HKS Premium Day has always been a must-go event for me. It’s an all day event held at a track that’s reasonably close to Yokohama. Because of this, I don’t feel the pressure I usually do at smaller events where I’m pressed for time. It’s a lot more fun for me, and typically I end up taking a lot less photos as I have time to just wander around and look at stuff. Since it’s inception, the event has served as the proverbial ‘whos-who’ of big names in Japanese motor sport. HKS always does a great job of ensuring there are plenty of attractions to keep the fans entertained.
This year was no exception. I did feel like attendance was down just a bit from previous years though. The Super Lap Battle had a couple less entries than before, and the class below that was previously known as Hiper Challenge, drew a significantly less crowd. There are a couple reasons why this might be, but regardless of the reason I was admittedly pretty relieved. I’ve become pretty selective with what I photograph, and less subject matter meant I could have more time enjoying the actual event – what a concept! We left early in the morning so we could arrive at Fuji Speedway with plenty of time to get our credentials and walk the paddock before heading to the track for the first session of the main event. Japan is usually cold around this time, but if I’m being completely honest, I was not prepared for -5 degree temperatures. Having arrived the week before for CTAC, my original plan was to return to the States after the event, and head back to Japan the following weekend for HKS Day. I’m not one to waste time, and staying in Japan for that week would deprive me of much needed time to get things done at home. Well, as the fates would have it, my flight on Monday was cancelled due to the snow, and the following Tuesday I got so sick I didn’t want to get out of bed. If I went home on Tuesday, I knew there would be no way I’d be returning to Japan for HKS Day. So, I stayed. I stayed, but I had no clothes because I only packed for a weekend; a weekend that didn’t involve freezing temperatures and snow. Needless to say, when we arrived to Shizuoka, I wasn’t exactly stoked to get out of the car. UniQlo’s Heat Tech ended up coming in clutch though, and I survived. It actually started snowing towards the afternoon…
The early morning sun lighting up the snow-capped Mt. Fuji. I don’t mind the drive to Fuji Speedway at all. It’s very pretty, and green – not at all like the drive to Tsukuba. If I’m not driving, it’s nice to just wake up on the drive with a cup of coffee, watching the rolling hillsides pass by, interrupted only by the tunnels that punch straight through them. Sekinei and I arrived along with a number of cars that were driving that day, stopped at the circuit office at the main entrance, and filled out the paperwork for our media passes. When we sorted all that out, we made our way through the gates and parked back towards the pit entrance between all the flatbeds. It’s nice to have close parking when you’re lazy…
Before heading into the garages to see what the various shops were cooking up for Super Lap, I took a walk through the paddock to see what caught my eye.
The first stop was at the Garage Mak booth. We stopped to say hi to Amemiya and the Miyagawa brothers, who made the trek from Nagano. Ame’s S15 was looking killer as usual, along with another of their customer R35s. The shop commissioned Tatsuhiro’s black R35, the one we covered a few months ago, in Super Lap. Their day didn’t end on a high note, however, but we’ll have more of that when I post up the Super Lap coverage.
I really liked the side skirts on this GTR.
Top Secret’s R35 was looking pretty great as well.
Auto Select pulled out all the stops for this event, showing up with almost the entire lineage of modern GTR’s. Two R35s, two R34’s and a R33 swarmed their garage throughout the day. Their support bus is still probably the coolest thing ever.
Both GTRs were sporting similar aero.
The centerpiece of their lineup was, of course, the full carbon R34. The center exit exhaust sounded great.
Fueling up for the first session.
Fumi’s GTR is one of my favorite. The blue on blue combo is amazing.
In typical R.S. Pantera fashion, they had the loudest car at the entire circuit. Their naturally aspirated 3-rotor, 20b motor was one of the most violent sounding cars I’ve ever heard. Second only to the last FD they brought out…
Material Auto had a few Ridox sporting Supras on display. Both were great, but I especially enjoyed this blue one on Enkeis.
Marche’s 86 was left at the circuit overnight, and unfortunately, you can see the result of that decision. Just kidding, obviously.
Some Itasha sedan goodness.
HKS Suzuki Swift demo car.
And of course their TRB-03 – front and center.
One of my favorite displays is the one from ARTA. Their Super GT cars are typically shown off, both their GT300 CRZ and the older GT500 HSV. So rad to see these up close. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve attended a Super GT race – I need to get on it.
Arvou had brought out quite the arsenal as well.
Two of their S2000’s and one of their Exige’s to be exact. This particular car has been developed quite a bit over the past few years.
Another customer car that competed in the class below Super Lap.
Voltex equipped Hawkeye (I think, I don’t really know Subarus) – I really liked this car. Looked great out on track as well.
Varis clad EVO X from Bulletproof. They brought the car from the States to give it a go around the famed Japanese circuit. I didn’t know that this car was going to be at the event, but even before I knew which car it was, I knew it wasn’t built in Japan. It’s an odd thing being able to spot right away the differences in builds from the US. Little things that you can’t even really describe, but you know are there.
No shortage of great cars to study.
A Z4 GT3 came from literally out of nowhere and almost ran me over as I was walking back to the car.
The former star of the show, now amongst the other demo cars HKS has built.
JUN’s old R33 demo car, looking rather worn, is still being thrashed about by ATTKD – as it should be.
We had stopped by Revolfe the day before to say hello to Mizota-san. I asked if he was helping with the Do Luck/Kleer R33GTR that the team usually has out, but they weren’t bringing it out this year. His friend from Mid Night did, however, bring out his personal Lamborghini Countach which was pretty cool to see.
As cool as the cars around the paddock were, cars that are just parked around don’t do much for me these days. So it wasn’t long until I headed to the garages to watch the teams prep their demo cars for the first session of the event…
…and to say hello to an old friend of ours. I’ll get a chance to start editing some photos of Super Lap on the plane back to Narita this weekend. The Attack Championship at Tsukuba is this Saturday and we’ll be there to bring you some live coverage. Stay tuned!