Close Up: The HKS GT1000+ – The Final Act V.2



The poster child of HKS Premium Day; the GT1000+.  An enormously high powered R35 that was built for the sole purpose of achieving the fastest lap possible.  The build, which will compete in WTAC next year, was also the other half of the final event where they pit the GTR against the Endless Sports z4 GT3 I posted just yesterday.


One Shot: Bee-Racing GTR-SX

Action, Automotive, Drifting, Japan, JDM, One Shot




Imai-san sure sealed the deal on the controversy envelope with this one.  His 2J powered, GT-R converted 180SX has made a resounding impact throughout the world.  Catch it in the Drift Muscle series ~










Event: HKS Premium Day 2014 – Hiper Challenge

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




The first on-circuit event of the day was the Hiper Challenge; an event open to those amateur’s and privateers.  Despite that fact though, there were quite a few cars that got very close to achieving times more akin to their superiors competing in the Super Lap Battle – impressive to say the least.  In Group A, both of the Pisto R32’s ran a 1:48 and 1:50 respectively, while the AG-Y R34 ran a 1:50 as well.  Considering the slowest times at Super Lap were in the low to mid 50’s that is very impressive!

Group B was dominated by the Auto Select R34’s, which both ran low 52’s.  Group C had a similar conclusion with the fastest cars being Skylines.  There were just about 50 cars that competed in the Hiper Challenge, and with everything else going on during the day there was no way I could get them all, but please enjoy this sample from the event.






Rocket Dancer Altezza – I’ve been following this car on Minkara for the longest time, it was nice getting to see it in action!






Seeing as how this was the first event on circuit, the majority of the first session was spent in the rain.  There was a lot of standing water on track from the last nights rain.  It didn’t take long for the warm morning sun to burn off some of the water though, and as more and more cars passed the track soon became dry.




But not before a few people went off track…this guy had a good save and managed not to spin.




This Toyota spun a few times before coming to a stop facing the opposite direction right in front of me.  I yelled ‘Safe!’ really loud…I wonder if he heard me.




The C&Y Sports 180 was by far the loudest car in this class.  It wouldn’t be C&Y with an engine swap, and this was no exception with it’s new engine (NA 1UZ if I recall correctly – I’m probably wrong though). *Edit – I was wrong, its a NA 2JZ haha

Here’s a video of it in action that day.  Not only can you hear how loud it was, you can also see Matt and I track-side around at 1:30 (笑).   Bonus.




The EK putting in some laps.






One of Auto Select built R34’s – this car actually took first place in Group B with a 1’52.031 – amazingly quick for a street car.




This Celica was pretty nimble, and in this shot, believe it or not, the Supra is actually letting it pass.


Closer look at said Supra.




Another of the handful of MK4’s in the competition.




The other Auto Select R34 in Group B, this beautiful white Skyline lapped a 1’54.701 – good for a second place trophy.  This is the same one in the opening shot.




This 34 was styled in more of a street fashion – it looked great though.




One of the only GTR’s in the Hiper Challenge.




There were one or two cool 86’s, but this one was by far the most well put together.  Amazing car.

As our HKS Premium Day coverage continues, we’ll next have a quick look at the 86 Challenge that was part of the Hiper event.  Cheers!










Event: HKS Premium Day 2014 – The Paddock V.2

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports, Time Attack



So we’ll continue the delayed NDF coverage of HKS Premium Day 2014 with a walk-through of the garages at Fuji.  While the majority of the Hyper Challenge cars pitted in one of the main parking lots, the garages were reserved for the Option Super Lap cars.  For good reason though, these were 100% purpose built race cars that needs much more attention than the amateur class of Hyper Challenge.  Some of the top tuners in Japan were in attendance and they were using this day to try and set new track records.  It was a lot of fun getting to roam around Fuji’s pit lane free of restraint.  I hadn’t been able to do that since the last Super GT race I went to there back in 2012 I think (2013? I can’t remember).  HKS also put together a 86 Challenge where the 86’s got their own track time, but it ended up being pretty lackluster as there were only 4 or 5 cars really putting down good times in the class.  Although, out of the dozen or so competing, they all looked pretty great.  One of them being the Rasty 86 seen above.  The livery on this car is amazing.  I love the blue chrome…




Shot from the front of the intercooler/radiator set up.  They utilized a pretty large splitter for the session.




Another contender in the 86 Challenge was the Auto Technical Proshop Arena built car.  Another cool livery!  Arena is a pretty large shop located in Tsushima, near Nagoya in the Aichi Prefecture.  You can check out their みんカラ here.




RevYou, a Nissan tuning shop near Chiba had a few cars on hand.  This GTR, as well as a Z car that was tearing up Fuji duing the Super Lap battle.




Sekinei and I actually passed by this shop on the way to visit Iwata-san at Garage Work.  I really wanted to stop by and meet everyone, and see some of the cars, but we really didn’t have time.  We were kind of already pushing it going all the way to Chiba when Sekinei’s son needed to be picked up from school hahaha.

I thought this shot was cool – the squat is real deal.




One of the cars Varis brought out was this GTR on a fresh set of Volks.  I really liked the half pinstripe vinyl.  You can always count on Varis to make extremely stylish cars in a very simple fashion.






Back in the garages things we’re starting to get real live.  As the morning burned on it got closer and closer for the event that everyone was dying to see.  Each shop owner and driver preparing their cars for the Option Super Lap Battle…

Here, the two FD’s of Fukuoh ‘Freedom World’  sit in peace, awaiting their time to shine.







Their more iconic build – you may actually recognize this from an Import Tuner article a few months ago.  You’ll get to see it in a new light in the coming days though.




Next door the Voltex guys were busy assembling the aero package on the Top Fuel/Voltex S2000.  This car (obviously) was the fastest of the day by FAR.  It was pulling 1.40’s consistently like it was no big deal.  Reaching close to 300 km/h on Fuji’s enormous straight.




An aero package that doubles as a work bench…what more could you want?




Busy busy in this garage.






This enormous Voltex Type 11 rear element is by far the focal point of the rear end.  I love how you can see the rear brakes through the wide rear fenders.  The slightly offset exhaust through the diffuser, it’s all so excellent.




The Top Fuel tuned F-series easily distributing over 800 ps to the back end.




Assembling the side skirt and fender combination.  The car was transported over with almost no aero on it, so everything had to be assembled in the garage.


Random, bright green S15 that was in the Yashio Factory garage.  I never saw this on track though…




One of the gentlemen in the garage that Top Secret was occupying noticed my friend and I trying to get shots through the half closed garage earlier in the morning, so he kindly opened it up for us to get some light in.  Top Secret had both their GTR and 86 in attendance, however I believe the 86 suffered from some mechanical issues.




Their GTR however was on point.  The speeds this car carried through the straight were nothing short of incredible.




I thought the side exit, titanium exhaust was a nice touch as well.  Very well crafted.




Art Tech Hanatsuka had their R34 on hand for the Super Lap battle.  Today it was sporting a set of Nismo wheels instead of the red TE’s we are accustomed to seeing it on.




Shot of the extensive engine work done to the RB26.




Art Tech was sharing one of the larger garages with Reverse.  Nakano-san paused her work for a few minutes to let Matt and I snap a few photos.




Not sure why I’m including this picture, but I thought it was funny…I’m not even sure why…




Art Tech friends and family.




The driver of one of the Saurus built R32’s double checking tire pressure before heading out.




Said 32.  The one in front laid down some seriously fast times – I’ll have a closer look at it in the coming week.




The HKS x Varis GTR: Kamikaze-R.




I was pretty upset that we never got to see the Wacky Mate FD hit the circuit.  I’m still trying to find out what exactly happened to prevent it from running.  It looked incredible in the garage though; I can only imagine how it looked on track.  (Edit – I take that back, this car actually did run in the first session and put down a decent time of 1:55.115 – which, given the modifications, is pretty good.  I suppose I just missed it.)




I loved the simplicity of the color way.




Great looking car.





Around this time the first session of Hyper Challenge was set to kick off so we ditched the paddock and headed to the circuit.  I had a blast walking around Fuji trying to hit all the good corners.  Next up I’ll have some on-circuit action of the Hyper Challenge cars.  Although it consisted of amateurs and privateers, there were some really cool cars in the field.


Stay tuned!














News: Super GT Round 3 Malaysia – Race Review

Action, Automotive, Motor Sports, News



On the afternoon of June 16, the SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES MALAYSIA race, Round 3 of the 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was run at the Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia). The GT500 class race was won by the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo de Oliveira and the GT300 class race by the ARTA CR-Z GT driven by Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi.




At 4:00 in the afternoon in tropical Sepang, the sun was still high in the sky but owing perhaps to the later start than in past years, the air temperature of 33 degrees C. and 42-degree track surface temperature actually felt cool in comparison to the usual Sepang heat as the 54-lap race was about to begin.
After the formation lap, it was the pole-starting No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda) that dashed into the lead at the start to get the hole shot. Following Matsuda into the first turn came the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Kohei Hirate), the No. 37 KeePer TOM’S SC430 (Andrea Caldarelli) and, coming up from the outside, the No. 1 REITO MOLA GT-R (Yuhi Sekiguchi) moved into 4th position. Behind them came the No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SC430 (Hiroaki Ishiura) and the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 (Takuya Izawa).
Although it had secured the lead, the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R was having trouble opening up any considerable margin of lead, being challenged already by the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 on the first lap. Running lap times within tenths of a second of each other the two machines were locked in a battle so close that at one point on lap four the ZENT CERUMO SC430 hit the rear of the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R…


read more at Super GT!




Event: Super GT Round 8 At Motegi 250km – Pre-Race Practice

Action, Automotive, Event, Japan, Motor Sports


So, it was 5am and the only thing I could think about was getting caffeine into my system; not if my friend was going to be late, not if it was going to rain in Motegi, not if the pole sitter would win, not if that girl last night actually liked me or was just being polite.  The only thing I cared about was coffee.  So I did what any normal person in Japan would do; walk across the street and buy one.

I ended up getting a warm Emerald Mountain Blend, as I usually do at this, or any, hour.  Well, that’s a lie, most of the time I buy it cold.  Anyway, I took a quick walk around the hood while I enjoyed my coffee and waited for my friend to pick me up to begin our journey to Twin Ring Motegi for the final round of 2012 Super GT.

Next door to my place was a shop that had a couple cats roam around every morning; this was one of them.  They always wandered the near sidewalks and alleys to make sure everything was how they left it the night before.  This guy had just got done eating some cat food the owner had left out.

My friend showed up soon after the cat photo session, and we began our trip to Motegi.  Weaving our way through the expressway, slowly making our way to the outskirts of the big metropolis that is Tokyo.  Just driving around gives you opportunities to find cool cars; like this RX-7 we tailed for a short while.

There is one particular Parking Area off the expressway that we usually stop at.  There is a Starbucks there that has some pretty cool architecture.

The lot also provides a good place to find cool cars.  This ER34 GTR looks great!  Almost as great as the new Taylor Swift album.

As we got closer to Twin Ring, we ran into a little traffic due to some construction that turned the already narrow road into one lane.  The forecast that day called for light rain off and on; I was hoping it wouldn’t at all, but at this point it looked inevitable.  It seems like every Super GT race I go to it rains.  I don’t really mind, because it makes for good photos, but it’s pretty bothersome in every other aspect.

Made it! ~

My buddy and I, who runs JDM Clips, both skipped breakfast that morning, so after parking the first order of business was getting a healthy meal…so we both got takoyaki; probably not the best choice for breakfast, but whatever.  It was delicious, and hot.  Very hot.

After we got done eating our junk food, practice was just getting underway.  Before the Porsche Cup support race, the Super GT cars go out for about an hour long practice session.  We decided to watch the entire practice at the Dunlop Corner, so we made the hike over there.  Along the way we got treated to nice views like this between the trees that surround the track.

The cars carry quite a bit of speed on the straight leading to this corner, so it’s neat to see them get hard on the brakes.  Most cars had a similar breaking point, but you could definitely see a difference between the 300 and 500 cars.  Here is the pole sitter, ZENT SC430, heading into Dunlop.

One of the BMW GT300 teams – this car unfortunately ended up going off in the gravel towards the end of the race and had to be towed off.  It looked great during practice though.

Another Lexus of the WedsSport persuasion.  This car has cool livery.

The D-Station GTR.

Drag race of epicness.  The S Road GTR of course had no problem passing the GT300 Ferrari.  The S Road team had, at the last round, already captured the series championship.

Another shot of the ZENT.  If this car comes up often I apologize, as it is my favorite team; I may be a bit biased.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with this track thanks to Gran Turismo, so you all should know about the tunnel after the Dunlop Corner.  The engines emit an awesome noise as the drivers rocket through the tunnel at full throttle.

Before getting on throttle though, you’ve got to brake. Hard.  The brake rotors burn, and the catalyzer shoots flames in protest as the driver commands the car to slow.  Head over to the wallpaper page to see how hot these brakes can really get on this turn.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.  Some of the kids were more absorbed in catching pokemon than the screaming cars fighting it out on the track.  I thought this was hilarious.

In the scheme of things, the Audi R8’s do relatively well in this series.  One consistent top 5 finisher is the GT300 Gainer R8.

SC430 dog fight!

The upside of running two classes simultaneously is that, even on the more boring tracks, there is always overtaking.

The CR-Z was pretty healthy sounding all day.  I look forward to see what this car is capable of in the next season.

I was sure to take many pictures of the HSV competitors, as this may be the last year we get to see them competing in Super GT, due to some regulation changes.  These cars were actually already an exception to the rule.

After the quick practice session, we took a stroll over to the Honda Collection Hall where they were having a tribute to 90’s racing, specifically the NSX.  It was a few hours before the beginning of the race, so I also took a stroll through some of the parking lots on the hunt for hidden treasure.  I’ll have more on that later, as well as full coverage of the race.  Stay tuned, and thanks for visiting!


Preview: Super GT Round 8 – Motegi 250km

Action, Automotive, Event, Japan, Motor Sports



This past Sunday marked the end of the 2012 Super GT season with the final race at Twin Ring Motegi; and despite the cold, rainy weather, the action was as hot as ever.  While it may not have been the case for the drivers, the 250km race was over before I knew it.  I get so lost in capturing the moment that I forget about the pouring rain, the time, my aching legs, and just about everything else.  Turns out my favorite team, the Zent SC430, ended up taking first place from pole position; resulting in a second place finish in the championship.


Stay tuned because I’ve got some great coverage and articles for you all about Super GT, and the final round of 2012.  I won’t be able to post much in the coming days, but be patient because it’s definitely worth it.