Preview: くめさんのフェアレディZ

Automotive, Japan, JDM

Just this week Option magazine released their January 2013 magazine in Japan.  In that magazine they wrote an article relating to custom widebody builds; and one of the cars they featured was my good friend Kume’s beautifully crafted Z32.  Mr. Kume is a big fan of custom metal work, and it shows in his Z – the widebody rear and custom fenders looking almost like OEM pieces.  Because of the new Option release, I thought it fitting to give you guys a preview of what we have in store.  Look forward to a full feature of this car, along with Harada’s Mission Z32.

 

AF2

Locale: Advance Flatout Technical Factory

Automotive, Japan, JDM, Locale, Motor Sports

 

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting a shop that I have had on my list for quite some time; Advance Flatout.  I’ve known about this shop and it’s involvement in the circuit for a long time now, but I’m not so sure that (outside of Japan) they were that well known until their yellow NSX graced the cover of the August 2012 Option magazine.  Well, I guess even that achievement wouldn’t really extend their arm across the Pacific much.  I suppose that’s what I’m here for…

So let me show you what Advance is all about…


Settled just outside of Kamoi Station in Yokohama, this shop works on a wide variety of cars, but is obviously well known for one reason; their involvement at Fuji Speedway in their NA1 shop car.  The location of the shop is among my favorite for sure; it’s so nonchalantly placed among apartment complexes and other industrial shops.

 

 
Actually, Advance has been hosting their Fuji Speedway Circuit Challenge for well over 5 years now.  Not only are they consistently under the 2 minute mark, but they hold the street NSX record at Fuji Speedway; set with this very NSX you see here.  Yes, this is a street car that drives on the street.

This yellow NSX is their shop car – as indicated by the giant ADVANCE livery.  When I turned the corner and saw the shop, this was the first thing that caught my eye.  Being a long time fan of this car, it was very surreal to finally see it in person.  It’s very well put together, the parts selection being amongst the best.

I was pretty excited to see that they sold Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend coffee in the vending machine outside the shop as well.  Not to mention that a yellow NSX with Ganadors was parked right in front of it.

 

Although the focus may seem to be on the NSX, the beauty of Advance is that they really do tune a wide variety of cars.

This Ferrari is also one of their more famous shop cars, and if I can say so myself, a great addition to their curbside.

If you didn’t believe me at first about the variety of cars they work on here, then let this picture be a testament to my statement.  Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Porsche, Ferrari; get it?

The actual shop space itself, although it appeared cramped, was actually very well sized for a Japanese tuning space.  I’m used to cramped spaces (Seeker) where the parking lot is utilized more than the actual interior.  Advance also had office space upstairs, and a few side rooms for specific uses; great use of space as is the norm for Japan.

Out of the 8 cars that were present, 3 were NSX, so I guess that gives some indication at what the specialty of Advance is.

Despite the massive enjoyment I got from touring the shop and seeing the shop car in person, the really cool thing I got to do was meet and hold a mildly understandable conversation (they do not speak English and my Japanese isn’t the best) with Masahiro-san.  This is Masahiro; he runs the media outlets for Advance Flatout, and while we have been Facebook friends for a while, I never thought I’d get to meet in person.  The whole reason I started this website was to get closer to the people behind the cars, and this is exactly what I’ve always had in mind.  To me, the friendship drawn from the industry is more important the cars themselves.  Maybe he felt the same because he took my picture when I was at the shop and put it up on the Advance blog – which made my day ^^.  I will definitely be back soon to say hello and to see what awesome cars they have at the shop.  Hope you enjoyed ~

 

You can catch a hi-res shot of the store front in the wallpaper section.

DSC0278

One Shot: BN Sports JZX

Automotive, Drifting, Japan, One Shot

Going through a few photos this morning and came across this  JZX with BN and R33’s that was at Shibaura PA; I thought it was worth sharing.  I like the 745i badge the owner put on the trunk.

SGT10

Event: Super GT Motegi 250km – The Final Battle V.2

Action, Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports

 

…and as the rain began to fall ever harder, the Super GT cars charged on; fueled by the calm determination only those behind the wheel know.  We pick up on the continuing coverage mid way through Super GT’s eighth and final round of the 2012 season at Twin Ring Motegi.  In the last post I talked in length about the team and car positions in regards to the race and championship, so in this post we’ll just take it easy and enjoy the shots.  These purple Cosmos surround the walkways of the race track and add a nice touch to the landscape.

While it’s performance might not have been ideal for the Mugen team, at least they had a great looking car out on track.

The Green Tec & Leon AMG SLS does it’s best to run from the Epson HSV for as long as it can.  This team ended up 8th in the Motegi 250km.

Massive GT300 fight heading into the easy left that twists into a chicane.  This is one of my favorite places to shoot because of the head on angles, and the way you can see a large portion of the track from where they come out of the right hand turn.

The two cars in the middle of the pack, behind the ARTA, were the Mugen CR-Z and the DIJON NEON CALLAWAY WAKO’S ED Corvette, a.k.a. the team with the longest name.  The CR-Z ended up trumping the Corvette by a few spots.

The ENEOS SC430 passing the Green Tec SLS coming out of the left hander.

The WedsSport SC430 creeping up on the BMW that had subsequently been recovered from it’s spin into the gravel.

GSR Hatsune Miku BMW partially piloted by Tanaguchi himself soared to a respectable fourth position.  This team had a great year, and I hope they can continue it into 2013.  The Good Smile Race team is very unique and special to Japan.

It’s incredible to see the GT500 machines overtake the GT300 cars so easily.  The power difference is quite visible at this distance.

A crowd favorite, the Calsonic GTR ignites it’s converter as it downshifts into the hard left.

Neck breaker.

Honestly, before I knew it the race was over.  My friend and I were actually surprised when we saw the flags drop because it had seemed so short.  Super GT is an endurance series after all, but this seemed much shorter than the other races I’ve attended.  I think it’s partially because we were caught up in photographing it.

So we made our way back to the now soaked paddock to watch the ending ceremonies and trophy presentation.  Because it was the last race of the season, all the drivers from every team line up and give things away to the crowd who comes onto the track.  I ended up getting an APR Prius mouse pad ^^

The GT500 podium ceremony.

The GT300 championship podium.  Endless Taizan team ended up with a clutch win in the race to put them on top for the 2012 championship.  The Hankook Porsche team in a very close second, and the Triple A Vantage team third.  The team director for Endless Taizan was very thankful to all the fans and supporters.

Lastly, the GT500 champion standings.  The S Road MOLA team snagged the championship in the previous round, claiming their second consecutive win; a very successful result.  The ZENT team claimed the second spot with their victory in Motegi, and in third, another SC430 team, the Kobeco Denso team.  Sorry about the angles on these – I was standing on track pretty close to the podium.

Just so happens that we were standing right in front of NOB when the drivers came out.  I’m pretty sure the race queens were trying to take his pants off in this picture because he’s such a cool guy.

That wraps up the final round of Motegi here at NDF.  With the JAF race already over, the 2012 Super GT series is officially done.  We’ll have to wait a few more months until we get some more Japanese racing action, but you can bet NDF will be there to grab it.  Thanks for visiting!  Oh, two posts on a Monday morning ~ lucky guys…

 

 

One Shot: Revolfe S.A. S15オーテックのエンジン シルビア

Automotive, Japan, One Shot

レヴォルフェドットコム Revwolfe S.A. tuned S15 Autech Engine powered coupe.  This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but make no mistake; this car is extremely cool.  High Power & Save Energy.

Close-Up: Funny Factory S15

Action, Automotive, Drifting, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports

This is one S chassis that I haven’t seen too much of until last month’s D1SL round in Nikko.  It’s actually quite different than what we’re used to seeing.  I find the reference to American tools a little humorous, but it’s a nice reminder that Mac Tools is pretty big in Japan as well.

Destroying the straight at Nikko

The car didn’t make that many runs, but it sure looked good when it was sliding.  I’ll try to find out more info on this car for you all later. ~

 

 

SGTrace1

Event: Super GT Motegi 250km – The Final Battle V.1

Action, Automotive, Event, Japan, Motor Sports

After my well deserved break after the Super GT practice session, it wasn’t long before the final race of the season got underway.  In typical Japanese fashion, as soon as the flag dropped, so did the rain; causing confusion for many of the teams..  Twin Ring held the weather at bay throughout practice, but the precipitation proved to be too much for the track to handle.  Not one to fight things I can’t control, I opened up my newly acquired Mugen Power umbrella and made my way track-side.

Although cumbersome to shoot in the rain, my troubles paled in comparison to what mild rain at the start of a race does to the race strategy.  The drizzle in warm-up was similar to that of the seasons second race in Fuji; where incorrect tire choices led to the ARTA HSV’s DNF.  Despite the adverse conditions, it didn’t take long for the two classes to start their own dogfights.  While the racing was intense in the top 5, the Mugen Power team managed a lackluster 11th place finish in the GT300 class; not quite as impressive as the beginning of their season.

The ZENT Audi powers down the second straight heading towards turn 2.  Although I’m sure the battle was difficult, the R8 could only manage a mere 9th place finish at the end of the day.

Leading the way into this hard left is the Endless Taisan GT300 Porsche; the team that ended up claiming a well deserved first place at this race, thus clenching the GT300 championship from the grip of the Hankook team.  A result the team director was extremely grateful for.

The GT500 pole and race winner, the ZENT Cerumo SC430, locked in a drag race to the corner with the GT300 BMW of the GSR Hatsunemiku team.  Piloted by Taniguchi and Kataoka, the GSR BMW ended up with a respectable 4th place finish at Motegi.  Here you can see the rain had gotten worse than it was during the start of the race.

While they enjoyed the early lead, it wasn’t without it’s fair share of stress.  About mid-race, armed with a fresh set of tires, the S-Road MOLA GTR was breathing down the neck of the SC430.  With the rain falling harder, and the front-runners coming up on the back markers, the ZENT SC430’s lead over the GTR fell to a nail biting 1 second; a fight that would continue down to the final lap.

The #33 Hankook Porsche had a tough break this round, losing it’s grip over the Endless Porsche, and it’s championship point lead.  Once it lost it’s hold on the race early on, it was all downhill.  Being passed numerous times, landing itself in seventh place in the race, resulting in a second place in the 2012 championship; a bitter result to say the least.

The Triple A Vantage GT3 car, all things considered, had a fantastic race.  Starting at the back of the grid due to mechanical failure, the driver’s ran a great race to fight their way back to an impressive fifth place finish.  A finish that clenched them enough points to claim the final position on the championship podium, and ending the points battle that made this year’s GT300 races so exciting.

GT500 sandwich coming down the back straight into turn 3.


There’s nothing more exciting than watching cars go two or sometimes three wide into a corner…

…exiting at the same pace, and having an all out drag to the next turn!  In this case, the #88 MonePa Gallardo piloted by none other than Max Orido, had no problems in lapping the Run Up Z06.  The Lamborghini’s had a great run at Motegi, claiming both the second and third podium spots.  The Run Up team, who struggled with setup all day, ended up 9 laps back in 20th position.

With about a third of the race left to run, the GSR ProjectMirai Z4 went too hard entering near the chicane and ended up in the gravel.

The BMW was quickly towed back to the pits by this Nissan Sandcrawler.

We’ll take a break for now, but check back soon for the end result and final coverage of Super GT for the 2012 season!