Event: Battle Evome 2016 – Round 2 Analysis

As we landed back in Narita on the evening of the 12th, I couldn’t help but feel like I hadn’t even left the country.  The sun had just began to set through the scattered clouds on the horizon and the diffused, orange glow of the afternoon’s last rays forced it’s way through the aircraft windows and into my eyes.  It had only been 3 weeks since I was last in Japan, a travel duration that becomes the norm during this time of year; the hectic 3 month period when time attack events are at their peak.  Actually, back in the States, I was so busy with new contracts at work and getting the store up that I hardly had time to post any content on site before heading back.  Nevertheless, I had returned to Japan and first thing in the morning we would make our way back to Tsukuba for the second, and final, round of Battle Evome.

Like clockwork, early Saturday morning, grassroots attack drivers, shop owners, car builders and supporters from all over central Japan congregated at Tsukuba Circuit.  The unique individuals that make up this group define what community is all about.  It’s because of this that Evome is much more than just a track event.  It’s more or less a fellowship that works together to achieve  their individual goals.  More than just a hobby, time attack is a sport that encompasses the greater part of their lives.

Mr. Asso, the president of Evome, was talking to Sekinei about how amazed he was that we travel out to each of the events and it kind of got me thinking – we do it for the same reason that each of the drivers do.  We’re all part of that community as well; the photographers, the readers of the site.  It’s all part of the same circle; I thought that was pretty cool.  Anyway, we typically see a lot of repeat entries at TC2000 events, as those who live close have much less of a commute to make than others.  That’s not a bad thing though because most of the time we get to see immediate improvements from the previous event.

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NDF_7889-EditOne new entry for the second round however, was this DC5.  Haru-san took some very DIY approaches to the car’s exterior that exemplify the feel of a handful of time attack Honda’s in Japan.  The car ran a best of 1’02.420 for the day, which, given the power output, isn’t too bad.

NDF_7904-EditMr. Orange-san brought out his DC2 again to try and best himself.  A slight improvement of a few tenths gained him a 1’00.634 lap time.

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NDF_8297-EditI was super stoked to see the Dream Studio’s FD3S there.  It really is a beautiful car.  Simplicity at it’s best.

NDF_7919-EditPretty neat EG6 on a TE/RPF1 stagger.  Gotta love the old, broken link URL decals that some of these cars run.  I remember as a kid desperately searching URLs I would see on cars to find more information on them, only to be led to a blank ‘page cannot be found’ message.

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NDF_7892-EditThis MK4 was neat surprise!  The Supra was built in conjunction with TFR and while a work in progress, was able to run a mid 59 second lap.

NDF_7942-EditSatoshi was on hand with his super clean S15.  Once again running in the Super Battle class, he was able to put down a 1’02.246.

NDF_7933-EditAuto Sonic FC3S.

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NDF_8099-EditYanyerumu-san, the new owner of the Revolution built RX-8, were once again in attendance as well.  The car remains relatively unchanged, but manages to consistently be driven in the high 59 second range.

NDF_7896-EditAh yes, a driver I haven’t seen in some time now!  Totomaru-san and his amazing pink EVO6.  He came out a few times last year in the EVO 9 he has, but I was pleasantly surprised to see his name on the entry list driving the CP9A…the only driver bold enough to have a decal of his own car…on his car.  I can only hope to be half as cool as him when I’m his age.

Also, looks like he borrowed the EVO9 wing for this event.

NDF_7962-EditNaoki Takigashira’s WRC replica STi, with an amazingly fresh coat of red paint.  This car is seriously quick; the GC8 laps TC2000 in a blazing fast 57.963.

NDF_7973-EditUnder-san was once again present, this time focusing all his driving skill into the Shaft ER34.  It seems that his S15 still needs some fine tuning after the switch to E85.

NDF_7993-EditBefore the 0900 hour struck and the cars took to the track, we had a chance to walk TC2000 and get a breakdown of some of the technicalities of each corner.  Asso called me over to hop in the van with him and Under in the pits, and we took off to turn one.  I wonder how fast they could drive the vans around the course in…hmm…

NDF_7990-EditThis is actually the first time I’ve been on the actual track at Tsukuba.  Always around the perimeter, and busy in the pits, I guess I’ve never been in afforded the opportunity to be around at this time.  I got lucky today though as it was a really, really cool experience.  There’s just so many characteristics about the track that you can’t see from a car.  Walking the track is an absolute must if you want to put down the fastest time you’re capable of.

NDF_7987-EditEverything from minor track elevation and camber changes, and even the surface itself can effect the car’s stability.

NDF_7986-EditStaring down the S’s to the first hairpin, you can see that it’s actually sloped at a decent grade.

NDF_7978-EditA quick, 10 minute briefing was held on the make-up of the first turn, and the optimal line to take coming in from the front straight.  Even seasoned drivers listened in and watched to try and possibly pick up on something they’ve missed in the past.  I’ve always seen this attitude as a stark contrast from some US events, where plenty of people think they know everything…it’s quite refreshing to see the willingness to always learn here.

NDF_7999-EditI don’t know too much about this FD, as it was the first time seeing it.  It was running in the Grooving radial event, so it’s times weren’t too impressive, but man the car looked good.  I’ll try to find more info on it next week.

NDF_8014-EditKaz had a handful of cars waving the Unlimited flag at the event, it was good to run into him again.  I hadn’t seen him since last July when I visited him at his shop.

NDF_8015-EditMr. EVO himself.

NDF_8021-EditAll smiles at the Garage Work camp – Tokue and Makoto look like they’re attending the event for comedic support more than mechanical.

NDF_8067-EditThe Auto Sonic FC; no doubt an icon of Attack.  I was lucky enough to get a close look at this legend and will share with you soon.  On top of that, I was also blown away at how intense the exhaust fumes of this car are.  I was behind it for a few seconds in the hot pit and my eyes started burning from the burnt race gas.

NDF_8105-EditThe EVOME run class taking to the track for the warm up lap.

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NDF_8107-EditSenkichi’s JZA80 rounding the first hairpin on a warm up lap.

NDF_8112-EditThe carb’d TCS Usui Miata was out and about again gunning for that sub-minute lap time.

NDF_8094-EditThis pair of FD’s from TFR were driving at limit all morning.  I don’t know if it was planned, but they were together for a good portion of each session.  It seemed kind of like how our friends here will grid together to be able to drive together once on track.  I do it with Justin when we drive together often.

NDF_8176-EditBelieve me though, when I say they were driving their best, I meant it.  Both were pushing braking points to the latest, and throwing the cars around each turn as fast as the tires would take them.

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NDF_8206-EditShooting at the exit of the first hairpin grants you access to get some really up close shots.

NDF_8291-EditPushing a little too hard, Zuki was able to pull a 1’02.197 before he had some major understeer coming out of the final turn that inevitably put him into the barrier.  It wasn’t too severe though, and the damage was thankfully only cosmetic.

NDF_8258-EditWe did a little spotlight on Shogo-san’s E30 last year – it was good to see him pushing himself again on track.

NDF_8224-EditBeautiful S2000 in the EVOME class.

NDF_8296-EditKeiichi’s Unlimited Works backed CP9A was back in action and dominating the field as usual.  Keiichi’s EVO 6 and the Auto Sonic FC are usually a good pairing to watch on the timing board, but today the EVO was a little off pace.

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NDF_8324-EditShifting up exiting the final corner, the N/A 20B spits a massive flame as it grabs for everything it can to finish the lap.

NDF_8340-EditNaoki’s Subaru locking up the brakes diving into corner one, Under taking to the track in the Shaft ER34, and Hoshio Yusuke’s Unlimited built EVO tearing down the straight to complete his hot lap – what a scene!  So many good noises.

NDF_8381-EditSuzuki piloted the ER34 to a 57.407 which was over a full second faster than last month and a new record for the car!  I can only imagine how quick this car will be if Shaft keeps developing it through the next few years.  And the fact that it’s an URAS kitted ER34 just makes me smile from cheek to cheek.

NDF_8142-EditThe SK Feed Z4 was looking great as usual, this time putting down a flat one minute around the circuit.  About a half second off pace; most likely due to the warmer air temps.

NDF_8469-EditGiving the slightly damaged DC2 a once over back in the pits.

NDF_8468-EditIt’s not all cut throat though, and the family vibe at Garage Work reminds me of that every time I go talk to them.

NDF_8449-EditSekinei’s son tagged along with us this time; I suppose being surrounded by cars his entire childhood has jaded him a bit.  He spent most of the morning in the car playing Minecraft (still have no idea what that games about).  Kayla ended up keeping him company so he wouldn’t get bored.

NDF_8454-EditSekinei hates his zoom lens, so he ended up borrowing a 300mm Canon lens from Kaneko-san, a friend and resident photographer over at Option Magazine.  Kaneko is a big fan of ice cream, so as thanks Seki bought his a vanilla waffle cone and put it in his van.  The staging of this photo is lost in translation, which makes it funny to me.

NDF_8390-EditI hope you enjoyed the initial look into Evome this year.  Similar to last year, I’ll be posting more detailed articles of each entry as the weeks go on.  I do my best to not provide cookie cutter event posts, as I enjoy knowing more about the car versus just seeing pictures of it (although I gotta say I’m guilty of that sometimes if I don’t get the opportunity to talk to the owner while I’m there).  But I try to gather as much on each car and owner as possible to give you the best possible overview; unfortunately sometimes that takes time.  I know this took a while to get out, but I hope it was worth the wait.  Look forward to more, in-depth car profiles from Japan, and thanks for the support ~