.  The practice of Continual Improvement is one such business practice, and in the realm of time attack, not many shops demonstrate this practice better than Esprit in the ongoing development of their NSX.

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Encounter: The Height of Challenge – ATTKD GTR32

I’ve always held ATTKD in high regard.   Not only because of their rich history in parts development and tuning, but more so because of their ability to put pressure on the frontrunners of time attack. The surprisingly large shop based out of Nagano is responsible for a handful of notable Nissan builds; namely their flagship 32 you see here.  Working closely with their long time test driver, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita, they were able to get under 2 seconds shy of the Top Fuel S2000; which has quickly become the benchmark for time attack at Fuji.  In an almost ‘behind the scenes’ fashion, Mitsuhiro Kinoshita piloted the Skyline around Fuji Circuit in a remarkable 1’40.925.

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Encounter: The Samurai Archives – Revolfe S.A. GTR33

The picture below cracks me up.  When I had started walking around the back portion of the garages at Fuji, I came across the Revolfe S.A./Kleer R33 Skyline that was competing once again in the Hiper Challenge at HKS Day.  I must have had my blinders on or something because I just walked up and started taking pictures of the car, and didn’t even notice Mizota-san standing in the back.  After I had taken this shot he came up to me all surprised.  Later as I was going through these photos I saw him in this one pointing right at me hahaha.

 

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Close-Up: こみぃ♪ – ガレージWORK EK9

Over the past years we’ve spent quite a bit of time at Garage Work; both at the shop in Chiba, and on track at Evome and Attack.  It’s a shop that is known for pushing the boundaries of Honda’s FF chassis far beyond what anyone has ever imagined.  Tora-san’s rich history and incredible foresight into the sport of time attack has been unmatched by many, and through Garage Work, he is able to channel that gift to not only his personal vehicles, but to his customers as well.

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Event: Tension’s Fuji Takeover & HKS HCC Snapshot

So, yeah.  This will probably go down as the most random post of 2015 NDF, but I figured I’d combine the two as we didn’t spend that much time at either.  The same day that HKS held their Premium Day event, our friends at Tension reserved the Fuji drift track and held their own ‘Premium Day’ so to speak.  While the guys in Tension are all super nice, they have a somewhat sketchy history, so I’m glad Sekinei is good friends with them.  They’ve always support NDF and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.

So during the lunch break on the Speedway side, Sekinei and I meandered over to Fuji’s drift track to say hi and snap some photos.

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Editorial: Blueprint – Japan’s approach to Emotional Engineering

 

 

Kansei Kougaku (感性工学) – a design methodology that serves to elucidate the user’s emotional response into the realm, or sphere so to speak, of a product or commodity.  Founded by Hiroshima University Professor Mitsuo Nagamachi, the concept of Kansai Engineering, at surface level, allows us to link an individual’s physical and psychological reaction to the properties and essence of a product.  This theory has not only become a well-studied notion that can be applied to an almost endless amount of applications, but has also given us, as inherently unique individuals, an opportunity to view nearly everything man-made with a sincere empathy – whether we are conscious of it or not.