Event: Super Taikyu – A Pit Walk In Japan

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Here’s a post I’ve been waiting to share with you for awhile now.  Let me preface this by saying that the pictures won’t really do this experience much justice.  In Japan, a pit walk is something you can pay a little extra for to take an actual walk on the pit road to view the cars and team.  Well, I thought you could view the cars and team anyway.  In reality, it turns out it’s a mad rush for the thousands of spectators that are there solely for the race queens.  I literally had to fight my way through the crowd and sneak my way past the stanchions to get a glimpse at the race cars.  I was even told a few times that I couldn’t be past a certain point I had snuck by.  Seriously though, I paid for a pit walk to see the cars!  My friend and I were probably part of the 5% of people there to view the actual vehicles.  They should really look in to separating the girls from the garages a little; throw them out on the straight or something.   With that said, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  I find it extremely amusing being the only foreigner in a crowd of crazed motor sport (read ‘race queen’) fans, and getting caught up in the moment.  You know the saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”?  Well, about halfway through I gave up trying to get car shots and ended up joining everyone else in snapping some girlies.  They were all about it too!  Perks of having blue eyes I suppose.  Click past the break to see the experience of my first pit walk.

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If you didn’t believe me about that thousands of people, try this one on for size.  I mean, I’m comfortable in a crowd.  Over the years of visiting Japan I’ve grown accustomed to the lack of space there, but this was insane.  Of course the crowd grew even larger as I gravitated to the more popular teams.  Remember, this is Super Taikyu, so the ST4 and 5 class cars were probably not as popular as the fast guys.  So as I made my toward the end of the pit lane, the crowd lessened a bit…but not really.

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The ings+1 girls were kickin’ it pretty hard in front of their respective garages – preferring to soak up the sun’s rays as opposed to blocking them with their umbrellas.

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Representing the Yaris population.  I’ll be the first to admit, I have no information on any of these girls, or what teams they represent.  I could be barely see any of the cars!  But you could argue that that’s actually a good thing…

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Check out those legs…I mean the cool driver.  How awesome would it be to chill for an hour before your 4 hour race under the shade of a giant umbrella that was supported by a really, really good looking female.  I’d be giving the random white guy a thumbs up too.

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A couple Okabe Jidosha drivers.  Could be RX7, or Nissan 370Z drivers.

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Said RX7.  This is one of those scenarios where I was told to get out of the garage area.  I had made my way behind the drivers and umbrella girls in order to get a clear shot of the car.  I didn’t really think anyone would mind because I was literally the only one doing it.

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I really don’t think I need commentary for these…

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The C-West girl was all smiles.

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Manage to sneak a shot of the Tracy Sports S2000 – a little beat up from it’s previous outings.  It’s funny how clean the engine bay is compared to the rest of the car.

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The Kota Racing S2000.  Garaged and ready to go.

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Olive Spa.  They had the only NSX running in the field, and in my opinion the coolest colors.

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Really, this was the best I could do for the Spoon Sports S2000.  There was a crowd around their pit that had to be the equivalent of the total population of the greater LA area.

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I did manage to get a shot of Nakajima though.  He is one of the 3 drivers of the Spoon S2000.  He also looks strikingly similar to my good friend Scott’s brother, Khoun.

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I thought this was pretty cool.  There was a family that was a fan of this team and had brought their son to the race, as many parents do.  Kids tend to adopt the likes of their parents before they are old enough to think on their own, so this kid was all for it too.  When they got to the front of the line and got a chance to meet the drivers, they couldn’t believe it.  So for one of the pictures the driver put the kid up on his shoulders.  This is the kind of stuff that extends the life of motor sports throughout future generations and the stuff that Japan is so good about.

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Then there’s this…Japan is good about this too.

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The Kyosho Itasha styled EVO X.

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The Wako’s girls were probably some of the coolest grid girls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting….and it looks like they’re not wearing pants.  Bonus.  The one on the right actually spoke decent English.

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I should have asked her for a hat…

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This chick was awesome.  So, my photography background is that of street photography, so the opportunity to shoot people at a motor sport event was great.  Can you tell I was kind of getting into this ‘umbrella hunting’ that everyone else was doing? haha

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I wasn’t the only one enjoying myself though – it seems as if a few friends of the team decided to do their own modeling.  The laid back atmosphere of the pit walk was a stark contrast to what was played out on track just moments later.  It was really a cool experience.

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Umm…what was I saying?

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The colors of the different umbrellas would cast a certain hue on the subjects.  Wako’s was very pink.

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Manage to squeeze in another few car pictures.

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As if this dude wasn’t busy enough – NOB drives for the Petronas Mercedes team in Super Taikyu.  As you would imagine, he is probably the most popular driver in the series…let alone all of Japan.  His popularity, however, does not make him exempt from the obligatory peace sign.


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These four girls, also picture in the opening shot, are the official Taikyu ambassadors and I caught them hiding out at the other side of the pit lane.  When the crowd died down a little bit I started joking around with them a little bit.  Actually ended up getting individual shots of all of them – maybe I’ll post them up later.  Well, this post is definitely a far cry from what I usually throw up here, but since this blog is all about the Japanese motor sport experience, I thought it would be more than appropriate to try and get you guys into the fray.  You should see the Super GT pit walk…I’ll give you some time before I post that up.  We may not be able to handle it all at once.  Hope you enjoyed!  Cheers.

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